As a leading solar hot water plumber in Sydney, we often encounter a range of questions from homeowners considering the switch to a Solar Hot Water System (SHWS). Here, we’ve compiled some of the most common queries along with their detailed answers to aid your decision-making process.
How Does a Solar Hot Water System Work?
An SHWS works by converting sunlight into heat energy. This energy is used to heat water in a storage tank. The system typically includes solar collectors (flat plate or evacuated tubes), mounted on your roof to absorb sunlight, and a storage tank.
Is My Home Suitable for a Solar Hot Water System?
The most suitable homes for SHWS are those with a north-facing roof that receives good sunlight throughout the day. However, advancements in technology mean that even homes with east or west-facing roofs can benefit from a SHWS. A site assessment by a certified solar hot water plumber can determine your home’s suitability.
What Size System Do I Need?
The size of the SHWS you need depends on your household’s hot water demand, which is typically influenced by the number of occupants and your water usage habits. In Australia, the Clean Energy Council suggests a tank size of 100-300 liters for a small (1-2 people) household and a 300-360 liters tank for a larger (3-5 people) household.
Can a Solar Hot Water System Provide Enough Hot Water in Winter or on Cloudy Days?
While SHWS are more effective on sunny days, they can also provide hot water during winter or overcast days. Most systems have a booster (electric or gas) to ensure a hot water supply during these periods. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a well-chosen and correctly installed SHWS can meet up to 90% of your hot water needs over the year.
What Maintenance Does a Solar Hot Water System Require?
Like any other appliance, SHWS needs routine maintenance to ensure optimal operation and longevity. This includes regular system checks, professional servicing every 3-5 years, cleaning the solar collectors, checking the pressure relief valve, and flushing the system periodically. More details can be found in our blog post: “A Guide to Regular Maintenance of Your Solar Hot Water System“.
Are There Any Government Incentives Available?
Yes, the Australian government offers incentives for installing renewable energy systems, including SHWS. The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) offers Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) that can be exchanged for a cash rebate when installing an eligible SHWS.
How Long Does a Solar Hot Water System Last?
The lifespan of a Solar Hot Water System varies based on factors such as the quality of the system, installation, usage, and maintenance. On average, you can expect a SHWS to last between 15 to 20 years, potentially longer with proper maintenance and care. Solar collectors often have a longer lifespan than storage tanks.
Can I Install a Solar Hot Water System Myself?
While DIY projects can be tempting, installing a SHWS involves complex plumbing and electrical work that should be undertaken by certified professionals. Incorrect installation can lead to decreased system efficiency, and damage, and may even void the manufacturer’s warranty. Always hire a licensed solar hot water plumber for safe and efficient installation.
What is the Difference Between Flat Plate Collectors and Evacuated Tubes?
Flat plate collectors and evacuated tubes are the two types of solar collectors used in SHWS. Flat plate collectors, the more traditional choice, consist of a dark flat-plate absorber that absorbs the sun’s heat. On the other hand, evacuated tubes contain a series of parallel glass tubes, each containing an absorber plate fused to a heat pipe. While both are effective, evacuated tubes are typically more efficient, particularly in colder climates, but they tend to be more expensive.
Will a Solar Hot Water System Add Value to My Home?
Absolutely! A Solar Hot Water System is an excellent way to increase the value of your home. According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, homes with solar energy systems sell for a premium compared to homes without. Buyers appreciate the reduced energy costs and environmental impact associated with SHWS.
The decision to switch to a Solar Hot Water System is a significant step towards energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. We hope that by answering these common questions, we’ve made your decision-making process a little easier. Remember, every home is unique, and a professional assessment is the best way to understand how a SHWS can be tailored to meet your specific needs.