Solar hot water heating units are becoming more popular as energy costs have risen over the last ten years. Technology for solar water heaters has also become more advanced and efficient, as well as the fact that the cost of the devices has lessened, thus becoming more of a viable option for an expanded base of people. These solar water heating units utilize the sun’s power to heat up the water before it comes into the home. They are often used in combination with a traditional water heater so that the water is pre-heated before it enters the traditional heater, thus saving on energy cost, but still providing nice hot water to the home.
Types of Heaters
There are two main types of solar water heating systems: one uses a circulating pump and controls and the other does not. Both types of solar water heating units require high insulation so that the benefits of the sun’s heat do not get lost out the sides of the water tank while awaiting use. There are also two types of systems that are used: one only has a single tank which combines the solar water heating with the backup heater, and the other system has a solar heating tank that pre-heats the water before it goes into the traditional water heater.
There are several different types of solar collecting materials that are used in solar water heating. One is a flat plate collector which is a glazed, water proof box that contains an absorber plat that is under some glass or plastic covers. Another type is the ICS or Integral Collector Storage system which also uses a glazed box, but this type of system contains black tubes or tanks in the box rather than an absorber plate. This allows the water to pass through the solar collecting system so that it can be heated on its way to the backup water heater.
In active solar water heating, the water is moved through the home by the system. In the direct circulation system, the water moves through the solar collectors into the home through the use of pumps. In a passive system, the water flows through the system because of the natural heating of the water, since the colder water sinks to the bottom and the warmer water rises to the top. There are other types of solar water heating systems in both the passive and active types that are used commercially and for specialized situations such as the heating of pools.
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