Solar hot water systems have become increasingly popular among environmentally conscious individuals who aim to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. What’s more, people who install such systems almost always recoup their investment over time. With that in mind, here is a detailed look at how solar hot water solar systems work.
Types of Systems
While all solar hot water systems are powered by solar energy, the water heating process varies from one system to another depending on the underlying water collection and circulation system. The most common systems include:
• Flat plate collectors
This type of water heater consists of copper tubing attached to flat absorber plates. In turn, the flat plate collectors are connected to a water tank installed nearby. In this configuration, the sun’s energy heats water flowing from the water tank via the copper-based collector pipes.
• Batch collectors
Batch collectors consist of water circulation and heating tubes installed within an insulated box/container. Water is drawn into the collector tubes where it is heated by the sun’s energy and remains in quasi-storage until household demand necessitates more heating. Since water in such a system can get very hot, the entire system comes with a cold water mixing setup to prevent scalding.
• Evacuated tube collectors
Compared to the water heating systems discussed above, evacuated tube collectors are more energy efficient. In essence, they consist of water carrying tubes that are surrounded by a vacuum space that is specifically designed to minimize heat loss. This aspect means they can still function even when the weather is less than perfect.
In terms of circulation systems, modern solar water heaters can be broken down into direct, passive, closed-loop/indirect, or active/forced circulation. A direct system simply circulates water through piping where it is heated by solar radiation. The heated water is then stored in a water tank. On the other hand, an indirect or closed-loop system consists of a heat transfer fluid that heats circulating water by means of a heat exchanger. Unlike most other water circulation systems, a passive system does not rely on mechanical pumping of water. Instead, it relies on convection to move water around. Finally, an active or forced circulation system consists of pumps and other gadgets for controlling water flow.
Solar Water Heater Boosters
A booster ensures a solar water heater system continues to function optimally even when there is inadequate sunlight. Boosters also augment solar energy, thereby enhancing the delivery of hot water on-demand. The most common types of boosters include electric and gas boosters. Luckily, almost all parts of Australia receive ample sunlight meaning the gas/electric energy consumption of solar heater boosters is minimal.
Hot water solar heaters can lower your home’s usage of conventional energy (such as electricity) substantially. These heaters work by circulating water through tubes or heat exchange systems that are exposed to direct sunlight. Solar hot water system are generally based on direct, indirect, active, or passive circulation systems. To ensure round-the-clock hot water access, it is wise to install a water heater booster as well.
If your hot water system is not operating as it should, it may need a service. Visit our hot water repair page to find out more. For help with Solar Hot water systems and standard hot water systems, contact the team at WestEnd Plumbing Today.