Hotwater systems, solar water heating panels. Thermal water heater. Solar heating

Home owners often ask installers of water heater systems what are the benefits of solar compared to gas and electric hot water systems? This usually results in a long conversation between installers and home owners because this is not an easy question to answer.

The benefits (sometimes there aren’t any) depend on the type of system the home owner currently has, the type of energy sources available connected to the home at the time of the installation, the local climate, available water supply, available roof space and orientation and available space for the storage tank. However, the most important considerations are the home owner’s needs, then their budget weighed against their expectations.

There are so many sizes and types of solar water heater systems that almost anybody’s needs can always be met. That is the easiest part of the answer that can be given.

It is the issues of budgets and expectations where the client and installers rely on each other to make the right choice. Most solar hot water systems will be significantly cheaper to run than any other type of system. However, the upfront costs of going solar is normally double that of going to gas and three to four times greater than a straight electric to electric heater system swap.

Then there is the need to consider the higher maintenance costs associated with solar. Home owners should also be aware that as a rule of thumb, the more energy efficient and environmentally friendly the system is, the higher the installation costs and the maintenance cost will be.

As part of the budget considerations it is important that home owners ask the installer about the costs of spare parts and the likely ongoing maintenance costs. Then compare the overall costs to other brands and types over the expected life of the installation. This is normally 15 years. Home owners will probably find that they may never see a financial benefit from changing to solar hot water.

There are cheaper alternatives to solar heater systems that will significantly reduce a household’s green house gas emissions. Home owners might consider a High Efficiency Natural Gas Storage system or a High Efficiency Natural Gas Continuous Flow system. Some of these have comparable green house gas emissions to a similar sized electric-boosted solar hot water system i.e. 1.3 tonnes for Natural Gas and 1.1 tonnes for electric-boosted solar.

The upfront change over cost from an electric to a Natural Gas system is usually half of the cost of changing from electric to solar or gas to solar hot water system. The maintenance costs are also significantly lower as the spare parts are generally cheaper and there are fewer components that can fail.

The running costs for a Natural gas system is usually half that of a similar sized electric system. LPG gas is worth considering too. However, the energy costs are the highest for any type of hot water system.

The guaranteed benefits derived from solar systems are environmental. Replacing an electric water heater system with a solar water heater system will significantly reduce a household’s green house gas emissions for heating water. If a home owner has the budget, lives in a climate suitable for solar, has the roof space and wants to reduce their households green house gas emissions then it is highly recommended changing to a Solar Water Heater System.

With the most efficient Natural gas post-boosted solar water heater systems your hot water emissions could reduce to around 0.2tonnes/year. This is a huge difference from the 3.4tonnes/year of an electric storage water heater system.

Robert Edwards is a former president of The Master Plumber’s Drainer’s and Gas Fitter’s Association of the ACT. As an experienced plumber and installer of solar hot water systems in the Canberra region Australia, Robert, is often asked, which type of solar hot water system is best in alpine rural areas with severe frost? If you would like more information to help you choose a solar hot water system you can contact 6 Star Hot Water and Plumbing at

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Hot water heating takes a lot of electricity so it makes sense to build a solar hot water system for your home. Especially when its so cheap and easy to build yourself!

A solar water heater can reduce your electricity bill by up to 33% and setting up the system is dead simple.

Using easy to find parts you can make the solar heater in your backyard for under $100.
The sun produces an extremely large about of energy yet only .1% of our energy production is solar! Isn’t this just crazy? On top of the great environmental impact you will save hundreds off your power bill.
For more information click the link in the description of this video.

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Category: Solar Hot Water
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