Solar water heaters are not like standard water heaters. There are significant differences in the way they should be used and maintained. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your solar water heater:
- Make sure you are not wasting hot water. Hot water conservation measures will minimize use of your conventional backup heater. Installing low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators will help, as will choosing Energy Star appliances. Also, be sure to fix any drips or leaks in your hot water lines.
- Your solar water heater will produce heat only when the sun is shining. Planning your consumption around the sun will maximize your savings. Showering in the evening takes advantage of the full tank of hot water that has been warmed by the sun all day. Conversely, you might want to delay doing laundry during periods of prolonged cloudy weather, when possible.
- Once your water is heated, you want to keep it as hot as possible until you are ready to use it. Your solar water heater should have a heavily insulated water tank. If your installer didn’t already, it’s also a very good idea to insulate all the hot water pipes in the system. The pipes between the solar collectors and the solar hot water tank should be especially heavily insulated.
- If your water tank does not have built-in heat traps, consider installing them on your cold-water inlet and hot-water outlet pipes, to prevent heat loss.
- If you live where it freezes in winter, your system probably contains glycol antifreeze. Glycol can last for decades, but if it overheats, it will start to degrade. You should get your glycol checked annually with a refractometer test to be sure it is still functioning adequately to protect your system against freezing.
- For the same reason, it is a good idea to keep tabs on your pump. If a pump should fail, the fluid in your panel coils can seriously overheat and compromise your glycol. Do a quick check every few days while the sun is shining to make sure the system is running and the pump is on.
- On sunny days, solar water heaters are capable of heating water to extremely high temperatures. Your system should have a tempering valve that adds cold water back in when necessary to keep your domestic hot water temperatures within a safe range.
Even without changing your behavior, your solar hot water system will save you money. However, you will enhance your savings by paying attention to the details of solar water heater ownership.
If for any reason you need assistance with your existing solar water heater, please feel free to call us at [company_phone]. Our qualified solar thermal experts are standing by to help.