3 Important Factors to Consider When Deciding on a Solar Hot Water Heater

Posted on: 23 October 2015

A solar hot water heater can significantly reduce the amount of money you spend on utilities every month, as a home's hot water heater is often one of its largest consumers of electricity or gas. Having a solar hot water heater also means cutting down on pollution that is generated at electrical plants, and not having to worry about whether or not you've paid your electric bill! Before you decide on a solar hot water heater for your home, note a few important factors to consider.

1. Ensure your home is a good candidate for a solar hot water heater

A solar hot water heater panel is typically installed on the roof, so the home's roof needs to be in good repair with sturdy shingles that will support the panel. Your home also needs to get direct sunlight for several hours during the day; a solar hot water heater may not work in areas that are always grey and overcast. 

You also need to ensure that the hot water heater panel can be placed in an area of the roof that faces the sun; in the northern hemisphere, this would be directing it south and in the southern hemisphere, it needs to face north. Consider if your home is a good candidate for a hot water heater solar panel to begin with.

2. Estimate the capacity you need

A solar hot water heater panel will only store so much energy, so you need to ensure you choose the right capacity of water heater when choosing a solar panel. Don't assume that installing a solar panel means that you can now have an oversized hot water heater with an endless supply of hot water, as your chosen solar panel may not be able to provide enough energy to keep the water heated. It's good to determine your needs for hot water and then, once you've chosen a capacity for the water tank, choose a solar panel that will accommodate.

3. Consider the maintenance needed

There are a few different types of solar water heater systems, and each will have different maintenance needs. A closed-loop system, which uses antifreeze to actually trap energy and heat the water, may mean more maintenance and repairs than other systems but may be recommended for areas with longer winters. When deciding on a solar system for your home, you want to ensure you get one that works for your area's weather conditions but won't be overly expensive when it comes to repair bills.