A unique category of geysers can be solar water heaters. These solar heaters make the complete and effective utilization of sun rays to function. They have special characteristics like low cost of operation and eco-friendly nature. Solar water heaters barely consume electricity, thus, increasing the savings. In fact, solar water geysers can make up to 80% of savings. Solar water geysers can be classified into various types. Each and every type has its own distinct functionality, and it can be a little tricky to identify which one suits your needs. Here in this article, you can explore different types of solar water heaters and their benefits as well.
What Is Solar Heating?
Solar heating is generally installed on the top of the roof. The collectors involved in the solar heater face the sun to absorb solar radiation. As an initial part of the process, the cold water enters the vacuum collector tube. Later, it gets heated by the solar energy absorbed by the collector. With the increase in the temperature, the water rises upwards. Now it enters an insulated tank that can store hot water for long durations. Due to the insulation, heat loss is prevented, and water remains hot even when it is used much later.
What Are The Types Of Solar Heating?
Flat plate collector (FPC)
FPCs are one of the most popular types of collectors. It consists of a rectangular box that is insulated. This box is further covered by a glass. There are a series of interconnected copper pipes for the water to flow through beneath the glass. The metallic system is durable.
Evacuated Tube Collectors (ETC)
Evacuated tube collectors employ glass tubes to absorb solar radiation. A tube named 3T has multiple layers, and a vacuum is trapped in it. In our Alpha range of solar geysers, the inner tank is coated with PUF Insulation for higher efficiency. These geysers consist of Magnesium Anode that can improve the durability and increase the life of the system.
What are the different ways to utilize active solar heating in homes?
There are two basic types of solar panel heating systems are:
- Solar air space heating systems.
- Solar water heating or Hydronic systems.
1. Solar air space heating
Solar air space heating directly heats your living space by using room air heaters. A roof-mounted or wall-mounted air heater absorbs the cold air into a solar collector where it is heated. Warm air is then blown back into the room.
With roof-mounted heaters, ducts are used to push heated air into the room. While wall-mounted room heaters are placed on south-facing walls, holes are made through the wall in order for the air to pass into the room.
Solar water heating systems
Solar water heating systems have solar collectors that absorb solar radiation and convert it into heat. A non-toxic glycol antifreeze or water flows through the solar collectors, and then the heat energy from the collectors is transferred to the fluid.
The liquid quickly passes through the solar collector and its temperature increases between 10° and 20°F (5.6°–11°C). The warm fluid then flows to a heat exchanger or a water storage tank.
There are three major types of liquid-based solar space heating systems:
- Radiant floor systems,
- Hot-water baseboards, and
- Central forced air systems.
A) Solar water heating: radiant floor systems
In this system, the heated liquid moves through a system of pipes that are embedded in a thin concrete floor.
There are some of the points that need to be considered:
• The radiant floor system’s efficiency can be compromised if the floor is covered with thick rugs or carpeting.
• The floor must have tiles.
• A separate heat storage tank can be eliminated.
• A conventional boiler can be used to supply backup heat.
To heat a space from a cold start, radiant slab systems take a longer time when compared to other heat distribution systems. At the time of operations, they provide consistent heating throughout the home.
B) Solar water heating: hot-water baseboards
Baseboard hot water systems are installed at the baseboard or close to the ground. This allows for the heat to rise naturally and distribute evenly throughout the space.
A system of pipes installed in the baseboard pumps hot water, transferring the heat from the water into the room.
To heat a room effectively, hot-water baseboards or radiators require the water temperature to be between 160° and 180°F (71° to 82°C). As flat plate collectors can heat the liquid between 90° and 120°F (32° and 49°C), a backup heating system (or evacuated tube collectors) is used to increase the temperature of the solar-heated liquid.
C) Solar water heating: central forced-air systems
A liquid heating system is converted into a forced-air heating system. Here in this system, the air is pulled into the duct from a room; it heats up from the solar-heated liquid in the heat exchanger. The additional heat is supplied by the furnace.
The heating coil must be large enough to transfer the required amount of heat to the room, even at the lowest operating temperature of the collector. Liquid solar thermal energy systems work the best for central heating in homes.
What Is Active Solar Heating?
Have you ever wondered what the difference between active and passive solar energy is? Active solar energy is what's used in solar panels. It works well for both heating systems in homes and powering electricity to whole homes and communities due to its design. With active solar energy, you can use flat-plate PV panels, which can be mounted to collect the sun's energy.
The workability of solar energy is based on the air or liquid capturing the sun's heat. The fluid is then moved to a storage container until it is converted to energy. Active solar energy systems must use external devices to collect, store, and convert the sun’s solar energy into usable power.
The liquid is a better conductor of heat and energy, which is the reason why they are mostly used. However, the air has the benefit that it doesn’t freeze. Both fluids can be used in the heating and cooling of a home or building. Liquid collectors are known as hydronic collectors, while air systems are simply called air collectors.
What Are Some Of The Disadvantages Of Active Solar Heating?
Active solar systems make better utilization of external equipment in order to increase the usable heat in a solar energy system. These systems convert heat to energy or use the heat directly to warm water or air in a building. Active solar systems are a good source of energy; the disadvantages of an active solar system will discourage its use by most homeowners.
Active solar systems are heat-based, liquid-whether the liquid is water or an antifreeze mixture. To generate enough hot liquid, a large space is required. A typical home would require a solar panel to heat enough liquid to serve its heating needs. Because these panels require regular maintenance, are heavy, and may leak antifreeze, a roof installation is not ideal.
Active solar energy systems are expensive. A complete system for a single-family home can cost up to $20,000. In comparison, a passive solar system that does not use pumps will cost half. In addition, an active solar system has many parts to maintain.
Active solar systems have the advantage of storing heat in their liquid, even in the dark. However, in most areas, an active solar system will not capture enough sunlight to entirely replace your heating and electrical systems. Therefore, another system will have to be used as a backup to your active solar system.
There are very few technicians that have experience with active solar systems. As a result, installing an active solar system will either be a do-it-yourself project or extremely expensive. When the system asks for maintenance or repair, it would be a difficult situation for you to handle. Active solar systems for homely usage will be most attractive.
How Does Solar Heating Work?
It is tough to find an alternative source of energy; solar has taken the lead as having the most promising features. More and more people are installing solar panels in their homes to supplement their traditional heating systems. People are unaware of the knowledge of how solar heating actually works.
Liquid Solar Heating
Similar to other heating systems, solar heating is split into liquid and forced air methods. Liquid solar heating is a radiant heating system that uses pipes to distribute hot water throughout the house. These pipes then radiate the heat through the floorboards or through the walls.
Rather than using a boiler to heat the water, solar heating collects thermal energy directly from the sun. Solar panels are usually mounted on the roof or a south-facing wall for maximum exposure during the day. The thermal energy collected by the solar panel is then directed to a solar storage unit, which heats the water and distributes it.
Like all solar systems, this kind of heating becomes less effective if access to sunlight is limited. Some storage units work as backup water heaters.
Forced Air Heating
The workability of the forced air solar heating is just like other forced air systems. The solar panels that are plotted outside the home collect and use thermal energy to warm the air in a collector unit. The collector then circulates the air throughout the house using an electric fan. The requirements of the ducts are a must.
Forced air solar systems tend to collect slightly more thermal energy than thermal systems.
What Is Passive Solar Heating?
Passive solar heating requires no external devices to collect or store solar heat. Passive solar energy relies entirely on itself and thermodynamics to collect solar heat and turn it into power. The passive solar energy system works best for heating and cooling systems, especially for small houses. However, this system will not be suitable for rainy or cloudy weather.
If you’ve ever parked your car in the sun on a cold winter day, you must have experienced the basics of passive solar energy. As your car stands in the sun, the glass captures and traps the heat. You may also know this as "the greenhouse effect." When you get inside, you slide into a warm, pleasant car instead of the chilly winter air.
Special windows are placed on the south-facing side of the building to absorb the heat of the solar that shines through. Some systems may be supplemented through PV panels, but then you're combining both active and passive solar. Using thermodynamics, heat will move from warm areas to cool ones; heat is redistributed through the area until it's evenly heated.
Using solar energy to meet your daily needs is not just cost-effective in the long run, but also helps you do your bit for the environment. The evolving engineering and technology mean that it is a great time to invest in solar technology.