3 Ways to Maximise the Efficiency of a Residential Solar Hot Water System

7 October 2021
 Categories: , Blog


Solar hot water systems use heat from the sun to warm water for residential use. These systems are incredibly efficient, and they can lower your annual gas and electric bills. Solar water heaters are excellent choices for homes with a high or low demand for hot water. However, their efficiency relies on various factors. Therefore, if you are planning to install a solar hot water system, consider these tips to maximise the unit's efficiency.

Choose an evacuated tube collector system

There are two main types of solar hot water systems: flat plate units and evacuated tube collector units. With flat plate systems, both the heat collecting unit and the water tank are mounted on the roof. Flat plate units have no optical concentrator, a light bucket that focuses light on a small area to maximise output. The absence of this technology increases heat loss, which significantly lowers the efficiency of the water heater.

An evacuated tube collector comprises a panel of glass tubes that absorb solar radiation for heating. The collector is installed on the roof and the water tank on the ground. This solar hot water system offers the following benefits:

  • Since the tank isn't located on the roof, it does not affect the structure's visual appeal.
  • Evacuated tube collectors have an optical concentrator that boosts photovoltaics and maximises output.
  • The ability to focus light on a small area allows the unit to absorb radiation even in subzero temperatures.

An evacuated tube system is a costly investment, but it is more efficient than a flat plate unit. 

Choose a unit with a booster switch

If you live in an area that experiences freezing winters, your solar hot water system may lose its efficiency during the winter seasons. To mitigate this problem, you can invest in a hot water system with a booster switch. A booster switch allows you to boost your solar water heater when there is inadequate heat from the sun. Boosters can be fuelled by either gas or electricity. Therefore, choose the fuel that will generate maximum heating efficiency and cost savings.

Insulate your hot water system

Solar water heaters can lose a significant amount of heat to the surroundings. When this happens, the water in your tank won't be as hot as you need it to be. Insulating your hot water system is an excellent way of preventing heat loss. Insulation can also lower your energy bills when using gas and electric solar boosters. To maximise efficiency, insulate both the water heater and the hot water supply pipes. 

Solar hot water systems can lower the cost of residential water heating. Consider the above tips to maximise the efficiency of your new unit. For hot water installation services, consult your plumbing contractor.