What Size Should My Solar Water Heater Be?

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You should decide on the size of your hot water heating system with the advice of a solar professional. Here are the two primary considerations when sizing your system.

Solar Collector Size

The conventional estimates for surface area of solar collectors are as follows:

  • 20 square feet of collector area for two family members
  • 8 square feet for each additional household member in the U.S. Sun Belt region or
  • 12-14 square feet for each additional household member in the northern U.S.

Storage Tank Size

In general, an active water heating system requires 1.5 gallons of storage per square foot of collector. Some specialists suggest installing an even larger storage tank – about 2 gallons per 1 square foot of collector – in very warm, sunny climates. The more tank space, the less likely the system is to overheat when demand for hot water is low.

water-system-sizeThis water heater size chart is an approximate guide to choosing the right collector area and tank capacity. Households using a lot of hot water – for example, for spas or dishwashers – should consider the next largest system size.

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