Among all of the costs that impact both electric and gas bills alike your hot water heaters are right at the top of a list of the most costly. Whether you have a large household that uses large volumes of hot water for laundry, bathing and cleaning or a business such as restaurants which go through thousands of gallons of hot water every month these costs can be extreme. With energy costs at a premium these days we are all seeking relief in every way possible to greatly reduce or eliminate these high costs in a way that will give us a quick return on investment and there is nothing quite like the solar thermal hot water system that answers both of these calls. The technologies from which these systems originally emerged came out during the 1970s during the last energy crisis when oil prices spiked and caused the endless lines at gas pumps and large increases to gas and electric costs.
If you have ever left your garden hose laying in the sun all day and then turned it on you can quickly understand just how hot the water in the hose can get from the sun’s energy as the temperatures of water can easily be heated up to 200 degrees F. Today the technologies these systems employ have advanced greatly and offer savings of up to 47% regardless if you live in mild climates that rarely see temperatures that drop to freezing or if you happen to live in a northern tiered state where these freezing temperatures are a way of life every year. Southern states and climates are able to utilize water jacketed systems in heating their hot water tanks during the daylight hours and once the sun sets each night this water is pumped to an interior holding tank that prevents freezing in the event temperatures do drop enough for this to be a concern. Northern states use glycol jacketed closed loop systems because glycol does not freeze yet it still retains and transfers the heat it absorbs in the solar collectors very quickly to hot water tanks.
These systems come in a wide variety of configurations for both commercial and residential use depending on what your hot water volume demand is and many commercial model manufacturers have designed some very massive systems that can require ground mounting only because of their weight. Residential needs however do not require such large systems so it is very easy to install one or two solar collector panels while still being able to produce very large volumes of hot water. Large households would want to utilize dual tank systems and whether you are using a single or dual tank configuration both still retain their electric or gas heating circuits but are only used when the solar thermal system cannot keep up with present demand. These solar thermal systems costs vary depending on the type and whether they require water or water diluted glycol as their thermal medium but by and large you can anticipate a return on investment of 6 to 11 years as well as the increased value to the property these systems were installed on.