SOLAR POOL HEATING
Using energy from the sun to heat water is one of the oldest uses of solar energy. Today, several million homes and businesses use solar water heating systems. These systems are providing consumers a cost-effective and reliable choice for hot water. How you heat the water for your home is an important consideration. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that you will spend over $500.00 a year to heat water with electricity in an 80-gallon tank. When considering a solar water heater you may ask:
1.How is a solar water heater competitive with conventional heaters? 2.How does a solar water heater work? 3.What about maintenance? Do I live in an area with enough sun to heat my household's water?
HOW IS A SOLAR WATER HEATER COMPETITIVE WITH CONVENTIONAL HEATERS
Prices for complete solar water heating systems range between $2,000 — $4,000 depending on your hot water requirements and the climate conditions in your area. This is a higher initial investment than required for an electric or gas heater but when you add all of the costs involved with heating water in your home, the life-cycle cost of a solar water heating system is at least 80% lower. Remember that your system runs on an energy source that is free! Savings can be even greater if you are building a new house and the system cost is included in the mortgage.
HOW DO SOLAR WATER HEATERS WORK?
In a solar water heating system, a heat-transfer fluid flows through the tubes of solar collectors, where it is heated and transfers the heat to the household water. The heated water is then stored for use in a tank. A solar water heating system can be used as the sole source for hot water or may include a back-up conventional system to meet heavy or unusual hot water requirements throughout the year. Systems are usually sized according to the number of bedrooms, people and household water needs. There are several different configurations of solar water heating systems. In general, however, there are two main types: active systems which have pumps and controls to deliver solar heat to the storage tank, and passive systems which combine the collector and storage in a single unit.
WHAT ABOUT MAINTENANCE?
The simplicity of solar water heating systems means that maintenance is minimal. Required maintenance will depend on what type of system you own. Solar systems should be designed for your local climate conditions. An important consideration when designing a system is the freeze-protection requirements. The size of the industry and the variety of available solar water heating systems means that you can find a system that is appropriate for your region. All solar systems will provide significant savings all over the United States. There are a number of qualified solar water heater installers and distributors in your area who can determine and provide the most appropriate system for your house. To ensure high quality and satisfactory performance of solar water heating systems, authorized rating and certification programs have been established to test systems, rate their performance, and ensure the integrity of their design. These criteria have been established to assure customer satisfaction and to simplify the purchase of a system.
A solar water heater will save you money but it will also help protect our environment. One to two tons of carbon dioxide are generated by a single conventional water heater every year. Other pollutants, such as sulfur dioxides, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides are also displaced when a homeowner decides to tap into a cleaner source of energy — the sun.
CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE -->Written by: Solar Energy Industries
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