Solar power panels can help you save money and energy. But did you know you can save more energy with solar hot water, too?
Solar hot water, also known as solar thermal systems (or solar thermal panels), use energy from the sun to heat water for domestic uses without the need for electricity. For homes and commercial operations that require heated water, a solar thermal system could be just the thing to help significantly trim monthly expenses.
Once you have a solar hot water system and are not paying for electricity to heat your water, let’s talk about saving even more energy and money. How can you do that? By using less hot water, of course!
1. Go with low-flow shower heads. A nice hot shower is relaxing, but let’s talk about saving water and energy! Today’s low-flow models are so efficient and advanced, you might not even believe you are saving money.
2. Reduce the thermostat on your hot water tank. Whether you have young children or not, turn down the maximum heat for your hot water. A few degrees lower will use significantly less energy over a month or a year.
3. Use hot water during off-peak periods. Demands for electricity, and hot water, are highest at the beginning and end of the day. If possible, delay your shower until mid-day (maybe go to work until noon, then exercise and shower afterward?). Set your dishwasher and washing machine on a delay setting, and wait until you arrive home in early evening to start your appliances.
Solar thermal systems generally work as follows: Sunlight heats glycol (an antifreeze solution) in the panels’ tubing. The tubing is connected to a hot water tank with a pump that circulates the glycol to heat the water throughout the system. As water is drained from your hot water tank, new solar hot water is replaced/pumped into the tank.
Solar thermal panels work, regardless of whether you have bright sunlight. Even a cloudy day offers enough light to create heat for a solar hot water system!