Why Solar Hot Water?
The clean fuel that’s used to heat your water—sunshine—is free.Rising energy costs, global warming, dependence on foreign oil--these are just a few key reasons solar-powered hot water systems make sense. If the average three-person household in California replaced its gas-powered hot water heater with an EnviroPlumbing solar hot water system, residents could save:
155 therms of natural gas per year $195.30 per year (based on price of $1.26 per therm) 1752 pounds of CO2 emissions per yearSolar hot water systems have proven to be efficient and cost-effective for both residential use and commercial buildings. In California, EnviroPlumbing systems can answer up to 70 percent of hot water needs overall--and 100 percent during warmer months, from April to October. In a few years, a solar water heating system pays for itself, then your water heating bills disappear entirely.
How solar water heating worksIt all starts with solar collectors that capture the sun’s energy. A glycol-based antifreeze is pumped through tubes in the collectors, absorbing their heat. The glycol then travels through coils inside a water tank and, in turn, transfers heat to the storage water. When you turn on the tap, clean, potable water passes through an additional set of coils in the tank and fills your bathtub, sink or dishwasher. The tank is insulated in four inches of foam, permitting long-term storage and minimizing heat loss. Something else to consider: The same storage tank can supply warm water for radiant floor heating systems and swimming pools.
On Demand Water HeatingOn sunny or even partially sunny days, water heated by the sun will stay warm all day. For cloudy days, EnviroPlumbing can install a small backup electric “flash heater” that will heat only the amount of extra water needed. The environmental benefits of this on-demand system are twofold.
- It uses electricity, not natural gas, and you can zero-out your home’s carbon footprint if you use solar panels to generate your electricity or purchase renewable-energy credits from your utility.
- When hot water is needed, the system heats only the amount that’s needed, not all of the water stored in the tank. You save water, thereby saving on your water bills.