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Solar Water Heaters: Frequently Asked Questions

Solar Water Heater
If you're upgrading your current water heater, you might be considering installing a solar water heating system. You might be surprised to learn that solar power was first discovered in the 1870s, and the first residential solar panels were created in 1973. Solar technology has come a long way since then, and it now allows you to provide your family with an environmentally-friendly source of hot water.

Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions you might have about solar powered water heaters.

What Are the Benefits of a Solar Water Heater?

Before investing in a solar water heater system, chances are you're wondering if the potential benefits are worth the installation cost. Here are just a few of the many benefits of choosing a solar water heater:
  • Lower energy bills. The installation cost will be quickly recovered because of the drastic reduction in energy bills. Even during a Michigan winter, you will still save money on heating your water.
  • Reduction in Use of Fossil Fuels. Solar energy is clean and free. This will allow you to reduce your consumption of electricity and fossil fuels, which is an amazing way to help Mother Nature.
  • Smart investment. If you're planning on selling your home in the future, the addition of solar energy is both attractive to potential buyers and will help increase the value of your home.
The average solar water heater will last longer than most gas and electric heaters. Additionally, when you use a solar heating system in conjunction with a gas and electric water heater, the solar heater will help reduce the strain on the traditional models, which will help increase their lifespan.

Will A Solar Water Heater Replace My Gas or Electric Model?

The winters in Michigan can be brutal, and some days you might feel like you don't see the sunlight for more than a few minutes. Solar panels rely on sunlight to run, which is why the unit cannot completely replace your gas or electric model. However, just because you need to maintain your gas or electric water heater doesn't mean you cannot reap all the benefits of solar energy.

Even on overcast days, the solar panels are still working hard to collect energy to supplement your traditional water heater.

Will the Michigan Winters Damage My Solar Water Heater System?

Don't worry about your solar panels during the winter. Residential solar panels are strong and built to withstand the weight of snow. Additionally, the panels are tilted, and most snow will slide off. If snow builds up, specialized tools are available that will allow a professional or homeowner to quickly clean off the panels.

Many homeowners will find their solar panels are more efficient in winter. This is because snow is reflective and like any other type of electronics, solar panels thrive in the cooler temperatures.

Will Hard Water Damage My Solar Water Panels?

An estimated 90 percent of homes feature hard water. If you are amongst this majority, you might assume that the calcium and limescale buildup associated with hard water will make it impossible for you to enjoy the benefits of solar energy. You can still install a solar water heater if you have hard water. Having the system professionally inspected and flushed at least twice a year is the simplest way for you to protect your system from limescale buildup.

If you're considering upgrading to a solar water heater, you will likely have several questions about this innovative system, including whether it is viable during the cold Michigan winters. If you have any more questions or want to take advantage of these systems, contact the professionals at Mike's Plumbing.