How to shop for a Solar Water Heater

If you’re in the market for a solar water heater, you will need to do some research and shopping around to find the right product for your needs. When evaluating your options, it is important to have a clear idea of what kind of system you need. Before selecting a solar water heater, you’ll need to consider your lifestyle, climate zone, budget, and environmental impact goals.

Flat Plate Collector solar water heater
Flat Plate Collector solar water heater

Here are four important questions to answer before shopping:

1How much hot water do you need to generate?

Lifestyle has a major impact on how effective your domestic solar water heater will be. If you have a large family and a great demand for hot water, especially during the day, or if your household consists of only one or two people and activities like laundry are infrequent.

A quick way to determine your expected household hot water use is to simply multiply the number of occupants by 50 litres. A family of four uses about 200 litres of hot water a day for laundry, bathing, cleaning, and cooking. This number will help you gauge not only the collector you need but also the reserve tank necessary for keeping your family in hot water.

Where do you live?

Evacuated Tube Collector Solar water heater
Evacuated Tube Collector Solar water heater

If you live in a colder area, you should ensure that your system has an electrical back up heater. You will also need a system with a larger tank for storage of a lot of hot water. This will also determine either to use a flat plate collector system solar water heater or an evacuated tube collector system solar water heater. (Learn the difference between the two types of water heaters click here)

What is your budget?

Solar heated domestic water does not have to be expensive. When compared to photo-voltaic arrays, solar water heaters have a much faster return on investment and are much more affordable.

Before shopping, be sure to get exact estimates from your plumber, and or solar technicians from the solar supplier. This makes sure you won’t have any hidden costs once installation begins. Always ensure a site survey is carried out before buying and installing a solar water heater.  This will save you a lot of money buy avoiding the excess. We do the site survey for free. (Check on how to carry out a site survey on your own, click here)

How green do you want to go?

If you are going to purchase a solar water heater, the benefits will be many, but a common goal is to reduce the overall need for high electrical bills , reduce the use of carbon-based fuels like charcoal or natural gas. While the “greenest” and most economical option would be to simply alter your lifestyle so that you don’t use as much hot water (like taking cold showers, washing your clothes in cold water only, and turning down the temperature on your current hot water heater), installing a solar water heater can make a significant positive impact on the environment and economy.

To really go green, try to find systems that don’t require any additional energy to function. Once your new system is installed, altering your lifestyle to take advantage of the solar-powered hot water is an excellent way to optimize your environmental impact. By using a majority of your hot water in mid- to late afternoon you can help ensure that you will be getting the most from your new system.

Once you have determined your hot water needs, system style, size, and budget, you are ready to go shopping.

Hermosa Beach
Otieno Christopher

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10 months ago

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10 months ago

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10 months ago

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10 months ago

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8 months ago

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Otieno Christopher

Otieno Christopher has been in the solar industry since 2008. He’s been a Technician, sales rep, an instructor, and an all around solar evangelist, sharing his passion for solar around the world. When not at work, He’s either dancing or hiking, depending on the season, but odds are good he’s still talking about solar in the dance floor or on the slopes.

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