Solar Hot Water Heating
Would it surprise you to learn that Minnesota has more annual solar energy potential than Houston, Texas and nearly as much as Miami, Florida?
First Things First
The best savings in hot water come from no cost or low cost options. Before you tackle solar hot water, take these steps:
• Turn the thermostat down. Many water heaters are set to between 140 and 180°F (60 and 82°C). See how low you can go. Try 125°F (52°C) for starters. A hot tub is 106°F (41°C). How much hotter do you need?
• Wrap the water heater with insulation. Insulated water heater “blankets” are usually available where water heaters are sold. (Be careful with natural gas or propane fired water tanks. They use an open flame to heat the water. You need to provide a space for air at the bottom of the tank, and at the top where the flue exits the tank. Safety comes before efficiency!)
• Fix those drips. They may not look like much, but they are a constant and persistent drain on your water heating load, and they waste water too.
• Use flow restrictors and faucet aerators to reduce your hot water consumption.
• Find other ways to use less hot water. Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.
• Insulate your hot water pipes.