denver-thermosiphon-solar-water-heaterColorado is known for its sunny weather, and now is the best time to put that sunlight to good use. Energy costs fluctuate constantly, while sunlight will always remain free, making solar water heating an excellent economic choice.

There are two types of solar water heaters: active and passive. Both rely on the sun to heat the water in your home, but what distinguishes the two is how the water is moved toward the sunlight. Active systems rely on a pump to manually move the water to the roof or solar collector, whereas a passive system does not. In this article we will be discussing passive solar water heaters. All Solar water heaters have two basic parts. These parts include an insulated storage tank and a solar collector. A solar collector is the unit where the water is moved to and heated by the sun. Solar collectors come in several varieties; however they all absorb the energy from sunlight and transfer that energy to the water or another heating medium. After the water is heated, it must be stored until it is used. An insulated storage tank is most commonly used. This tank closely resembles a tank type water heater, and performs many of the same functions.

Passive solar water heaters are slightly less efficient than the average active solar water heater. However, what a passive solar heating system lacks in efficiency it makes up for it in reliability and long life. Passive heaters are typically less costly than an active system as well.

Passive solar water heaters come in two varieties: integral collector storage (ICS), and thermosiphon (sometimes spelled “thermosyphon”) systems.

Integral collector storage systems keep the water storage tank located below the solar collector. Cold water flows into the solar collector, where it is heated by the sun, then drawn down into the storage tank below. Integral collector systems work best in areas where the outside temperature rarely falls below freezing. They are also best suited for households with daytime and evening hot water use.

The second type of passive solar water heater is the thermosiphon type. In contrast to integral collector storage systems, thermosiphon systems keep the storage tank located above the solar collector. How does this type work? The answer is due to the fact that cold water sinks and hot water rises. When the water is heated, it will move upward, into the tank, while the cold water will leave the bottom of the tank where it is heated by the solar collector below. This method moves the hot water into the tank and the cold water out without using a pump.

With every solar water heater, a backup heater is needed for very cloudy days or days when a large amount of water is required. This is most commonly done by a tank type water heater, but could also be done with a more efficient tankless water heater.

Call 303-421-2161 to reach YOUR Denver Plumbing Company: Blue Sky Plumbing.

We service Applewood, Cherry Hills, Arvada, Golden, Evergreen and the entire Metro Denver area.