Aptly nicknamed the Sunshine State, Florida has plenty of solar energy that can be harvested to help heat your home’s water. Solar water heating is not only good for the environment, but it also saves you money by reducing your energy bills. If you’re thinking about adding solar water heating to your home, there are a number of ways it can be set up.
Indirect circulation systems
Solar water heating uses solar collectors to capture and retain heat from the sun’s radiation to heat water. Perhaps the biggest choice for a solar system is whether it’s direct or indirect. Indirect systems use the sun to heat a heat-transfer fluid that is used to heat your home’s water. They’re frequently used in areas that experience cold weather because they offer a couple options for dealing with freezing temperatures. They may also be necessary if your home’s potable water supply is acidic or consists of hard water.
Indirect systems usually use a flat-plate solar collector in home applications. A flat-plate collector consists of an insulated box with a transparent side that’s directed to receive the most sunshine. Inside the box is a dark-colored absorber plate through which the heat exchange fluid runs and collects heat. This water then runs into a well-insulated storage tank that also contains a backup water heating method for cloudy days.
Direct circulation systems
Since freezing temperatures aren’t much of an issue here in Florida, if your home’s water is suitable, you’ll want to use a direct system that uses the sun’s energy to directly heat your home’s potable water. They’re simpler and have lower costs. They also allow you the option of using an integral-storage collector. These collectors consist of taller insulated metal boxes rather than flat-plate collectors, also with a transparent side facing the sun. Inside the box are one or more dark-colored water storage tanks or tubes. Because they already store water themselves, tankless water heaters are a good choice for the backup water heating for integral-storage collectors.