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The basic principle of a solar water heater is using a container of water warmed by the sun to heat water you use indoors. The workings of a solar water heater vary depending on the type of system you select for your home in Mokena, IL. This guide explains how these heaters operate and what types are available.

How Does a Solar Water Heater Work?

Firstly, the original solar water heater held water heated by the sun in a black metal container. The heated water traveled through a pipe and into a home’s hot water system. The newer solar water heater works about the same, but it has become more sophisticated over the years.

New additions to solar water heaters include storage containers, collection devices and pumps. Additions to the hot water system allow for the transfer of more of the sun’s energy, the capture of more energy and the generation of more hot water. The heated water goes into the metal cylinder-style water heater, which contains a backup of solar-heated water for cloudy days.

Two Main Categories of Solar Water Heaters

Active and passive are the two main categories of solar water heaters. An active heater uses pumps to move the warmed water through your pipes. A passive one allows your system to accept the naturally rising warmed water.

Active systems use either direct or indirect circulation to move the water. Direct systems use pumps to move the water, and indirect systems use non-freezing liquid to heat water in the collectors. Passive systems are cheaper, but they don’t move the heated water through your home as fast.

Other Types of Collectors and Systems

Finally, batch collectors or integrated collector-storage systems heat the water within the tank and contain it in the collector until you need hot water. Flat-plate collectors use copper tubes attached to flat absorber plates. Evacuated tube collectors come in glass or metal and are the most efficient collectors on the market.

A direct system uses solar collectors to heat the water and is usually tankless. Another type of active system is a forced-circulation system that moves the heated water with valves, controllers and electric pumps.

Your one-tank system uses a backup heater or solar storage tank combination. Your two-tank system uses a solar water heater to warm the water and allows it to travel to your conventional water heater. If you or your neighbors need water heater installation or repairs by our experts, call Climate Master Mechanical Contractors, Inc. to schedule an appointment.

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