Water heaters always consist of a heat source and a water source that combine together to give you the warm or hot water you so desire. The water source can be a storage tank, in tanked-style units, or simply your home's water lines. The heat source can be electricity, gas, the heat from the air – or the heat from the sun. Solar tanks are becoming more popular as energy efficiency becomes a growing concern.
Solar tanks, which come with an electrical backup system so you're not stranded without hot water in gloomy weather, have some pros and cons that you should consider before deciding on an installation. You can always talk to a plumber or water heater repair and installation company for more information and tailored advice.
Pro: Highest Energy Efficiency of Any Water Heater Type
Solar water heaters have stellar energy efficiency, which is the primary selling point of the units. The United States has minimum efficiency requirements for any appliance. Solar water heaters outperform the minimums for water heaters by up to 90 percent. Over the lifespan of the unit, the solar efficiency could save you over two grand on your utility bills.
The savings can be a major selling point if you already have high utility bills due to other appliances or prices in your area--or if you are simply concerned with having as eco-friendly of a home as possible.
Pro: Lasts Twice as Long as Traditional Tanked Water Heater
High efficiency tanked water heaters have a maximum lifespan of about 10 years. The lifespan is determined, in part, by how long the tank can withstand the interior erosion caused by gradual mineral buildups and natural decay. Add in the relatively low cost of those units, and you get materials that have a shorter lifespan.
The solar aspects of the solar hot water heater can last up to 20 years. The electrical backup can last nearly that depending on your precise setup. So you won't need to replace your water heater as soon as you would with a tanked unit.
Cons: Expensive Upfront Costs, Requires Mild to Warm Weather to Function
Solar units might save money in the long-run, but the units do have higher upfront costs than tanked and tankless water heaters. If your primary concern is budget, and you need a new water heater immediately, a solar unit might not be the best choice for your home.
A solar unit also isn't a good choice if you live in an area with harsh winters. The solar panels require fairly constant sunlight so if you will have months of snow or gray skies, you will be using the electrical backup more than the solar panels and there isn't much point to even having this type of unit.
For more information, contact Drain-A-Way Inc or a similar company.