Solar water heaters are appliances used to harness natural sunlight energy and transduce it into heat or solar energy, which can then be used in heating water.
This article highlights the general features of solar water heaters, which are pivotal in understanding their importance and the features that guide purchase.
Undoubtedly, the dramatic cut down in bills that may be experienced with one less appliance running cannot be underestimated. Solar water heaters are gradually being resorted to by homeowners and at a large-scale level in industries to obtain leverage on the free resources, sunlight, while getting excellent results in water heating.
The resort to solar water heaters is a relatively expensive undertaking, considering the purchase, installation, and subsequent maintenance costs. Nevertheless, this may be cost-effective in the long run, bearing in mind the advantages accompanying its use, later enumerated in this article.
How it operates
The mechanism underlying the operation of water heaters is simple; the solar panels trap sunlight energy from the sun. Through a transducer (a piece of equipment that converts one form of energy to another), sunlight energy is converted to heat energy which is subsequently transferred into water running through pipes, raising its temperature.
In comparison to traditional water heating systems, there are two distinct disparities. The former is powered by electricity or gas and can run other appliances. On the other hand, the latter is powered by solar, as described above, and can only be used to power appliances when coupled to photovoltaic equipment, meaning more costs are incurred.
Features that dictate the price
As a rule of thumb, safety is paramount when working with any equipment. Solar water heaters with a mark of safety mandated by relevant authorities, like KEBS in Kenya, are worth every investment.
The capacity of liters is directly proportional to the cost, although other features described herein override this direct relationship.
The system size, whether large or small, directly influences the solar water heater price in Kenya. A commercially designed system has a greater capacity and is high-priced.
Typically, stainless steel and galvanized aluminum are used in designing the piping system. The former is big-budgeted and ideal for use with hard water (it does not lather easily with soap), while the latter is preferred for conduit of soft water.
Types of solar water heaters
They are classified based on heating mechanisms: active and passive, and pressure quantities: high and low pressure. These have tremendous implications for the overall cost of the heating system.
They can also be classified as flat plates, solar collectors, vacuum tubes, integrated water heaters, and many more.
As alluded to earlier, energy bills tremendously go down with using a water heater, all thanks to the exploitation of natural resources. The maintenance cost is also virtually insignificant as it only includes maintenance of the antifreeze system.
Secondary to living in a tropical zone, the seasonality issue could be a better hindrance to using this equipment. Except for the few yet rare cold months, the appliance can be used all year round.
As a homeowner, solar water heaters increase the value of your home whenever you contemplate leasing or selling the home.
Solar water heaters are an essential asset. It is imperative to gather such information before acquiring a water heater as these elements significantly affect the amount likely to be spent.