How Do Solar Hot Water Heaters Work

The idea of renewable energy is coming to the fore more often today. That’s why solar water heaters will continue being a huge hit. But you may not know the whole concept of the solar water heater. Breaking down the mechanics of the heater is something that, if you aren’t an engineer, can be hard. Below, though, is a breakdown of how a solar water heater works – in words, you can easily understand. There are different types of solar water heaters, and each one works differently.


These are the heaters that can also be described as indirect water heaters. They use the non-freezing liquid to transfer heat from the direct sun to the water tank with the system. What happens is the sun’s thermal energy will heat the fluid, which is the water collector. After that, the fluid passes through the heat exchanger in the storage tank. That will then transfer heat from the exchanger to the water in the storage tank. These water heating systems work well in freezing conditions.


This one is a more direct one circulating the water through water collectors as opposed to the previous system. When the water is circulated through the water collectors, it is then heated by the sun. The heated water is then stored in the hot water systems tank. After the heating and storing process, the heated water will then be used directly. It can also be sent to a tankless water heater. So if you are in a climate that pretty much rarely freezes, you need to have a rugged look at this heater.

Active Systems

The next one is the active or forced circulation solar water heating system. When you have this type of water heater, you need to know that it uses electric pumps. It uses the pump, coupled with valves and a controller, to move the water from the collectors. When the water is moved from the collector, it is taken to the storage tank. This is why the pump is quite crucial, as it’s a challenge to move the water without using a pump. For most parts of the US, this is what most people use as their solar water heater.


The last type is the passive water heating system. This is the exact opposite of the active solar water heating system. With this type of water heater, there’s no need for pumps – no forced circulation here. Here only natural conventions are the ones that are used to move the water from the collector to the storage water tanks. For example, you can have the circulator highly raised so that the water moves quickly. All these transfers of water from the collector to the tank happens while it heats up.

What To Know About Solar Hot Water Heaters

Solar water heaters aren’t the same, and they all operate in different capacities. These are the various types of solar heating systems and how each one of them works. When choosing, you need to find one that also fits the climate you’re in, as different heaters favor different weather conditions.

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