Is a Solar Water Heater Right for Your Home?

Everyone loves the idea of saving energy and lowering your utility bills, and a great place to start is with home water heaters. Rather than settling for inefficient water tank heaters, Georgia homeowners now can choose from tankless water heaters, heat pumps and, in certain cases, solar-powered systems. A solar water heater will not work for every home, so consider the issues involved before you set your heart on this green option.

Why Solar Power Is Attractive

If you are wondering why solar power is attracting so much attention, it helps to understand the impact of water heating costs on your budget. Water heating costs most families over $500 per year, or about 18 percent of annual utility costs. Even with the higher upfront cost of solar panel installation, federal tax credits (up to 30 percent, available until 2016) and savings of 50 percent over energy costs of gas and electric heaters make them appealing for the long term.

When energy costs are low, they are never less expensive than using the sun as a source of power. In addition, there is nothing greener than using solar power to heat water. Aside from emissions created during material manufacturing, there are no greenhouse emissions related to solar power use.

Sizing up a Solar Water Heater

Solar-powered water heaters require certain conditions. Start by calculating how much you spend on heating water every year so you have a number to compare. Factor in equipment and installation costs while projecting your family’s energy bills for the coming decades. You also need to know if your home is capable of attracting enough sun to heat your family’s water needs. Homes facing south without tall trees surrounding the property work best.

Even when you have the right conditions for solar systems, you need a backup system for periods when sunlight is scarce. Most systems include a storage tank that will be heated by gas or electricity when the sun cannot supply power. Other factors include the fuel you use as a secondary heat source, the amount of space on your roof available for solar panels, and where you will fit the water storage tank. Roofs that need to be replaced in the coming years are a bad choice for solar panels.

In the end, deciding whether a solar water heater is right for your home involves a good deal of research and an inspection of your property. If you are ready to explore your options in more efficient water heaters, contact Reliable for a home assessment to find out what is best for your family.

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