If you're thinking about harnessing the power of the sun, you'll want to consider the pros and cons of a solar water heater. It's a good way to test the water with utilizing green energy without diving-in with 100% of your electrical.
This article will give your the advantages and disadvantages of moving to a solar water heating system to help you make an educated decision. If you're a DIY kind of person, you may want to consider building your own system. Check out our article here.
Advantages of Solar Water Heaters
Do you like the thought of free energy? Well a solar water heater will allow you to harness the energy from the sun and reduce your electrical bill as much as 50% for electric water heaters.
If you live in an area where there's plenty of sunshine, such as Arizona, then your water heating bill could drop as much as 90%!
Carbon Footprint Reduction
Heating your water with a solar water heater will not only reduce your electric or gas bill, it'll also reduce your carbon footprint.
Traditional gas and electric water heaters use and release natural gas or fossil fuels into the atmosphere. Using a solar water heater does neither. Which means you get to save money while helping save the environment. How cool is that!
Fewer Solar Panels
If you want to take advantage of solar energy, but aren't thrilled with the idea of covering your entire roof with solar panels. You can make a huge impact on reducing your energy bills by simply switching your water heating to solar.
One to three solar panels is all it takes to power the average household solar water heater, and with fewer solar panels, the installation costs will also be less.
Increase Home Value
Adding a solar water heating system, or any green energy feature, will increase your home's value.
More and more buyers are looking for home's with energy-saving features.
With government rebates and tax credits you'll be able to offset the cost of purchasing and installing your solar hot water system.
Check your state for any incentives they may offer, and for federal incentives, you can check here.
Hot Water Always Available
Even if you live in an area without a lot of sun, you can still take advantage of a solar water heater.
These systems have an electric or gas back-up system for those days when the sun doesn't come out. You'll have the best of both worlds, reliable hot water regardless of the weather, yet still be able to reduce your water heating bill.
Disadvantages of Solar Water Heaters
We're not going to lie, adding a solar water heater to your home isn't cheap. Although every install is unique, $9,000 is a good rough estimate.
The good news is, you may be able to qualify for tax credits or rebates to help offset the initial costs. Learn more about federal programs here, and there may even be incentives at your state level.
Adding a solar water heating system to your home is truly an investment, but keep in mind that once they are installed, and if they are properly maintained, it's not uncommon to see these systems last over 20 years!
Climate Impacts Performance
Even though solar panels are able to generate heat on cloudy days, they typically are not as efficient.
If you live in a state that has less sunshine during the winter months, your system won't deliver the same financial benefits as a solar water heater owner who lives in Arizona or another state with plenty of sunshine.
But you won't need to worry about cold showers, because solar water heating systems include either a gas or electric back-up water heater which will prevent you from running out of hot water when the sun is hidden deep behind the clouds.
Mounted on Roof
Not only will your solar water heater panels need to be mounted on the roof, but you'll need to ensure they are facing the right direction to maximize their performance. They'll also need to be in an area where there's little to no shade from tall buildings or trees.
In addition, older homes may not be able to handle the weight of the system and require the roof to be reinforced.
It's a good idea to talk with a professional prior to purchasing a system. By stopping by and looking at your property, an installer will be able to determine if a solar water heating system is right for you and your home.
All water heaters require maintenance. Tanks need to be flushed and valves and connections need to be inspected.
But when it comes to solar systems you may have a difficult time finding someone qualified to do the maintenance. Keep in mind that this may change as more and more homeowners are moving towards green energy.