The First Step in the Process: Solar Water Heating Panel
When individuals choose to implement a solar water heating system in their homes, they will have to choose either an active or passive solar water heating system. Passive systems are usually used in warmer climates where the temperatures in the winter time do not reach freezing, or do not stay there for long periods of time. Active solar water heating systems are used in colder climates, especially the indirect circulation systems which use antifreeze in the pipe coils to heat the water that is in the storage tank. No matter which system is used, there is also a choice that has to be made in the type of solar water heating panel for the system to work.
Types of Panels
There are three basic types of solar water heating panels. The first is called a flat plate collector, which is usually a glazed flat plate that is insulated and contains a dark absorbent plate that sits beneath at least one glass or plastic cover. There are some flat plate solar water heating panels that are unglazed and have an absorbent plate that is made from metal instead of glass or plastic and is used to help heat swimming pools and other larger water supplies.
Another type of solar water heating panel is the integral collector storage system which is also called the ‘batch’ system by some. These systems use a glazed box instead of a plate and have at least one black tube or tank in it, through which the water passes to become heated. When the water passes through the tubes into the glazed box, it becomes heated by the sun’s rays so that the backup heater in the storage tank does not have to do much if any work.
The third type of solar water heating panels is the evacuated tube solar collector which is normally used in commercial settings rather than residential. In this type of collector, there are rows of glass tubes that have an outer and inner tube. The inner tube is made out of metal and is attached to a fin which has a coating on it to prevent heat loss.
Each of these types of solar water heating panels is used as the first stage of the water heating process since they utilize the sun’s rays to begin to heat the water, which is then pushed by various means into the storage tank to await use in the individual’s home or in a commercial setting.
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