Gas and electricity (from power plants) used to be the most popular ways to receive warm or hot water. However, this trend is about to be replaced by a more cost-efficient approach, which uses sunlight as a source of energy.
Nowadays, the growing interest in the industry of sustainable energy has resulted in numerous innovations and benefits. People that chose to install a solar-powered water heater gain lots of perks too. While saving considerable amounts of personal funds is among the most attractive pros, the fact that the system won’t cause any kind of pollution should also be taken into account. Undoubtedly, sooner or later, renewable energy will prevail, and switching to it means being ready for the new times that are about to arrive.
The other advantage of solar fluid heaters is the lower requirement for maintenance as this is a solid and stable technology, which can serve efficiently for decades in case it is set up properly.
In practice, a sunlight thermal collector is installed either on the roof or somewhere around the house’s surrounding area. The accumulated warmth is then directed to a special tank where the water supply is being heated. For precaution means, a backup system is mounted; thus, sunless conditions won’t cause any issues.
Still, the components’ package of such systems vary from one solution to another.
Kinds of Solar Water Systems
Tanks, collectors, and other elements of the system are customizable, and, as a result, the market is flooded with different types of solar water heaters. Mainly, there are 2 kinds of solutions available, which are called active and passive. As soon as these technologies vary in their functionality and implementation, they directly affect the solar water heater cost.
Depending on the environment you are living in, an active water heating system may feature direct or indirect circulation. In case conditions are rather warm, an active direct system will be more preferable as the collectors will simply run the fluid to the building with the use of pumps.
Otherwise, in regions where the weather can easily get lower than 0 ℃ (or 32 ℉), the active indirect circulation is the right choice as it has a complex non-freezing feature.
The passive system, on the other hand, is the right pick for those willing to decrease expenditures. It also takes 2 forms. The first one includes an integral collector-storage and also fits for warm climates, while the second type is bulkier as in this case, the liquid tank is larger. Speaking of the latter, the thermosyphon is responsible for maintaining the heat within the tank.
As it was mentioned above, storages and sunlight collectors may be of different kinds too. While storages are generally divided into one and two-tank options, collectors feature a somewhat bigger variation of systems, which include evacuated-tube, integral collector-storage, and flat-plate.
There are many other aspects influencing the experience, such as the implementation of protection measures, which are usually aimed at preventing freezing or getting too hot. Also, with the increase of competition on the market, the average product quality was affected; hence, customers should make the decision on which supplier to choose wisely.
Best Solar Water Heater
At all times, buying a new high-tech device isn’t a cheap pleasure, but it definitely pays off over time. Therefore, before making the purchase a number of characteristics should be examined.
First of all, the manufacturer. It should be reliable with an impeccable reputation. The warranty applying to the product from the box is a great index for this parameter. While one of the main advantages of the solar power industry is a relatively small dependency on maintenance, still, there is no 100% guarantee that everything will go smoothly. On average, top suppliers offer warranties from 5 to 10 years.
The capacity of solar heaters varies from one product to another; therefore, this aspect should be put in the front row during the selection. Throughout one single day, people are likely to use about 101.5 gallons of water. Applying this data to the number of family members, one will be able to evaluate the household’s needs.
Among the great diversity of companies occupied in providing complete water heating solutions, one will find:
- Duda Diesel
- Northern Lights
Nevertheless, there are way more manufacturers we are about to pay attention to.
These short solar hot water heater reviews were prepared with the purpose of informing buyers about the best solutions they can find on the market, which will suit different individual requirements.
Apricus is a solar water heater brand with a history of more than 17 years as it has entered the market in 2003. It has a relatively new branded product, Wombat, which is of different types, including evacuated tube thermosiphons and flat plate thermosiphons. The latter is the one we are featuring today.
Wombat comes in two sizes — ≈40 and ≈80 gallons. It also boasts an impressively high solar absorption efficiency percentage that can reach 97%. It has a wisely developed design prepared for freezing temperatures as well as a properly isolated water tank.
It features a special implementation that is aimed to provide backup for seasons when the temperature is rather low. This way, Wombat becomes a preferable choice for people living in climates characterized by variability.
Apricus ensures the availability of warranties; however, the product documentation doesn’t include detailed information about precise terms.
- Price: available by making an inquire
Sunbank, a California-based company, is a trustworthy solar water heating system provider. Customers note that these guys offer heating solutions of great quality, high efficiency, and decent reliability. Also, their products don’t require specialists for the initial setup and can easily be installed by anybody thanks to the detailed manuals attached.
SB-40G is a good example of a passive system, which is well-known for its above-average durability. Therefore, the manufacturer is ready to cover any kinds of faults with a 1-year warranty, while collectors receive support for 10 years after the purchase.
In total, the package contains:
- A bracket
- Evacuated tube collectors
- Fluid tank
The product fully complies with the SRCC OG-100 standard, and its parts are all made of high-quality materials. In addition, Sunbank offers a special controller, which can be ordered for $159.00 and installed in-house.
For bigger households a bigger, 80-gallon option is also available on the supplier’s official website.
- Price: $2,499.00
Duda Diesel 53 Gallon Water System
The solar hot water heater option provided by Duda Diesel uses an active indirect technology, which makes it possible to place the storage in any convenient location without strict boundaries to the collector.
The other pro of the Duda Diesel’s solution is the reduced warmth loss as the tank can be easily installed inside one’s house or property. This is the single right solution for those people living in mild or even cold climates as in this case, the water container is protected from freezing.
Products of Duda Diesel are certified by Solar Rating & Certification Corporation according to the OG-100 standard.
Nevertheless, the system has a considerable disadvantage concerning the water temperature, which might get too hot when not used for long periods (several days). Nevertheless, owners of the device consider themselves satisfied as it fulfills its main task perfectly — generates warm water quickly regardless even under unfavorable conditions.
As there are many items included in the package, the warranty covers them differently:
- Collector — 3 years
- Tank — 2 years
- Electrical Heating — 1 year
- Controller — 1 year
However, it doesn’t apply to issues that have happened by accident but only to defects that were results of the production process.
- Average price: $2,478.54
When it comes to a solar water heater for pool, there are not that many manufacturers supplying such a variety of products for such a reasonable price.
SunHeater provides its ultimate solutions for decades now, satisfying thousands of customers every year. This is not surprising as the company is acknowledged for under-promising and over-delivering.
S240U was specially designed so that every buyer is capable of setting it up him or herself. It is also compatible with pools of different types and can be applied for ones with a maximum size of 18 x 36 feet (or 31 feet in diameter). Besides, the heater is flexible in its positioning and can be placed on different surfaces including roof, fence, ground, or even one of the pool’s sides.
The provider promises to heat up the water for up to 10 ℉, but purchasers mark that their pools increased in temperature for 20+ ℉, which is a great bonus.
However, S240U has one flaw, which concerns climate restrictions as its performance is lower in rather cold environments.
- Price: $299.99
SWH-1 by Northern Lights
Northern Lights’ offer definitely stands out among all the others mentioned above and below. These guys deliver a complete installation package, which includes all the necessary parts to set up a warming system with ease.
Ordering an SWH-1, customers receive 9 pieces of high-end equipment, which include a solar water heater tank for 50 gallons, a pump station, a vacuum tube collector, and consumable parts such as the heating fluid, piping elements, and other fittings. The box is ending with a number of guides and instructions that will be of great help during the set-up process.
Altogether, the absorber consists of 30 solar heating tubes, the temperature of which can reach more than 400 ℉.
Speaking of SWH-1, its weight of 400 kilograms is to be noted before performing the order.
Northern Lights has a pretty impressive client service as it allows buyers to return and refund the equipment during the first 30 days after the purchase. Moreover, collectors of SWH-1 feature a 10-year warranty, while every other part of the purchase is under a 3-year warranty.
This is a great choice for those looking for a hassle-free experience, but, unfortunately, it is among the most expensive ones.
- Price: $5,648.44
The rooftop solar water heater developed by Sunpad is kind of an innovative flagship in the fast-growing industry. The novelty is about every aspect of this device, beginning with the compact design and form and ending with the brand-new technology standing behind the warming process.
The whole system itself represents a 62-kilogram box, which can be installed on both flat and pitched roofs. Its sunlight capturing rate is pretty high and equals 91%, which makes it very efficient. In addition, it can produce a maximum of 300 liters (or about 100 gallons) of heated water.
The manufacturer states that one can even decrease gas and electricity bills by 80%.
Overall, it is a well-built product made of premium-quality stainless steel, aluminum, and other materials. There are also 2 warranties attached to the purchase: 2 years for components and 5 years for the solar water heater.
- Price: available by contacting the sales department
Looking for a decent pool heater on Amazon, one will find S601 among the top results as it is marked with the platform’s customers’ choice tag. It means that the vast majority of buyers are more than pleased with the purchase.
People praise this one for being not too difficult to install and suiting fine on different types of surfaces. The dimensions of S601 arrays are 4 x 20 feet (width and length), which total 80 square feet of space required. The supplier promises a temperature increase of 6-10 ℉, which numerous reviews confirm.
According to the user experience of owners of rather big pools, up to 3 packages of S601s might be needed to achieve the desired result. Luckily, the manufacturer provides answers to these and some other questions on its online marketplaces.
Tool kits, though, are not included in the package; thus, they have to be added to the cart individually.
- Price: $289.00