There’s no doubt that the sun is one of the cleanest and most abundant sources of energy available. We use solar energy to warm our homes, to power small devices, and to provide electricity in the form of solar panels. However, you might not be aware of how you can use solar energy to heat the water for your home. There are numerous benefits to installing a solar water heater in your home.
What is a Solar Water Heater?
Solar water heating technology has been around for decades. It’s actually a fairly simple concept. A solar collector is used to channel water through a series of panels that absorb the sun’s heat. The heat is then transferred to the water. In some cases the collector is separate from the water storage system. A pumping system moves the water through the tubes in the collector so that it can be heated. More rudimentary devices house the collector and the storage in one unit and the water warms up right inside the tank.
With most solar water heating systems there is a small energy requirement to move the water through the collector and then into your home’s plumbing system. Additionally, if you live in an area where there are cloudy days and cooler weather, then you may want a supplemental backup water heating system. Nevertheless, a solar water heater can dramatically reduce your utility bills and carbon footprint.
How a Solar Water Heater Benefits You and Your Environment
Solar energy is one of the most effective and efficient ways to reduce greenhouse emissions. You might be surprised to learn that traditionally powered water heaters are responsible for about eight tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. That is almost double the emissions from an average car!
On the other hand, solar energy systems pay for themselves over time. While a solar water heater costs more than a traditional water heater, they pay for themselves in savings after about eight years and they last longer than traditional water heaters. This means you’ll have free hot water for the majority of the solar water heater’s life. Additionally, many states and communities offer tax incentives for installing solar energy systems, which means you may reap a faster return on investment.
Solar water heaters are efficient, environmentally friendly and a great way to save money. Depending on where you live, when you use the sun’s energy to heat your water you can reduce your hot water energy consumption by up to 90%. You also improve your home’s resale value and you can go to sleep at night knowing that you’re contributing to a better and cleaner environment.