- Solar water heaters use the heat of the sun through a solar thermal collector in order to heat household water
- Passive solar water heaters are best used in areas that get a lot of sunlight, they are also cheaper and more reliable
- Active solar water heaters can be used in areas that have harsh winters or low temperatures. They are more expensive but they are more efficient at heating the water
Basically, solar water heaters will capture the heat of the sun and transfer that heat into the household water. This system uses a solar thermal collector that traps the heat of the sun through principles of the greenhouse effect.
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There are basically two types of solar water heaters, the passive and the active solar water heating systems.
The passive solar water heater is typically used in areas that get a lot of sunlight with very mild winters. This system is designed for convenience since it does not have any moving parts and because it is almost maintenance-free. Using a similar principle as getting hot water by leaving the garden hose under the sun, this system circulates the water through a solar collection area on the roof with the help of pipes.
The passive solar water heating system is also much cheaper and more reliable. They are, however, not as efficient as the active system but they are known to last longer. There are two types of passive solar water heating systems, the Integral collector-storage passive systems, and the Thermosyphon systems.
The active solar water heating system, on the other hand, is ideally used in areas with colder climates. The active system is much more expensive and it is also made up of complicated parts and mechanisms.
There are two types of active systems, the direct and the indirect. The indirect system uses pumps to push a non-freezing liquid towards the solar collection area, and through a heat-exchange section where it imparts its heat to the household water. This is ideal for areas that go through freezing temperatures. The direct system, on the other hand, will pump the household water directly towards the collection area so that it can be heated.
Although the passive and active systems are meant to use the heat of the sun, these systems actually need to augment their outputs with the use of conventional water heating methods. With the help of solar water heating, you can actually get reduced water-heating costs. This, however, will depend on whether there is ample sunlight or not. Homeowners typically opt for solar water heaters because they want to help the environment and because they want to enjoy monthly savings. It is important to take note, however, that if you have economic motivations, you will need to consider the fact that installing these kinds of water heaters will cost a lot of money.