Water Heater in closet with heat pump
view of hot water panels on the small roof over the
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
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
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.