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Three things you need to know about solar water heating

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Solar water heating systems are becoming more and more popular because they are environment-friendly and cheap to maintain. Should you consider a solar water heating system, here are three details that can inform your choices:

1.    Solar collectors

These harvest solar energy for the system. There are two types of solar collectors.

Flat plate solar collectors

These usually have a sealed box with a transparent cover beneath which is a dark metallic plate with the water pipes. It has insulation to control the loss of heat on the sides and back of the absorber plate. They are a cheaper option. Their weakness is that they lose heat in cold weather and are not at their highest efficiency if the rays of the sun do not strike the flat plate perpendicularly.

Evacuated tube solar systems

They are made of tubes with transparent glass on the outside and a water pipe inside. The water pipe has a coating that absorbs the energy from the sun. It has a vacuum between the outer and inner tubes which acts as insulation. Evacuated tubes are more efficient even in cold weather or a cloudy day. They are more expensive than flat plate solar collectors.

2.    Storage tanks

One chief consideration that will guide your choice of the water tank is the number of people living in your household. There are two types of storage systems.

Close coupled systems

The tank is situated close to the solar panels as the name implies. This is cheaper to install and offers lower running costs. It works fine if there are few people in your household because the size of the tank you will use is restricted as it is on the roof.

Split systems

They have a collector on the roof and a storage tank elsewhere in the house. You will need solar pumps and more pipes to use this storage option. It is appropriate for a household with many members but it demands higher installation and maintenance costs.

3.    Booster systems

In adverse and cloudy weather conditions, the solar system might not have enough energy to meet all of your heating needs. In such a case, a booster system is incorporated into your solar heating system. The type of energy used for heating can be either gas, electric or solid fuel. You can switch on your booster manually or have it thermostat controlled so that it can start automatically when water in the tank drops below a certain temperature.

Keep these benefits in mind as you search for a new hot water system for your home.