Solar Heating: How Does it Work?

Curious about the alternative ways to get hot water in your home? Heat in your home? A solar water heater may be the cost-effective solution you are looking for. Not only can they be used in any climate- their main power source (the sun) is entirely free!

So you, the homeowner, only have to speak to one person, saving you time and headaches. At Ken Spears Construction we offer start-to-finish remodeling in Northern Illinois from planning and designing, all the way to the finished product. Here’s how Ken Spears Construction’s design-build process works:

How Do Solar Water Heaters Work? 

Solar water heaters operate in two ways: through a direct system or an indirect system. Regardless of which method you use, most systems rely on pipes and electronic pumps to move water or transfer liquid.

Direct System: Often the simplest (and most effective) type of solar hot water system, a direct system warms water through rooftop solar collectors. These collectors are then circulated via pipes. Although often the most effective option, direct, or (open-loop) systems are susceptible to freeze damage.

Indirect System: An indirect system, also known as a ‘closed loop’ system, relies on heat transfer liquid. This liquid is heated in the solar collectors and then transferred to a storage tank. From there, a heat exchanger inside the tank heats the water. Indirect water heaters are designed for frost prone climates. An indirect heating system does not rely on frost valves, therefore having better frost protection during those chilly Illinois winters. 

Can You Heat Your Home with Solar Water?

You can heat your home with solar water by one of two ways: through radiant floor heat, or by passing heat through a furnace fan. Radiant floor heating acts in a similar way as a solar water heater, but heat is circulated through hoses in the floor. This system gives off instant heat, but when it gets too hot, it can take a while to cool. A fan system is often the less expensive way to go and can be used to warm rooms quickly.

How Much Do Solar Water Heaters Cost?

Solar water heaters typically cost around $8,000-$10,000 to install and operate. Keep in mind the price often depends on the complexity of the system, the type of solar water heater you choose to install, and the size of the system.

Read More: Estimating the Cost and Energy Efficiency of a Solar Water Heater

For more information on solar heating in Illinois, visit the Illinois Solar Energy Association. To calculate solar panel savings in your neighborhood, click here.Want to learn more about solar water heaters? We invite you to get in touch with your team. Click here to send us a question.

Greg Spears

Greg is the President as well as the production coordinator for Ken Spears Construction and loves helping others improve their lives and space with modern, beautiful spaces. Some of his favorite home construction memories include all of the different people he’s gotten to work with throughout the years.

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