There’s nothing as annoying and chilling as running out of hot water in the middle of your bath. Thankfully, such occurrences are fewer and far between thanks to more modern heating methods. One of them is a solar hot water system.

How it Works

A solar system works by capturing heat using the sun’s rays, using that heat to heat water and transporting that water to a storage tank where it will be used.

The types of solar collectors used in a solar heating system are very important. There are two types; flat plate collectors and evacuated tubes. Flat plates are best used when the tank is stored on the roof, while the tubes are suited for areas that are prone to becoming extremely cold and frosty.

Flat plate collectors have copper wires that run through them, and when the sun’s rays hits the plates, these wires heat up, in turn heating up the water passing through. The heated water then finds its way to the storage tank through thermo-siphoning.

Evacuated tube collectors are made out of glass tubes that are glued together to create a vacuum in between. In the center of the tube there is a copper pipe that is connected to a pump which pumps water into the tank.

Out of the two, the evacuation tubes are better because of the simple fact that even when there is no direct sunlight, the tubes can still draw heat from the air and use it to heat the water. Who would want to be stuck with a solar system that was limited to the sun’s availability? Evacuation tubes also tend to be cheaper than flat plate collectors and more durable too.

The storage tanks consist of hot water at the top and cold water at the bottom. The hot water is drawn into the house for use, while the cold water is passed through the copper wires for heating. The water will achieve a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius in order to kill bacteria, but it will then be reduced to 45 degrees Celsius as this is the best temperature.

Gas Boosters

What happens during the times when there is too much cloud cover and not enough sunlight to provide hot water? This is where a gas booster comes in. A gas booster is meant to step in when there is not enough sunlight. It works by using a gas burner that can be found either inside the tank, or beneath it.

Boosters are quite useful as they are something of a backup plan in case there is too much cloud cover. There are both automatic and manual ones. Automatic ones work by switching on a thermostat which determines the water temperature in the tank. If it is too low, then the booster will automatically be switched on in order to heat the water.

If you are not sure on the brand of booster to choose for your system, you could always consult your plumber. He or she will help you choose the most suitable one for you.