Solar Hot Water

solar-hot-waterSave the Money You’re WASTING…

with the

World’s Most Efficient APPLIANCE

Many home builders choose electric water heaters because they are easy to install and relatively inexpensive to purchase. However, research shows that an average household with an electric water heater spends about 30% of its home energy costs on heating water.

Understanding Your Hot Water Usage

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ACTIVITY

GALLONS

Baths
10-15
Dishwasher (average load)
8-10
Hand-washing dishes
8-10
Laundry:
Hot wash/warm rinse
30
Hot wash/cold rinse
19
Warm wash/cold rinse
9-12
Showers (with energy efficient shower head: 2.4 GPM)
15-minute
36
10-minute
24
5-minute
12
Showers (without energy efficient shower head: 4.8 GPM)
15-minute
72
10-minute
48
5-minute
24
Daily personal use
4

Source: Local Utility Companies

Source: Department of Energy, National Berkeley Laboratories

The energy use pattern shown is based upon these factors:

  1. Florida home built in 1990 with 2,400 square feet of living area.
  2. 9.5 SEER air conditioner with thermostat set at 81°F during day and 78°F at night.
  3. Cold weather thermostat setting of 64°F during day and 68°F at night.
  4. Two adults and two children in household.
  5. 80 gallons of hot water per day.
  6. 14 cents per kilowatt-hour electric cost (including fuel surcharge and utility taxes).

 

Water heating accounts for approximately 1/3rd of the total energy used in a typical single family home. An electric water heater is the single biggest energy user of all appliances in the home. Compare it to 45 (100) watt light bulbs turned on at once, and happens every time it operates, also go look at your meter after a shower.

Open Direct Loop Solar Hot Water System


Types of Solar Hot Water Systems

It is the simplest and typically the least expensive active system to install. There is no heat exchanger, which allows efficient heat transfer directly to the water. The system operates at standard line pressure.

A differential controller compares the temperature of a sensor, located at the solar collector with the temperature of a sensor located in the bottom of the hot water storage tank (where your colder water is). When the solar collector is warmer than the water in the bottom of the tank by 4 or 5 degrees, the differential control activates a small circulating pump, which draws cold water from the bottom of the solar hot water storage tank and circulates it through the solar collector. Solar heated water is returned to the top of the tank.

Another version of this system uses a small photovoltaic (solar electricity) panel to operate a direct current (DC) circulating pump. Open Loop Direct Systems are suitable for mild and moderate climates where freezing is minimal.

How Freeze Protection Works

The differential controller uses the circulating pump to circulate warm water from the storage tank through collectors and piping in the rare evenings when temperatures approach freezing.

There is an additional back-up dole freeze valve located at the collector that will activate by trickling water from the collector onto the roof when temperatures approach freezing.

Advantages

 

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Hot Water HeaterA direct system produces the highest operating performance, because there is no nighttime heat losses from hot water stored on the roof as in a passive system nor is any efficiency lost through a heat exchange process as in a closed loop system.

Potable water from the hot water storage tank is circulated directly through the collector.

The result is water heated between 140 and 160 degrees, as a result, by turning on the faucet, you are mixing (adding) more cold water with less hot water sustaining more free solar heated water awaiting use. There is also an optional anti scald valve (mixing valve), which can prevent injury when turning on just the hot water.

It makes economic sense to think beyond the initial purchase price and consider lifetime energy costs, or how much you will spend on energy to use the appliance over its lifetime. It has been proven that solar hot water systems offered the largest potential savings, with solar hot water owners saving as much as 85% annually on their utility bills compared to the cost of electric or propane water heating. Our customers can verify their outcome for you upon request.

If you are building a new home or refinancing your present home to do a major renovation, the economics are even more attractive.

Request your free estimate today

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