What are the benefits of solar water heaters?

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The mechanical engineers at Wisconsin’s Solar Energy Laboratory University have shown through their studies that an average four-person household with an electric water heater needs about 6,400 KW hours of electricity every year to heat their water. Let’s assume that the electricity is produced by a power plant with an efficiency of around 30%, it means that the average electric water heater is responsible for approximately eight tons of CO2 annually; that is almost double that emitted by a typical modern automobile.

Conventional water heaters pollute environment

It may seem surprising but analysts believe that the annual total CO2 produced by household water heaters throughout North America is roughly equal to that produced by all of the light trucks and cars driving around the continent.

Now, let’s look at this through another point of view; If half of all households used solar water heaters, the reduction in CO2 emissions would be the same as doubling the fuel-efficiency of all cars.

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The economical choice is solar water heaters

One of the great reasons to switch to solar water heaters is FINANCIAL. As per the EESI, residential solar water heaters cost around $2500, compared to $150 to $450 for electric and gas heaters. With savings in electricity or natural gas, the investment in solar water heaters gets covered within four to eight years. Solar water heater systems have a working life of approximately 40 years, the same as conventional systems. So, after that investment gets covered, zero energy cost essentially means having free hot water for years to come.

You may get amazed to learn that in the United States, the federal government offers homeowners tax credits of up to 30 % of the cost of setting up a solar water heater. The credit is not available for hot tub or swimming pool heaters, and the solar water heating system must be certified by the Certification Corporation and Solar Rating.

Things to know before installing a solar water heater

According to the United States Department of Energy’s, zoning and building codes relating to the installation of solar water heater systems usually reside at the local level. So, customers should make sure to research the standards and hire a certified solar heater installer familiar with local requirements.

Homeowners beware: Most municipalities require a building permit for the installation of a solar water heater system onto an existing house.

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