Solar Water Heating: Your Sustainable Water Heater ChoiceFebruary 14, 2018
Solar water heating systems capitalize on the power of the greenest power source known to man. Right there, up in the sky, the sun hangs above us as a clean and sustainable power source. Armed with a solar energy collector, we can capture this freely available energy as it radiates. On the rooftop, that weatherproof box is hard at work, absorbing sunlight and heating the property.
Pre-Solar Heating Solutions
Standard water heating models are bound to be carbon-heavy designs. The water in the system is heavy, it’s rushing through numerous pipes, and the circulatory work is constant. A suitably equipped furnace keeps everything ticking over, with gas or electric energy being consumed in large quantities. An energy consumption meter even marks out the process by counting the piped-in or mains supplied power source. And so the carbon footprint grows. Traced back to the power station or gas production site, this is an unsustainable solution, one that simply can’t last forever, for these originating sites are consuming the last of our precious earthly resources.
Sustainable Solar Water Heating
Fortunately, there’s an alternative to the limited fossil fuels we’ve been burning our way through for over a century now. After all, the nuclear reactions going on in the heart of our sun will never expire, well, not for billions of years. The sunlight travels freely through millions of miles of space, through our atmosphere, and it radiates into the ground. Wasted, that energy dissipates. Solar water heating systems take advantage of this effect. By installing specially designed thermal collectors, the radiated sunlight is captured and utilized. The best place to install one of these collectors is on a rooftop, obviously, a place that can efficiently catch the sunlight without any interference. This unobstructed surface bends ever so slightly under the weight of the collector. It’s a glass-topped assembly. Under the glass, a heat exchanger array, perhaps a coiled network of copper pipes, warms rapidly as the sunlight passes through the glass.
This is obviously a primer, an introduction to a more complex subject, but the principles described here are correct. Beyond the thermal collector unit, there’s the tank and circulation pump, plus the pipes that couple these critically important water heating components. Then there are the details to define, the weatherproofed flat boxes on the roof, the main and auxiliary tanks, and the supplementary fluids that regulate the watery heat load. Still, when all of these factors properly mesh, a homeowner can expect a cost-effective and sustainable water heating system. After all, the fuel is free.
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