Solar energy is considered as one of the most efficient and cost saving forms of energy on the planet.

This is one of the reasons why people across the planet have started looking at various solar water heater plans to supplement hot water availability in their homes.

The growing awareness of consumers and the need for harnessing solar energy has created a new market for solar water heaters.

As a result more and more companies specializing in offering DIY kits of solar water heaters have mushroomed. Today, there are several solar water heater plans available to choose from.

How To Choose Solar Water Heater Plans

There are several important aspects to consider when you are in the market looking for solar water heater plans. Let’s look at some of the important aspects:

Working of Solar water heater: This is the most important aspect. How does a solar water heater work?

This type of water heater is driven by energy from the sun or sunlight. The sun’s energy is used for heating water, which is stored in a container called the hot water tank and is supplied to various areas of a home through a piping system.

The solar energy is received by solar panels also known as solar collectors, which mainly trap the heat and enable the water in the tank to get heated.

Certification: This is the next important aspect. If you are looking for solar water heater plans then you need to ensure that they are certified by a regulating authority.

Most of the solar water heaters in North America are certified by Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC). SRCC is basically a third-party certification authority, which administers national certification as well as rating programs for different types of solar energy equipment including residential water heaters.

Their certification and rating program for solar water heating plans are known as OG 300. If you find a solar water heater system in the market that has the SRCC certification then it means that your system is durable, reliable, highly efficient, safe, and has the required thermal performance rating.

Types of Solar water heater plans: There are different types of solar water heater systems available starting from the very simple to the very complex. Most of these water heaters are classified under two categories:

•    Active solar water heater plans
•    Passive solar water heater plans

Passive or Active: The passive solar water heaters are considered as the simplest systems available. Hence, these systems are inexpensive and quite easy to maintain. There are mainly two types of passive water heater plans and they are:

1.    Batch Systems: This is one of the oldest forms of water heater plans in the world that is being driven by solar energy. This type of system is best for regions with climatic conditions that are fairly warm and where freezing doesn’t take place. Residential batch systems can suffice the requirements of 1-3 adults.

2.    Thermosyphon Systems: The thermosyphon system is a modern form of the batch system. It works on the basic principle that hot fluid will always rise.

This type of system normally uses a flat plate collector or an evacuated tube collector.  As compared to batch systems, this system experiences less heat loss and hence is quite the favorite. Using this system, you can derive 30-80 gallons of water every day.

Here’s a working diagram of a thermosyphon system:

Thermosyphon solar water heater plan

Image credit: UCSUSA.ORG

Now let us take a look at the active solar water heater plans. As compared to passive plans; these are more complex in nature and require regular maintenance.

These systems require a solar water pump to enable the circulation of fluid through the system.

There are mainly two types of active solar water heater systems and they are:

1.    Open loop solar plan or direct circulation system: In this type of water heating system, the pumps circulate water for household use through a plumbing loop. Known as the direct pump system, it is quite similar in many ways to a passive system.

The only difference is that this system comprises of a low head solar hot water pump used mainly for circulation of fluid. This water pump can be activated or deactivated using a PV module or a built-in differential thermostat control. Using this system, you can derive 40-80 gallons of water every day.

Here’s a working diagram of an open loop plan:

Open Loop Solar Water Heating System

Image credit:

2.    The closed loop solar water heater plan is also known as the drainback solar water heater plan. This type of system consists of two closed loops.

The water pump of a closed loop system is responsible for circulating a heat transfer fluid into the collector or the panel, which then passes through a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger then transfers the heat from the collector containing distilled water to circulating or stored domestic water.

One of the most important things to remember is that these systems require periodic maintenance and lack of maintenance will affect the efficiency and working of the plan severely. Using the drainback solar water heater, you can derive 40-100 gallons of water every day.

With hot water becoming a necessity in most households especially in the winter, installing a solar water heater will help in sufficing your domestic hot water requirements as well as increase on energy savings. However, it is always better to compare prices of the solar water heater plans over the internet before making any buying decision.

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