Passive Solar Hot Water Systems


Passive solar hot water systems are quite simple and require the least investment in both money for materials and skills. In mild climates such as Southern California or Florida, a passive solar water heating system may be all your family needs to meet their hot water needs. In colder areas, passive solar hot water systems can be used as pre-heating systems to reduce the amount of traditional heating fuels to generate the hot water required by your household.

Passive solar water heating systems are simple because no pumps are involved. The idea behind the system is simple as well. On a hot summer day, if you collect a pitcher of cold tap water, which may be 60 degrees Fahrenheit or a bit more, and allow that pitcher to sit in the sun for a few hours, you have hot water. If you placed the water in a black pitcher, the process would happen even more quickly. That's exactly the concept behind a passive solar water heating system!

If you plan to build a passive solar water heating system as a pre-heating system to save money on energy, you may be able to turn your traditional energy source off entirely for a few months of each year! However, even in the sunniest areas with hot summers, early morning showers could result in the need for supplemental heating to ensure you get your hot morning shower. By adding valves and timers to passive solar water heating systems, you can ensure that hot water is always there and waiting on demand.

Exactly how much savings can you expect in your area? The best way to learn this is to consult with a local plumbing contractor who advertising proficiency in solar water heating systems. You may also be able to garner information from your local County Cooperative or local government. In any event, even simply pre-heating water used by your traditional water heater will save money making the investment worthwhile.

If you have a passive solar hot water system installed by a contractor, recouping your investment will not come as quickly as if you do the job yourself. However, you will have an expert in the field save you all the hassle and guesswork. Most people who want a passive solar water system, however, build and install the system themselves. Any but the most complex solar hot water systems can be built and installed by any homeowner with a basic knowledge of how to follow instructions and how to use tools safely and properly.

Passive solar hot water systems range from the small tank on the roof painted black to sophisticated systems that can cost lots of money. Most sophisticated systems use double insulated transparent covers on boxes that are painted black and have tubing of copper or plastic inside and are in-line to their water collection tank or hot water heater. The movement of the water in a passive solar water system is what causes the water to move.

The typical family can save from 40 cents per day up to $1 per day on the cost of heating. While you may invest as much as $1,000 in the hardware and equipment to install a good, effective passive solar water heating system, if you save $1 per day in water heating costs, you will recoup your investment in just over 3 years and after that, save $365 per year on your heating costs! Plus, you will potentially qualify for grants or tax breaks that help even more.

Many sources for passive hot water system designs are available at no cost from your local library, from the Internet, and from local water companies. Read as much as possible about passive solar hot water systems in your area before you determine whether this type of solar hot water system is for you.

You may find that an active solar hot water system, which is more expensive and complicated but also more effective, may be the right system for your household. The difference in the active hot water system powered by the sun is that pumps are used to move water, increasing the effectiveness.

About the Author: Anita van Wyk strives to make make more people aware of the benefits of using solar energy through her website

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