Two Types of DIY Solar Water Heating Systems

People are investing in DIY solar water heating systems in order to save money, but what they often don’t know is that there are different types of solar water heating systems.  These can be classified as passive or active.

Active Solar Water Heating System

An active DIY solar water heating system uses an electric pump to circulate the heat transfer fluid through the solar collectors and back into the tank.  The collectors are made of an insulated aluminum box with a copper absorber plate inside.  It also has a tempered glass cover plate to prevent the heat from escaping.  In cold climates where freezing temperatures regularly occur, the heat transfer system requires anti-freeze such as a non-toxic glycol solution.

An active DIY solar water heating system can use either direct or indirect circulation.  Direct circulation systems pump water through the collector and back into the home, which makes them ideal for locales where freezing doesn’t occur.

Indirect circulation systems use heat transfer fluids to heat the water supply.  The fluid goes through the collectors and a heat exchanger, which then heats up the water supply.  This is perfect for areas that experiences freezing temperatures.

Passive Solar Water Heating System

A passive DIY solar water heating systems uses natural convection to circulate the fluid through the system.  This type of system is ideal for warm climates, but they are not recommended for areas that experience cold winters.  Although cheaper than an active system, this type of water heating system is also less efficient.

There are two types of passive DIY solar water heating system.  The first one is the integral collector-storage passive system, which is best for areas with longer daylight time and where hot water is needed at night.

Alternately, there is also the thermosyphon system.  In this type of solar water heating system, water flows through it when warm water goes up as the cooler water goes down.  The solar collector must be positioned under the storage tank so the hot water goes up into the tank.  This is a reliable design, but you must keep an eye on the roof’s structural design because of the storage tank’s weight.  This type of passive system is more expensive than the integral collector storage counterpart.

Installing a DIY solar water heating systems is a cost-effective way to produce hot water in your home.  Now that you know the different types of solar water heating systems, you can choose which one suits your needs the most.

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