Solar Water Heaters: Factors to Consider before Installing One

1 September 2015
 Categories: , Blog

When you are thinking about replacing your current water heater with a solar model, you need to consider a few factors. In many cases, considering these aspects and gathering additional information can help you determine if a solar water heater is a good option for your home.

Solar Collection

First, you will need to consider which method you prefer for collecting sunlight.  Flat plates are the most common method for collecting sunlight. These plates send the energy they collect to a battery pack that is used to power the water heater. This method is very similar to traditional panels that people use when adding solar power to their home.

The other option you can choose is evacuated tubes that collect sunlight and then uses it to heat the water. What makes this method different is that the water flows from inside your house, through the center of the tubes where it gets hot and then back into your home. Instead of relying on a battery to supply the water heater with energy, the tubes collect and distribute the heat needed to warm up your water.

Backup Energy Source

The next thing you need to consider the type of backup energy source you want for the water heater. It is important to have the system connected to an electrical or natural gas source, so that if something should happen, such as a broken solar panel, you can still have access to hot water.

Another situation that can cause you to need the backup power source is if multiple people use up the hot water during the nighttime. Since the water heater relies on sunlight to heat the water, you would need to wait until the next day to have hot water. Even if this is a rare occasion, it is still a good idea to have the water heater hooked up to an alternative power source for emergencies.


Unlike a traditional water heater, you may require the assistance of two companies to install a solar water heater. For example, if the plumber you want to hire does not have experience with installing the solar portions, then it is best to have a separate company handle this part of the installation process.

As for the rest of the installation process, most plumbers can place the tank and hook up the water line for you. The plumber can also test the system to make sure it is receiving power from the solar panels or tubes, so you can have hot water when you want it.

Solar powered water heaters are a good option when you want a green option for heating your water. However, before choosing this model type, it is best to gather additional information and consult a plumber like Brother's Plumbing in your area. The plumber can give you the pros and cons of the system and help install it if you choose this option.