It is becoming increasingly common for people to seek alternative sources of energy for their homes. Solar power is one of the most popular alternative energy sources available, but it can be a challenge to convert your entire home to solar power all at once. Instead, it often makes more sense to start with one small system and expand as you can afford it.
The best place to start is with a solar hot water heater. These are relatively inexpensive to install and take up only a moderate amount of space in your home. Once in place, they get most of the energy they need from the sun, so your ongoing water heating costs will quickly dwindle to almost nothing.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in your home, call the greater Wilmington area solar water heater experts at Boulden Brothers today. We know this technology inside and out, and we’d be glad to share our information and experience with you. Whether you’re ready to set up a consultation now or you simply have some questions about how a solar hot water heater can be integrated into your home, we would love to hear from you.
Solar Hot Water Heater Options
Even after choosing solar hot water heating, you still have a few decisions to make. There are many different types of solar hot water heaters, so it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your home. The most popular type of solar hot water heater uses a flat plate collector to harness the energy of the sun.
Once this energy has been absorbed, it is used to heat your water in one of two ways. A direct solar hot water system cycles the water itself through the collector and facilitates the heat transfer right there. This is effective, but it can be problematic when temperatures outside are below freezing. While the energy from the sun is effective in generating heat, the outdoor air temperature can counteract that energy or even freeze the water in your pipes.
Because of this, an indirect heating system is the most common type of solar hot water system used in residential homes in our area. These systems work by transferring the heat from the collection plates to eco-friendly antifreeze, which then brings the heat to a water heater located in another part of the house. This antifreeze is not affected in the same way by the cold air outside so it provides a much more reliable and efficient heat transfer than is possible with water.
You must also ensure the system you choose can handle the hot water demands of your family. And there is always the question of whether to install a backup hot water heater, what kind to get and how large it should be. While solar power is often enough to heat your water, remember that there is less sunlight during the winter months and if you have houseguests or your hot water use peaks, you may need a fuel-based source of hot water as a backup.
INSTALLING AND MAINTAINING THE SYSTEM
The proper installation of solar water heaters depends on many factors. These factors include solar availability, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues; therefore, it’s best to have a qualified solar thermal systems contractor install your system.
After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly. Passive systems don’t require much maintenance. For active systems, discuss the maintenance requirements with your system provider, and consult the system’s owner’s manual. Plumbing and other conventional water heating components require the same maintenance as conventional systems. Glazing may need to be cleaned in dry climates where rainwater doesn’t provide a natural rinse.
Regular maintenance on simple systems can be as infrequent as every 3–5 years, preferably by a solar contractor. Systems with electrical components usually require a replacement part or two after 10 years.
Solar Hot Water Experts
Talking with a professional is the best way to sort out all of your options and come up with the best solution for your home. When you call Boulden Brothers, you will get advice from one of the most experienced solar water heater contractors in the New Castle County, Delaware, Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania or Cecil County, Maryland area. We’ll help you examine your options and make an informed decision about which system is best. We’ll also provide full installation, repair, and maintenance services so you never need to worry about whether your solar hot water heater works when you need it to.
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