Whether you want to convert your house to run on solar energy, to convert to solar space heating, or to solar water heating for your home or pool, any step towards conversion to green energy not only reduces your monthly spending but also provides you with the peace of mind of contributing to a healthy planet through living green.
The biggest misconception regarding solar water heating is that if there’s no sun, you will have no hot water in the house. While it’s true that warmer, sunnier climates such as in the Southwest will be the best candidates for solar water heaters, solar heating still makes sense other places, even in the Pacific NW. Typically, solar water heaters work in partnership with an existing water heater which acts as a backup, so you will never be without hot water, you will simply save more money year round.
Short Term Financial Savings
There will be initial purchase and installation costs but you will make your money back. After installation you will immediately decrease your monthly spending. The average price of installing a solar heating system in a residential home ranges between $6,000-$10,000. However, with the combination of state tax credit incentives and federal tax credit incentives, the cost is virtually cut in half. So be sure to look into incentives before buying.
Long Term Financial Savings
Think of it as an investment! The EIA (energy information administration) states the average household spending per winter as follows: $679 for houses using natural gas, $1,666 for houses using propane, $909 for houses using electric heat, and $2,046 for houses using heating oils. Not only will you earn money back with through cutting down your annual spendings on heating to next to nothing, as well as through tax credit, but you will increase the value of your home. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, for every $1 reduction in annual utility bills, the value of your house increases $20 on average.
Peace of Mind
It’s green and it’s natural. You will do your part in making environmentally smart decisions by reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases through the use and emission of fossil fuels (oil, propane, gas), and in doing so you will sleep better at night knowing you have contributed to creating a healthier planet. Some may say that having a solar water heater system will make it more likely to develop a water heater leak, but your odds don’t change much since the rest of the system operates under fairly low water pressure.
Solar heating technologies use solar collectors to capture thermal energy from sunlight and transfer it into usable energy for space heating, water heating, and pool heating. The most common solar collectors are as follows: flat plate, evacuated tube, integral collector storage, thermosiphon, and concentrating. The type of solar collector or combination of solar collectors you choose will depend on what type of heating you want.
- Solar Space Heating – Solar space heating technologies typically use liquids to transfer heat from the collectors to the air. Here are three types: radiant floors, low temperature baseboards, and FHA (forced hot air systems).
- Solar Water Heating – The two types of solar water heating technologies are active systems and passive systems. Active systems are the most common, requiring electric pumps to circulate the water after transferring the heat from the solar collector. Passive systems are even more economically efficient, relying on thermodynamics to circulate the water.
- Solar Pool Heating – Solar pool heating applies solar water heating technologies to transfer heat from solar collectors through the pools filtration system to the pool water.
What’s the next step?
Of course if you are up to the challenge you can Do It Yourself and save even more. First, be sure to check your state’s local permits and covenants before buying or building. Otherwise, here are a few sites you can check out in order to get the ball rolling and start living green!