Solar water heaters are known to be environmental friendly and offer a cost effective solution to generate hot water for residential consumption.
Solar Water Heater History
There were many who realize the concept of a solar water heater and it can be safely pointed out that the solar water system was first thought of in 1760 in Geneva, Switzerland. A Swiss naturalist called Horace-Benedict de Saussure noticed that glass covered structures are hotter when the rays of the sun pass through it.
He discovered the prototype of a solar system when he created an insulated box and painted its bottom black to soak in as much energy from the sun as possible and with two glass panes that covered the top.
But it wasn’t until 1891 that solar system came into being when Clarence Kemp, an American plumbing manufacturer inserted a water tank painted black within a glass covered box quite similar to the design of de Saussure’s.
As soon as the bottom of the box was heated, the cold water soaked the heat and became hot enough to be used for bathing purposes. This was the first time that a commercial solar water heater was built and used.
Different Types of Solar Hot Water Systems
There are two types of solar hot water systems where one is active and the other one is passive. A solar water heating system contains storage tanks and collectors.
There are different types of solar collectors that are available and based on the type, one can choose the collector that serves the purpose in the best possible manner.
Flat Plate Collector
A flat plate collector used in solar water heating are glazed and insulated. These weather proof boxes use a dark absorber that is placed under glass or plastic cover.
Integral Collector Storage Systems
This type of solar hot water system uses multiple black tubes or tanks within a glazed and an insulated box. In this scenario, the cold water first goes through the solar collector, which then preheats the water. The water then moves on to the traditional back up water heater that offers a reliable source of hot water.
Active and Passive Solar Systems
Active Solar System
Offers two types of water heating systems, where one is a direct circulation system and the second one is an indirect circulation system.
1. Direct Circulation System In this type of system the pump circulates the water by making it pass through the collectors and into the home. They are ideal for really cold climates.
2. Indirect Circulation System In this system the pump circulates heat transfer fluid, which is non-freezing through the collectors and then it passes through a heat exchanger to warm the water in a tank.
Passive Solar System
A Passive Solar System is not any more affordable but are not known to be very efficient, reliable and tend to last longer. There are two types of passive systems:
1. Integral Collector Storage Systems This type of solar hot water system uses multiple black tubes or tanks within a glazed and an insulated box. In this scenario, the cold water first goes through the solar collector, which then preheats the water. The water then moves on to the traditional back up water heater that offers a reliable source for hot water.
2. Thermosyphon Systems In this type of system, the water passes through the system where the cold water sinks and warm water rises. It is important to install the collector beneath the storage tank so that the warm water rises into the tank; this system is known to be quite reliable.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Solar Water Heater System
The advantages of using solar hot water systems are many in comparison to its disadvantages. For instance, one of the most important advantages is the fact that it is completely environmental friendly because it is not based on a non-renewable resource.
It gets its energy source from the sun and even if the whole world uses solar water heaters, the heat emanating from the sun is not going to be reduced in any manner. The second most important advantage is that it is not going to pollute the environment and the sun’s energy is truly inexhaustible.
If one had to think of the disadvantages, one will hardly find any reasons for not using a solar hot water system. One of the reasons can be that not all locations will get equally amount of energy from the sun.
There will be times when there will be rain and no sun or the weather will be extremely cold and sunlight may not be available for days on end. In such cases, using solar energy becomes a tad bit difficult and undoubtedly getting conversion power is going to be quite expensive especially if a large collection area and conversion equipment are needed.
Solar Water Heater Brands
There are many companies offering solar heating systems and some of the leading names in the industry are A.O. Smith, Rheem and Ruud. They all manufacture a range of solar water heaters meant to match the needs of its customers.
A.O.Smith Solar Water Heaters
A.O.Smith is one of the well known companies that offers a host of innovative water heating solutions, which includes the solar hot water systems.
Cirrex Solar Electric System
Cirrex Solar Electric System offers solar water heating systems in one, two and three collector configurations. This system is Energy Star Qualified and offers up to 70% energy required for heating water directly from the sun.
Cirrex also offers indirect and direct solar booster tanks. Both the direct and indirect solar booster tanks are available in 80 and 120 gallon capacities. Both the models are designed to offer support as a supplementary source of heating water.
Rheem Solar Water Heating System
Rheem is an industry leader when it comes to offering different kinds of solar systems. Each of the series is known for their distinctive characteristics.
This is a complete package consisting of active solar heating system. This includes a storage tank, controller, collectors, mixing valve and an adjustable speed pump.
This particular series concentrates on solar heaters with a closed loop system and it doesn’t require any kind of pumps or controllers. This series is available in 47 or 80 gallon storage capacities.
This series consists of a water heater or storage tank that are ideally meant for storage applications. There is an option of choosing between two models of either the storage tank or a single element water heater to work with your solar water heating system.
This series is available in capacities of 50, 85 and 105 gallon capacities and comes with 2 and 3 port configurations. It has been particularly developed for installation as a thermal storage tank.
SolPak with Marathon Tanks
This series consists of a closed loop system with Marathon tanks, collectors, valves, thermal expansion tanks etc.
Solar Indirect Series
This series is available in 50, 80 and 120 gallon capacities and it comes fitted with an internal heat exchanger.
Solaraide HE Series
This series includes a storage heat exchanger along with a storage tank or there is the option of an electric storage water heater. These water heaters also contain a NPT opening that is needed to install a probe-type thermostat.
Ruud Solar Water Heaters
Ruud solar systems offer a range of solar water heating products. One of them is a solar panel that can be placed on the roof which is one of most natural ways to heat water.
Ruud SolPak active solar thermal systems and Solaride passive water heating systems are meant to provide hot water by collecting the sun’s energy to heat water.
The SolPak Series is a glycol design in a closed loop which comes with both single and double collector systems. The complete package includes collectors, HE tank, multi-speed pump, mixing valve, thermal expansion tank and the glycol solution.
Solaride Passive Solar Series
This particular series concentrates on solar heaters with a closed loop system and it doesn’t require any kind of pumps or controllers. This series is available in 47 gallon and 80 gallon storage capacities.
Solaride Passive Solar System
This system features a passive design and therefore it doesn&39;t require any kind of controllers or pumps. The closed loop design is supported by an indirect heat exchanger. This series is available in two different configurations that include 47 and 80 gallon storage capacities. The complete set includes collectors, tank, heat transfer fluid and installation kit
Indirect Solar Water Heater Series
This is an indirect solar water heater, which comes with a backup heating element which contains a single wall heat exchanger and two heavy-duty anode rods.
Solar Servant Series
This series offers an option between two models, where one is a storage tank and the other is single element water heater. Both the options can be installed with a direct solar water heater for residential purpose.