Solar Water Heater Basics

Feb. 13, 2017 | by Chad Sanborn
Solar Water Heater Basics

For areas of the country such as California that are committed to reducing carbon emissions, solar water heaters are a great way to reduce environmental impact.

These are typically sophisticated systems, with solar collectors that heat water or a heat-transfer fluid and circulate it through a water storage tank. In many climates there is a need for a back up heat source when the sun may not be shining.

There are two types of systems, active and passive. Active systems have circulating pumps and controls, and passive systems do not.

Active systems are either direct or indirect circulation systems. In a direct circulation system, pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. These are a good option for climates where it rarely freezes.

In an indirect system, pumps circulate a freeze-resistant heat transfer fluid through the collector panel into the home.
The fluid absorbs heat in the solar panels and then transfers through a heat exchanger to the water that flows into a home. The heat transfer fluid does not come into direct contact with the water. The indirect systems are most suitable for frost-prone areas.

There are also two basic types of passive systems. The integral collector/storage system works in household with significant daytime and evening hot water needs, in climates that rarely experience freezing temperatures.

In a thermosyphon system, water flows through the pipes as warm water rises and cooler water sinks. The solar collector must be installed below the storage tank so the warm water will rise into the tank.

A key component of a solar hot water system is the storage tank. Bradford White offers a range of products designed for use with solar water heating systems for both active and passive systems.

Some of the options include dual heat exchanger designs that allow use of combination heat source systems that operate independently or at the same time.

Bradford White offers a variety of storage tanks and water heaters designed for use with a solar water heater.  If you're thinking about a solar water heater, talk with a local plumbing professional about designing a solar water heating system that's good for your home and the environment.

This blog was developed by Bradford White. All posts, sponsored and un-sponsored have been reviewed and approved by the Sustainable Community Media Editorial Team to ensure quality, relevance/usefulness and objectivity.

Topics: Heating & Cooling, Solar Power, Water Heaters

Companies: Bradford White Water Heaters

Chad Sanborn
Chad Sanborn is the Product Marketing Manager for Bradford White Water Heaters. He has been in the water heater industry for over 13 years, supporting the growth and development of Bradford White in various capacities. In 2001, Chad began his career in the production areas of Bradford White's Middleville, MI water heaters manufacturing facility. Using his hands-on product experience, Chad transitioned into the engineering department in 2007, where he expanded his knowledge and influence by working with the testing procedures and standards for residential and commercial water heaters. In 2011, Chad was promoted to the Sales and Marketing team, where he currently holds the position of Product Marketing Manager. In his current role, he manages all products for Bradford White Corporation and works collaboratively with the sales and engineering teams to develop Bradford White's short and long-term water heater product development and marketing strategies. Chad holds a bachelor’s of science degree in Business Management from Cornerstone University and is an active participant in many plumbing, engineering and manufacturing trade organizations. www

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