In a previous article I spoke about how I was convinced that it would be more economical and efficient for me to install a solar power system for heating my water instead of a system that would generate my electricity. Here is a brief explanation of the water heating system I eventually got and why it is more efficient for me.
The system for heating water that I had installed was a new system of Nordic design. It consists of a large cylindrical water tank with a series of 24 black glass tubes coming out of it. The water in the tubes gets super heated and the hot water then rises naturally up the tubes without the need for any electrical pumps and enters into the tank, the tube is then replenished by the colder water at the bottom of the tank and is heated again, and so it goes on.
So I have a large cylindrical tank of hot water on my roof… but this is NOT where my hot water comes from. There is a cold water supply that goes into the tank through a copper tube which spirals around inside the tank of hot water… the water in the tank gets so hot that it heats up the copper pipe and by the time the water comes out of the other end of the copper pipe it is literally boiling hot. It gets so hot that I had to have a mixer valve installed which makes sure that if the water is more that 60 degrees Centigrade that it gets mixed with cold water limiting it to a maximum temperature so we don’t get scalded.
The beauty of this system is that it doesn’t really matter how much water you run through the tank because it will not cool down very fast. You are not limited to one tank of water as with other solar power systems… I have seemingly unlimited hot water on tap 24 hours a day. I have drawn several bath tubs at night one after the other and still had boiling hot water to do the washing up after.
What’s more, because of the ecological design of this system, the water tank remains heated even on rainy days. It is heated by the radiation from the sun more than its heat. The only time it doesn’t heat up is when it is foggy but even then, the tank remains hot for several days. I have yet to be a day without hot water.
I was told that with the saving I would make on my fuel bills that I would be able to pay for the solar panel in about 4 or 5 years. I calculated how much I really am saving and I now know that my solar power system will have paid for itself completely within only 2 years from the time of installing it.