What Happens When Solar Energy Heats Water?

how solar water heater works

Do you like taking hot showers? Every day, we use hot water in our home to take a shower, do laundry, or wash our dishes. Solar water heaters utilize the sun’s energy to warm the water in your house. There are several traditional water heating systems, but Solar Water Heating is extraordinary and, in my opinion, the most acceptable option.

As we all know, solar energy has been gaining popularity as a sustainable form of energy. Because of the ongoing global environmental issues, people have been more conscious of their environmental impacts and are opting for more environmentally friendly alternatives. In this scenario, solar energy utilization has been a blessing to all, including our planet. 

While solar energy has many applications in our daily lives, its ability to heat the water is considered the most useful to heat the water. Many of you already know that when solar energy heats a body of water, the water gets heated, and it evaporates. Let’s find out the science behind the process and how it is utilized in our daily life as a renewable source of energy

What is Solar Energy And Its Advantages?

“The energy generated from the sun gathered for human use is solar energy,” states National Geographic. Because it is readily available, renewable, and eco-friendly, its use in our daily life looks enticing. 

Not only that, but its benefits are limitless; nonetheless, we have mentioned a few of them below:

  • Reduces our electricity bills as its natural source of energy and is very convenient.
  • Wide range of applications, including driving automobiles and running factories.
  • Cost-effective as it is renewable, it also does not impact nature.
  • Effortless and easy to use is less harmful to other living beings.

Now that we’ve learned about solar energy and its benefits, let’s look at how it makes our lives simpler by heating bodies of water.

Solar Water Heaters

Solar Water Heater
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Solar energy heats our water bodies providing us with warm water. However, we require a solar water heater device to utilize this warm water for domestic, commercial, or industrial needs. Who does not love to enjoy a warm shower in the morning or after having a tiring day at work? 

So, we must say, heating water is one of the most common and necessary uses of solar energy in today’s world. These solar energy-powered water heating systems are cost-effective and can be used in almost all climatic conditions.

These water heaters can be categorized into two different types;

Direct Circulation System: This type of solar water heater is most commonly used in standard or warm climatic conditions. The pumps here move water through the collectors and into our residential and commercial buildings.

Indirect Circulation System: This type of solar water heater is typically utilized in locations with severely cold climates. Pumps circulate a non-freezing heat transfer fluid via collectors and a heat exchanger in this system. This system warms the water, which subsequently flows into our residential and commercial buildings.

Its Components and Working Mechanism

The solar water heaters consist of various components to function efficiently. They include;

  • Collectors to collect the solar energy
  • Tubes, through which the water flows by absorbing the heat from solar energy and warms up.
  • storage tank for the storage of hot water.

The solar water heater turns light into heat by absorbing it through a collector on the roof. It uses a circulating pump to transfer the heat to a water tank. The thermal regulator triggers this exchange, but only when the collector is hotter than the water in the tank. 

This interchange prevents the circulating pumps from using electricity needlessly. Conversely, it also prevents overheating. The collectors’ efficiency is at its highest at midday, in summer, when the sky is cloudless, and when the collectors face south.

When there isn’t enough sunshine, the water is warmed, and a backup mechanism takes over to get the temperature up to the desired level. Therefore, we can use this system to produce hot water at a constant temperature throughout the year without emitting any CO2. Solar water heaters are classified based on the kind of collector and circulation system used. 

The Benefits And Drawbacks of Solar Water Heaters

Are you still in a dilemma? Why don’t we look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of solar water?

Benefits Drawbacks
Powered by free or renewable energy sources Affected by climatic conditions as it requires direct sunlight.
Environmentally friendly. Requires ample space.
Saves water heating costs. High installation charge.
Highly efficient. Can only use it to heat the water.
Low carbon footprint. Non-functional on cloudy, rainy, or foggy days.

 

So, with this, it is undeniable that solar water heaters have many advantages. But as mentioned above, nothing comes with only pros. If you care about your carbon trace on the planet and think the high installation cost is worth all the benefits they provide, then you should go for solar water heaters.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the commonly asked questions about the Solar Water heaters.

Cost of solar water heater?

A variety of factors determines the solar water heater’s cost. However, an average solar water heater for residential purposes is somewhere around $3000-$4000.

Are the solar water heaters only suitable to be installed on the roof?

No, while rooftops are the most popular solar water heater installation, they may also be installed on the ground or the walls. The solar heating system may thus be placed in any open space, but its position in the south is a must.

What will happen in the absence of sun or on cloudy or rainy days?

If the weather is entirely cloudy and no sunlight is penetrated, unfortunately, the solar water heaters cannot heat the water. But, if the weather is partially murky, then the water will heat to some extent.

How durable are the solar water heaters?

The most important factor of a solar water heater is its durability. A typical water heater has a lifespan of 25 to 20 years. Not to mention that its durability entirely depends on how we maintain our solar heaters.

What is the maintenance cost of solar water heaters?

Solar water heaters, in general, do not need to be serviced regularly. However, water leaks may occur occasionally and may be repaired at a bit of cost. Furthermore, if there is any physical damage to the heating system, it might be pretty costly. 

My solar tube is broken. Will my system still work?

If the solar tube of the heater is broken, then the system will work, but its efficiency may decrease. So, please consider replacing the pipes.

For how long the heated water stays warm in the tank?

With the help of an insulated storage tank, the heated water in the tank remains warm for approximately 24 hours.

Final words

In conclusion, when solar energy heats a body of water in a container, it evaporates and releases heat energy. The heat energy is later passed on to the waters, which is how the water gets heated. The warm water you have in your shower and kitchen to clean vegetables and do the laundry comes from the solar water heater unless you use the other conventional heaters. 

The Solar water heater has its advantages in the long run and is practical. Many countries have started giving incentives to the citizens who opt for solar energy and actively participate in controlling climate change.