What is solar hot water and how does it work?

Solar hot water uses energy from the sun to heat the water required for household use. The amount of hot water a solar system should provide is dependant on the local climate but usually this will supply between 50-90% of hot water your household needs. Flat solar panels or evacuated tubes, which are usually stored on the roof, absorb energy from the sun, which heats water. This heated water is then stored in an insulated tank to be used as required.

Types of solar hot water systems:

Flat plate collectors – these are suitable when the tank is required to be mounted on the roof. Copper pipes run through a glass covered collected, which are connected to the tank on the roof. The sun heats the copper, resulting in hot water in the pipes. Evacuated tubes – these are more efficient and have advantages for frost prone areas, as they can heat out of warm humid air and don’t need direct sunlight. They consist of two glass-covered tubes, which are joined together at the top and bottom; the space between the two tubes is evacuated to form a vacuum. This is where the copper pipe runs, which is connected to a circulation pump that pumps water to the storage tank, heating the water during the day. The hot water can be used at any time that night or the next day due to the insulation of the tank.

How does solar hot water work?

The cold water supply enters the solar panel, which is designed to absorb the heat from the sun and transfer this to the water. As the sun heats the water, the water moves into a storage tank. As the water in the tank cools down, it pushes the cooler water to the bottom of the tank, where the only place for it to go is back into the solar panel or tube to get hot again. This process continues to repeat until the temperature reaches that set by the thermostat. Both systems come with electric or gas boosters, which will kick in when not enough hot water is generated, on a cloudy day for example. These boosters automatically turn on when the temperature in the tank falls below the thermostat setting, and turn off when the water is back up to temperature.

Why would I choose solar hot water?

Although solar hot water systems can cost more initially than other types of water heaters, the costs will be recovered through lower household energy bills, especially in those parts of the country where there is plenty of access to sunlight. Solar hot water systems are a renewable energy source, so you’ll also reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced from your household. Plumbing specialists, such as AMS Plumbing, can guide you through the solar hot water installation process and discuss why this might be the ideal hot water system for your home. References: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/hot-water/how-does-it-work.html http://yourenergysavings.gov.au/energy/hot-water/solar-hot-water https://www.energymatters.com.au/solar-hot-water/solar-hot-water-works/