Solar heaters have recently caught the attention of many house owners and real estate investors around the globe. They are very versatile and have a wide variety to choose from depending on your location, weather, and budget. This article will enlighten you regarding solar heaters.
Many people advocate for solar heaters, but only a few know how theywork. First, we shall dive into how solar heaters work and their common elements. Having this information will help you make an informed decision when making a purchase.
What it consists of
Even though they have a wide variety, every systemhas some common parts. The first one is the thermal panel. It is normally installed on the roofand is also known as a solar collector. It absorbs the solar energy from the sun.
There are two major types of collectors- the flat plate and the evacuated tube. The flat plate is by far the simplest. It has thick black glass covering metal boxes through which water pipes run. The function of the glass is to accumulate and trap heat. The water picks up the heat and transfers it to the hot water tank.
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The evacuated tube is more complicated. It has parallel tubes laid side by side. Each tube comprises inner and outer glass separated by an insulating vacuum space just like a thermo-flask. Thetubes’ work is to collectintense solar energy and send it to a heat exchanger with a manifold that has entry and exit pipes through which hot water (or another fluid) runs.
The second essential part of the system is the hot water tank that is well insulated. It is for storing hot water. The size of the tank varies depending on the usage of a household. The more demand for hot water, the bigger the size of the tank.
The final part is the pump. Although some systems do not use it, pumps increase efficiency. It facilitates the circulation of water from the panel to the tank. Solar-electric pumps can be used instead of normal electric pumps.
How it works
The collector absorbs sunlight and changes it to heat. Water flowing through the collector is heated and carries the heat to the hot water tank as it leaves. As for the solar heater system that uses a non-freezing fluid, it passes through the heat exchanger, transferring the heat to the water in the hot water tank and, the cold fluid goes back to the collectors. The process is continuous.
Systems without a pump use the principle the warm water is less dense than cold water, so it will flow out as the cold water flows into the collector.
The biggest advantage of solar heaters is that they are economical. There is a high demand for hot water in households, and using electricity to do the heating is costly. Using solar energy that is free of charge reduces the monthly energy bills. It also decreases the consumption of fossil fuels like gas and oil, which lessens the negative effect on the environment.
Solar systems are very efficient as they convert most radiation into thermal energy. They are also good for remote areas that are not connected to the power grid.
The initial cost to install the parts might be costly, depending on the chosen system. For instance, the evacuated tubes collector is more expensive than the flat plate since it has a higher level of technology and it stores more heat. It also requires annual maintenance to keep it running smoothly.
Space is also required to keep the panels on the roof. If you have a large home or live in colder climates, a bigger panel is needed.
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The merits of having a solar heater outweigh the demerits. It is therefore advisable to consider installing one in your home.