Solar Water Heaters Becoming a Great Way to Heat Buildings

Looking for a cost-effective way to generate hot water in your existing structure?  Well, solar water heaters are becoming the new eco-friendly way to heat buildings and in any climate.

There are three types of solar water heaters, one being called the flat-plate collector.  This type is insulated, has weatherproofed boxes with a dark absorber under one glass or plastic cover.  This one is typically used for solar pool heating and it’s made of metal or polymer.  The second type is known as ICS or batch systems and they have one or more black tanks or tubes that are insulated and have a glazed box.  Cold water passes through this collector and pre-heats the water.  The water will continue on to the conventional backup water heater giving it a reliable source of hot water.  This type of heater should generally only be installed in mild-freeze climates due to the outdoor pipes freezing in cold weather.  This system is good for buildings.  The final water heater is called evacuated-tube solar collectors and has parallel rows of transparent glass tubes. The tubes contain a glass outer tube and metal absorber attached to a fin.  The coating of this fin absorbs solar energy and inhibits radiative heat loss.  This collector is used for commercial applications in the U.S.

Most water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors.  There are two solar types of water heating systems which can be active or passive.  The active system has circulating pumps and controls and the passive does not. Solar water heaters need a well-insulated storage tank.  Storage tanks are important because they have additional outlets and inlet connected to and from the collector.  Systems that have two tanks, the solar water heater pre-heats water before it enters the convention water heater.  In one tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank. This is who the solar water heaters work.  There are also two types of active solar water heating systems, these are direct circulation and indirect circulations systems.  The first one, pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the building structure.  These work well in rarely freezing climates.  The second system pumps circulate which is a non-freezing heat-transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger.  This will heat the water that will flow though the building.  This is a good system for freezing climates.  So these are just some of the types of water heating systems you can have in your building structure depending on the climate in your area. 

You must also remember that almost all solar heating water systems need a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand.  One backup that you can use is called a conventional storage water heater which usually provides backup and may already be a part of the solar heater system package.

Also, proper installation of solar water is very important and it can also vary depending on the type you have. This includes solar resource, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues.  So it’s very crucial to have a qualified, solar thermal systems contractor install your system.

For more information about solar water heater systems, please visit: http://www.energy.gov/

You can also visit us at www.norsteel.com for ways to save energy and cut costs!

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