If you want to heat your home using solar energy, there are two different types of solar set-ups that you can use; either an active or a passive set-up. A passive set-up generally costs less than active solar water heating set-ups and still allows you to use solar power in your home. Here are the basics of how a passive solar water heating system works.
A Passive System Is Different Than An Active System
A passive system is different than an active solar water heating system in a number of ways. To start with, passive systems tend to be slightly more affordable to install upfront compared to active solar systems. They also tend to be longer-lasting as well, despite costing less, and are really reliable. However, passive systems are not always as energy-efficient as active solar water heating set-ups.
The equipment needed for a passive batch solar water heater include a solar panel as well as a batch collector, a solar water storage tank or back-up water heater, and supply lines into the tank and to the house.
How A Passive System Works
With a passive water heater system, energy is collected through a solar energy plate that you install outside of your home. The energy is then transferred into a batch collector. The collector stores water, which is heated up. The warm water that is heated up is then transferred into your solar storage tank, where all the hot water resides on top. The cold water inside of the collector is funneled into the cold water supply for your house. The cold water supply for your house is attached to both the batch collector and to the storage tank; the cold water supply is drawn off the bottom of the heated water. The hot water from your home is drawn from the top of the storage tank. It uses the basic principles of hot water rising and being lighter than cold water to regulate the system. This type of system is called a thermosyphon system. Thermosyphon systems are used in areas where you get freezing temperatures throughout the late fall, winter and early spring months.
Another type of passive weather system uses the integral collector-storage set-up. This type of set-up separates the hot and cold water from one another and is used used in warmer climates that don't experience freezing weather.
A passive solar water heating system will cost you up-front to install but should reduce the water heater portion of your energy costs for the long-term. It is a system that should eventually pay for itself. Talk to a plumber from a company like H.R. Stewart Inc. about how setting up a passive solar water heating system in your house would work.