If you are thinking about setting up a solar system to heat your water, you are going to need some type of well-insulated storage tank to keep your warm water inside and ready to use. Solar storage tanks are designed differently than traditional water tanks; they include two extra outlets. These two outlets run through the collector that helps heat up the water. Here are the three most common types of solar collectors that are used inside of residential homes.
#1 Evacuated-Tube Solar Collectors
This type of solar collector consists of rows of glass tubes that are transparent and are set-up parallel to one another. Each tube has two different layers to it. The outer layer is comprised of a glass tube and the inner layer is made out of a metal that is absorbent. The metal tubing is also connected to another piece of equipment. This piece of equipment is the fin. The fin is a type of coating that allows it to take in solar energy while also prevent heat from being lost. The fin is the key component in an evacuated-tube solar collector system that keeps your water consistently hot.
#2 Flat-Plate Collector
This type of collector looks like a large box on the outside. These large boxes are insulated so that they are weatherproof and will not be affected by changes in the outside temperature. The box is made out of glazed layers of plates. These glazed layers of plates are absorber plates that help keep the solar energy inside of the large box. In addition to glazed plates, there are also some unglazed plates inside of the box as well. These plates also help keep the solar energy inside and prevent energy from seeping out of the box.
#3 Integral Collector-Storage Systems
This type of storage system is often shortened down to the acronym, ICS. This type of system contains tubs or tanks inside of a box that is both insulated and glazed. The insulation and the glaze prevent the pipes from freezing during the colder months of the year. Inside of these boxes cold water is heated by running through the solar collector for your system. Once the water is heated up, the water is stored inside of a heater inside of the box. This storage tank is generally really large, in order to ensure that you have hot water even when new solar energy is not being generated. Water is drawn out of the storage tank for your household needs.
All three of the solar collectors described above will help keep your water warm; talk to your plumber about which of the three solar collectors will work the best inside of your home and for your water needs. For more information, talk to a professional heating contractor.