Solar Water Heating Systems

Solar water heating systems use the sun’s energy to heat water for household use. This can be a cost effective solution to heating water in your home because the sun’s energy is free and everyone has access to it. Two parts make up the solar water heating system, a storage tank and solar collectors. There are two different types of systems, the active system, which uses pumps and controls, and the passive system, which does not. There are three different kinds of solar collectors.

There are two kinds of active systems. With direct circulation systems, pumps pump the water that needs to be heated through the collectors and into the home. With indirect systems, pumps pump a heat-transfer fluid, which will not freeze through the collectors and a heat exchanger, which heats the water that goes into the home. The direct circulation system works well where the weather does not freeze.

Passive systems do not use a pump so they are usually less expensive than active systems. There are two kinds of passive systems, the integral collector storage system and the thermosyphon system. With the thermosyphon system, water flows when the warm water rises and the cold water sinks.

There are three types of solar collectors, the integral collector-storage systems, the flat-plate collector, and the evacuated-tube solar collectors. In the integral collector-storage system, the cold water runs through one or more tubes or tanks in a glazed, insulated box where the water is heated before going to the storage tank. This system works best in areas that do not freeze. The flat-plate collector can be either glazed or unglazed. With the glazed, there is a dark absorber plate with a glass or plastic cover and with the unglazed, there is a dark absorber plate with no cover. The evacuated-tube solar collector is a bunch of parallel tubes with a clear glass outer shell and a metal absorber tube attached to a fin. The fin absorbs the solar energy without very much heat loss.

There are many different options when using a solar water heating system. There are two different systems and three different solar collectors. Even with so many options, one thing is clear. Solar energy is free energy that anyone can use.



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