Solar Hot Water Heaters

Solar Hot Water Heaters

We’re all looking for ways to reduce the waste and pollution that come from fossil fuel use, and what better alternative than the sun, nature’s own energy source. The sun is a nearly inexhaustible source of power: in fact, there’s more energy in the amount of sunlight that hits the Earth in an hour than the whole planet uses in a year! Over the last decade solar energy has leapt to the front of the alternative energy race, and advances in technology have made it possible for all of us to start replacing fossil fuels with green solar power. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make this change is with a solar water heater. Check out Apricus Solar Water Heaters, a Connecticut-based company that’s putting the sun’s energy to work for you.

Why get a solar water heater?

The EPA estimates that around 20% of all home energy use goes to heating water. Imagine the benefits if we could get all that energy from the sun instead of from burning fossil fuels: we’d be keeping millions of tons of greenhouse gases out of the air and avoiding immeasurable damage to our land and oceans. Solar hot water systems make it possible to do just that by using sunlight instead of electricity or natural gas to heat water. A single solar water heater on a residential home can reduce the same amount of damaging CO2 in the air as planting 500 trees! In fact, the entire lifecycle of a solar water heater is designed to be as eco-friendly as possible: the system recoups the energy used to manufacture it in as little as a few months and all the parts – from the glass to the metal – can be recycled at the end of its life.

Solar water heaters will also reduce your home energy bills. A solar hot water system can provide between 50 – 70% of your hot water needs, and the drop in your energy bill means that the system will pay for itself in 5 – 7 years.

How does solar power work?

There are two basic ways we derive power from the sun. One is photovoltaic cells (PV), which are used to turn the sun’s energy into electricity (think of the shiny panels you see on calculators or solar powered lights). The second method is what’s known as solar thermal energy: it’s basically an elaborate way to trap the heat from the sun, usually to heat water or buildings. With the right equipment, the sunlight that falls on your roof can be used to heat the water that runs through your sinks, showers, and washing machines.

Solar water heaters are able to make use of the sun’s warmth using a technology known as evacuated tubes that trap the heat from the sun inside a set of nested glass cylinders. The energy trapped in the tubes is then used to heat water which can be transferred to a storage tank; from there the water can be used anywhere throughout your home. These tubes are very efficient and can be used in all types of climates and sunlight levels (in other words, even the coldest and gloomiest locales will benefit). Another advantage to this technology is that the tubes can be joined together in panels of varying sizes, making them flexible enough to provide hot water for everything from residential homes to giant office buildings.

How do I install a solar water heater in my home?

Solar water heater systems are designed to accommodate the unique needs of your home or office building and take into account your water usage and the amount of sunlight your location receives (known as insolation). The average home solar water heater for a family of four will cost around $10,000, but a lot of that cost can be offset. The federal government offers a 30% tax rebate for the cost of installing alternative energy sources in your home, and there are also a number of smaller rebates available from local governments and utility companies. If you’re interested in finding out more about solar water heater systems, contact Apricus through their website to find a distributor near you.

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