Solar water heaters
— also called solar domestic hot water systems — can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use — sunshine — is free.
HOW THEY WORK
Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t.
INSTALLING AND MAINTAINING THE SYSTEM
The proper installation of solar water heaters depends on many factors. These factors include solar resource, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues; therefore, it’s best to have a qualified solar thermal systems contractor install your system.
After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly. Passive systems don’t require much maintenance. For active systems, discuss the maintenance requirements with your system provider, and consult the system’s owner’s manual. Plumbing and other conventional water heating components require the same maintenance as conventional systems. Glazing may need to be cleaned in dry climates where rainwater doesn’t provide a natural rinse.