Solar water heating systems for homes have two main parts: solar collectors and storage tanks. First, heat from the solar collector warms either water or, in colder climates, a heat-transfer fluid. The hot fluid flows to a storage tank. If the water is not hot enough, it is heated by a regular water heater before use. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active and passive.
Active Solar Water Heating
These systems have pumps to circulate heat transfer fluid through the solar hot water heater. Learn about active solar water heating for your home.
Passive Water Heating
Cheaper but less efficient than active systems, passive water heating systems rely on gravity and to circulate the water or heat transfer fluid. Learn about passive solar hot water heating for your home.
A solar water heating system generally requires a backup system for days without much sun and periods of increased demand. Many solar heating systems for homes have a built-in backup. Often, your existing hot water storage system can be integrated into the solar thermal system. Sometimes, however, the addition of an on-demand backup water heater makes the most sense.