Solar Water Heating

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Solar Water heating has long been recognized as a green and renewable way of heating hot water around the home.

However, most of us also know that solar hot water systems often need a back up or booster system as they cannot always store enough solar energy to provide adequate hot water for your everyday needs.

Heat pumps, (which you may not have heard of, but were developed and patented by the University of Melbourne in the 1970’s) also use solar energy, but from the air, rather than direct sunlight, and in many ways are comparable to solar heating systems, even surpassing them in some instances.

More on how solar heat pumps use minimal electricity and can reduce your electricity bills and greenhouse gas emissions…

Solar hot water systems and heat pumps are more expensive to install in comparison to natural gas so it is worth taking the time to weigh up all of your options to decide exactly which system is best to suited to your needs, your budget and the climate you live in.

In areas where natural gas is not available, or where a gas connection to the house is not trenched to your home already - which can add thousands  to the upfront cost of a gas system - a hot water heat pump system is usually better value and less maintenance than a solar collector hot water system.

Solar Hot Water Systems

The upfront cost of some small solar hot water units might be cheaper when they can be installed as a simple passive system without the need for active, or pumped components. In most cases they will have a booster system which will activate once the water in the system drops below a certain temperature after cloudy days.

This ensures that a constant supply of hot water is available, but means that the system is then using fossil fuels when it switches across to ‘booster mode’.

There are three main types of solar water heating system, the first two relying on sunshine, and the heat pump working with the heat in the air and surrounds, rather than direct sunlight.

  • Flat plate solar – the original type of solar collector, the system has copper pipes running through a glass covered plate which then connect to a storage tank.
  • Evacuated tube solar – newer and more efficient solar collector which has copper pipe running through vacuum glass tubing. The system works better when the sun is at low angles and the vacuum gives higher efficiencies
  • Heat pump systems – draw heat from the air, and in most cases can be installed without a booster required making them highly efficient in the right conditions

Adding to the purchase cost of a solar water heating system are the extra installation costs as panels or collectors need to be mounted on the roof with extensive pipe works required to feed into the storage tank.  Regular cleaning of the panels is required plus the possibility of tube or panel damage from hail or rock throwing vandals.

It is important to consider the upfront purchase price, installation, maintenance and running costs plus warranty periods when making a purchasing decision.

Contact Veraadhy today on 1800 420 600 if you would like to discuss whether a heat pump is suited to your home or commercial premises.

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