Collecting the Sun’s Rays with Solar Power Water Heating

Converting over to solar power water heating takes some research to make sure the proper water heating unit is being installed for the climate in which the individual lives. The majority of the solar power water heating units are designed to work well in climates where is does not drop to freezing temperatures much, if any, during the course of the year.

The reason for this is because the water in the pipes of the system will freeze and damage the system, as the sun’s rays are not enough in freezing temperatures to keep it moving through the pipes without freezing. These solar power water heating systems are effective means of heating the water supply for a home or for commercial use, and also can be used for solar pool heating, thus saving expenses and the environment.

Types of Materials and Systems

One piece of equipment that all solar power water heating systems need is the solar collector which enhances the sun’s rays and converts them to energy. There are three different types of solar collectors on the market today. The first is the flat plate collector which has a glaze on it and is insulated. They contain a plate that is designed to absorb the sun’s rays and lies beneath at least one cover plate, which is usually made of either glass or plastic, although with swimming pool plates they are often made of metal. Another type of collector in solar power water heating is the integral collector or batch system. In this system the water passes through the tubes that are contained in an insulated, glazed box which collects the sunlight and preheats the water. The third system uses evacuated tube solar collectors, and is usually only used in commercial settings.

There are two basic types of systems in solar power water heating: active and passive. The active systems have a sort of pump that moves the water or the antifreeze through the pipes so that it can be heated by the collection plates. The passive systems hold the water in a collection container where the solar panels are so that it can be heated and then move by way of the hot water rising to the top, into the storage tank. Each system has its benefits, with the active systems being more effective at heating the water and the passive systems typically lasting longer and being more reliable. Both systems use a backup heater in the storage tank so that it can be used when there are a series of cloudy days outside and the water cannot be heated by the sun.

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