Are Solar Hot Water Heaters Worth It?

Over the past few years, solar hot water heaters have become increasingly popular. Water heating in this way has been practiced for centuries. For a long time, people have been heating water in barrels or other containers directly under the sun.

Nowadays, solar panels allow efficient conversion of this energy into heat. They allow you to provide the house with hot water and sometimes serve to heat the house. Solar energy is a renewable source. In addition, it is completely free, which allows you to save significantly on utility charges. Furthermore, this type of energy has no negative impact on the environment.

Are Solar Hot Water Heaters Worth It

Operating principle

Solar hot water heaters work as follows. The heat transfer medium heated by the sun enters the heat exchanger located in the storage tank. Most often, tank batteries are used with two heat exchangers made of copper. This material has good thermal conductivity. This design makes it possible to apply heated water not only for domestic purposes but also for heating.

Due to natural convection, hot water rises, and cold water flows down. The integrated sensor adjusts the temperature in the device and reacts to its change. Thus, you don’t need to control the operation of the helios systems.

On cloudy days, when sunlight is not enough for heating, the main heating system begins to work. On hot days, when the water is heated by the sun too quickly, the expansion tank takes the excess heat carrier. It is the most effective way to heat water with the sun in countries with a warm climate, where there are many clear days in the year.

Helio System Features

In developed countries, almost every home has solar panels. They are used as an additional water heating system. They are easily connected to the main system to save on other resources. This reduces the use of gas or coal to 60%.

You can install an helio system to ensure the heating of water from the sun with your own hands, but it is better to entrust this work to specialists. Aion is engaged in the installation and maintenance of solar panels for solar hot water heaters. Most often, solar panels are installed on the roof of the house. For solar collector for heating to be effective, it is necessary to carefully calculate the slope angle of the skate, the angle of sunlight, the number of clear days in the year, and much more. On this basis, the location of collectors, their number, and their area are selected.

Solar hot water heaters have the following advantages:

  • relatively simple construction;
  • high level of reliability;
  • year-round operation;
  • significant savings in electrical energy costs;
  • there is no need to issue a permit for the installation of the unit;
  • small weight of the construction;
  • autonomous operation mode.

Despite numerous advantages, it is also worth noting some minor shortcomings:

  • equipment cost is high enough;
  • the effectiveness of the equipment depends largely on the climatic region and the season;
  • precipitation in the form of hail and snow negatively affects the condition of the equipment and its performance.

Thanks to the significant advantages of the solar water heating system, its popularity increases every day.

Varieties of solar hot water heaters

The range of solar water heaters impresses with its diversity. First of all, solar water heaters differ in the way of heat water:

Direct heating

In this case, a one-loop system is used. The solar hot water heater is connected to the tank using pipes through which water moves by natural circulation. The system is recharged with cold water as it is consumed heated;

Indirect heating

A two-loop system is used: a coolant circulates in the water heater system, and a capacitor is installed in the tank of the storage tank, on which the liquid circulating in the closed circuit of the heater transfers the energy to water. Water, in turn, circulates in the consumer circuit.

In addition, solar water heaters differ in the method of water circulation:

  • natural – the movement of water occurs due to the temperature difference between the water heater and the user;
  • forced – the movement of water occurs due to a circulation pump.

In terms of design, solar hot water heaters are:


Flat is used in systems with direct and indirect water heating. In this case, the installation consists of a carrier with a thermal insulation device, a framework, and a device for absorbing solar energy (absorber). Copper tubes are used as an absorber, and the exterior of the frame is covered with glass. This type of design is most commonly compared to others;


A vacuum is used in systems with indirect water heating. The basis of this structure is a vacuum pipe consisting of two tubes of different diameters, placed one into the other with a vacuum gap between them.

Several tubes are placed in a single housing, and their upper parts are placed in a single unit, through which water from an external source circulates. The sunlight falls on the outer tubes, which are absorbers. In copper tubes of smaller diameter, a special liquid is heated, which begins to evaporate when heated. The steam rises up and transfers its energy to circulating water, after which it condenses and flows down.


Solar hot water heaters are an effective way to provide the house with hot water, which allows you to save on the traditional water heating system. The widespread use of solar systems will also improve the environmental situation. In addition, alternative sources of energy save money as utility charges are significantly reduced. That is why lately, more and more people have chosen this way of obtaining heat energy.

A wide range of varieties allows you to choose the most suitable option that will meet all the requirements of users. So it’s safe to say that solar hot water heaters are worth it.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan