How Much Energy Does a Solar Water Heater Actually Save?

While it’s great to see more and more people becoming environmentally conscious, environmental awareness doesn’t necessarily translate to decreased energy consumption. Case in point: The increasing popularity of solar water heaters (also known as solar pool heaters or just solar swimmers). After all, not everyone has the time or the means to run an entirely eco-friendly household. So how much energy does a solar water heater actually save? Let’s take a look.

Energy Consumption Of A Regular Water Heater

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, an average residential water heater consumes about 40-50 watts of energy per day, depending on the model. For a typical home with four adults, that’s about 1,600-2,000 kWh per year (1.6-2.0 kw/day). For commercial buildings, it’s usually around 15-25 kWh/day (0.15-0.25 kw/hour). So in terms of electricity consumption, a water heater is quite the energy hog. Not good, considering that not even 10% of the year has passed (winter!). For a household, this could translate to an energy bill of about $125 per year (about $25/mo). For commercial buildings, it’s around $225 per year (about $50/mo). Not cool. Not by a long shot.

The Unexpected Truth About Solar Water Heaters

With all the doom and gloom surrounding global climate change and its devastating effects on the planet, it’s no wonder that people are looking for alternative energy sources. After all, what’s the point in saving the environment if you’re making the same mess in the form of increased electricity bills? In recent years, solar water heaters have risen in popularity as more and more people have sought greener—and cheaper—solutions to their home heating needs. In fact, according to a 2016 report from the NPD group, the global market share for solar water heaters was about 2% last year—and that’s not including domestic installations. To put that in perspective, the NPD research group notes that the share of tankless water heaters (which are also considered to be a form of solar heater) was about 20% in 2015. So in other words, the interest in solar water heaters is clearly here to stay.

One of the biggest draws of solar water heaters is the fact that they are highly efficient at converting solar energy into heat, as opposed to the regular water heaters whose main function is to heat water to a certain temperature. While regular water heaters work on a principle of thermal inertia, meaning that the temperature stays roughly the same once you turn the heater on, solar water heaters are temperature-sensitive and require constant monitoring by the user. This makes them a little more complex than their regular counterparts, but also ensures that you’re getting peak performance every time you use the device. For those reasons and more, you might want to consider a solar water heater as a viable alternative to your regular home heater.

The Rise Of Clean Energy

For years, the conventional energy sources (fossil fuels) that we’ve been fed by the electricity companies have been the bane of the environment. From an increased carbon footprint to water wastage to toxic chemical waste, conventional energy is never a good thing to have around when it comes to preserving our natural resources. Fortunately, times are changing and more and more people are seeking out cleaner and greener energy sources. One of the biggest changes happening today is the increased support for cleaner biofuels (ethanol, for example). It used to be that gasoline was the primary source of energy for cars—but today, it’s the smart, eco-friendly option to drive on.

While more and more people are seeking alternatives to conventional sources of energy, they still need to use electricity to power their homes. As a result, houses are still a major consumer of energy, especially in the winter where heating accounts for about 70% of your home’s energy use. This is why a solar-powered option like a solar water heater could be a worthwhile alternative. Not only are they highly efficient at converting the energy from the sun, but they also prevent any carbon footprint caused by the conventional energy source, fossil fuels. Most solar water heaters also come with a warranty that provides peace of mind in the event that something goes wrong, so you can be sure that you’re getting quality goods that have been thoroughly checked before leaving the factory.

The Cost Of Ownership

Another major draw of solar water heaters is the fact that they are relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain. This is largely thanks to the fact that they don’t require much in the way of maintenance. In terms of solar water heaters, this means that they don’t need to be cleaned or serviced regularly, which in turn lowers the overall cost of ownership.

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