Solar water heating systems are also known as solar domestic hot water systems. They can be the affordable way to generate hot water for your home. Solar water heaters are used in any climate, and the fuel they use – sunshine is free of cost.
How Solar Water Heating Systems Work?
Solar water heating systems comprise of solar collectors and solar water tanks for storage. However, there are two types of solar water heating systems – active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive – which don’t have.
Active Solar Water Heating Systems –
There are two types of active solar water heating systems: direct circulation systems and indirect circulation systems.
Direct Circulation Systems – In the direct circulation systems, pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. They work very well in climates where it rarely freezes.
Indirect Circulation Systems – Generally, pumps circulate a non-freezing, heat transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. It helps in heating the water and flows throughout the home. These systems are popular options in climates – prone to freezing temperatures.
Passive Solar Water Heating Systems –
Passive solar water heating systems are usually less costly as compared to active systems, but they’re not more efficient than its counterpart. However, passive systems can be more reliable and may last longer.
There are two types of passive solar water heating systems: Integral collector-storage passive systems and Thermosyphon systems.
Integral Collector-Storage Passive Systems – These passive systems work very well in climates where the temperatures rarely fall below freezing. In addition to, they work best in a household with significant daytime and evening hot water requirements.
Thermosyphon Systems – The water flows through this system when warm water rises as cooler water sinks. The collector should be installed below the storage tank so that the warm water will rise into the solar water tank.
These systems are considered to be reliable, but contractors should focus on the roof design because of the heavy storage tank. Please keep in mind that they are more expensive than integral collector- storage passive systems.
Solar Collectors –
There are two types of solar collectors used for residential applications:
Flat-Plate Collector – Glazed flat-plate collectors are insulated; weather-proofed boxes contain a dark absorber plate under one or more glass or plastic covers.
Unglazed flat plate collectors are used for solar pool heating systems and have a dark absorber plate, made of polymer or metal without any cover or enclosure.
Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors – Evacuated tube solar collectors feature parallel rows of transparent glass tubes. Every tube comprises of a glass outer tube and metal absorber connected to a fin.
The coating of fin absorbs solar energy and inhibits radiative heat loss. These collectors are used frequently for most of the U.S. commercial applications.
Solar Water Tanks –
Most solar water heating systems require a perfectly-insulated storage tank. Solar water tanks feature an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector.
The solar water heater preheats water before entering the conventional water heater in two-tank systems. But in one-tank systems, the backup heater is combined with the solar storage in a tank.
The solar water tanks are the critical components of solar thermal systems. These tanks allow the system to provide hot water at any time of day, whether the sun is shining or not, since the solar production doesn’t coincide with the peak periods of hot water demand, using in the morning and evening.
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