Solar Water Heater
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Solar Water Heater in closet with heat pump

view of hot water panels on the small roof over the patio.



Carey decided the first step to implement her green dream for her house would be the addition of a solar water heater.  After space heating, water heating is typically the largest energy user in the home.  Pre-heating water with solar would give her a giant first step.

Glycol runs in a pipe to the roof panels to collect the heat and brings it back to a 120-gallon water heater tank. The water in the tank collects heat from the glycol in the pipe, and there is an electric element to finish the job when the sun is not enough. Cold water mixes in as necessary, and a regular thermostat functions so that the hot tap water is at the temperature that was set, just like from a regular water heater.

The steam-back system uses glycol for efficient heat collection, no risk of freezing, and when it gets too hot, it is forced back into an auxiliary tank to protect the glycol from degradation. This system only needs to have the glycol changed once every 13 years instead of every 3 years in an older glycol system without the steam-back modification.

 In Carey's case, due to the very tight physical constraints of her closet, she would go ahead and replace her old 80% efficient gas furnace with a modern electric heat pump furnace.  Replacing it at the time of the other construction would insure both units would fit in the closet.

 The solar water heater panels are shown on the photo to the left. They are located on the small roof overhang above the covered porch in the back of the house.  These two panels collect solar heat energy to produce hot water for showers for Carey and her daughters, laundry, and dishwashing.




blow up of panels




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