If you are currently heating your water with electricity or Propane, Solar Hot Water Heating is a wise investment.When you are heating water with Solar power you are harnessing the power of the sun! Taking the heat that we feel from the suns rays and transferring that energy directly into your solar storage tank. Solar hot water heating is by no means a new technology, the first solar water heating system which was known a s the Day/Night system was patented in the 1890's, What has changed is how this technology is utilized, or configured into a working system
With all of our solar options we have to look at the needs of each individual client in order to properly size a solar system. Solar water heating systems typically consist of one or more glazed flat plate collectors which are typically located on a roof surface, preferrably facing south, but an east or west facing surface is also acceptable.We size our systems based on the number of occupants of the home. A Solar storage tank will replace the existing water heater, most families will require an 80 gallon storage tank which is plumbed into the existing plumbing system. The collectors on the roof are then connected to the solar strage tank with matching components in order to obtain a complete solar system. All systems installed in the state of Florida must meet the standards set forth by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) This assures that the installed system has been tested and approved so that homeowners are not investing in equipment that is not appropriate in our region.
A solar water heater is the worlds most energy efficient home appliance.
Passive or Integrated Collector systems are well suited for Tropical climates. In regions that experience freezing night time conditions they can actually become a net loser of energy as the cold night time air will bring the water held in the collector to the temperature of the outside air. Often times freezing to the point of bursting the tubes within the collector.
These systems are very popular in the South Florida region. An active direct system refers to the same fluid in the collector is what comes out of your shower and faucets. However they rely on a freeze sensor for recirculation during freezing weather and 1 preferrably 2 freeze protection valves which by design will open at temperatures of 45 degrees. Both of these means of freeze protection are prone to failure at any time without warning. glazed Flat Plate solar collectors have been known to freeze and burst even at temperatures of 40 degrees!
Active Indirect Systems are by far the system of choice for homeowners North of Lake Okechobee.
The most reliable and efficient being the Single Pump Gravity Drainback System. With this type of configuration we install an 80 gallon storage tank with a built in heat exchanger, and a separate reservoir above the storage tank.
The system is regulated by a Differential controller, which when solar heat is available,turns the circulating pump on bringing solar heated water through the heat exchanger in the storage vessel up the the roof mounted solar collectors. the control will shut the pump off if the storage temperature reaches its program setpoint temperature or when we cannot realize a solar gain.When this occurs the fluid circulating through the collectors will DRAIN BACK into the 10 gallon reservoir adjacent to the water storage tank. A properly installed Gravity Drainback System will not be subject to freeze damage during colder climate conditions. These systems are installed regularly in our fridgid northeastern states.
Gravity has never failed yet !!!
Q. What is a glazed flat plate collector?
A. It is a copper plate which is inside of an aluminum extruded frame. The collector glass is a low iron glass designed for high absortivity (absorption) and low emmissivitey, or heat loss.
Q. How many panels do I need?
A. That all depends on how many people live in the home and available roof space.
Q. How long do they last?
A. In our area we install single pumped Drainback systems. The Heat Transfer Fluid is 10 gallons of water which is the only fluid the collectors will circulate. After an initial oxidation we are left with Nitrogen and inert gases, which means the collectors will last well over their 25 year warranty period. Solar storage tanks have warranties of up to 10 years.
Q. What if the sun does not come out for 2 or 3 days?
A. Solar tanks come with a backup heating element which will heat the contents of the tank when solar heat is unavailable typically overnight or during inclement weather.
Q. What about maintenance?
A. Other than keeping the collector glass clean there is no planned maintenance
Q. Are there any incentives for Solar Water Heating?
A Yes! the Federal Government has extended the 30% Tax credit which puts 30% of the system cost back in your pocket when you file your taxes.
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