Ever wondered if solar hot water systems work in winter? The short answer is Yes, solar hot water systems do work in winter, it’s not that simple though so let us explain.

Solar Hot Water Collectors

The heart of a solar hot water system is its hot water collectors.  Solar hot water collectors capture and retain heat from the sun then transfer this heat to the water stored inside the tank.

So how do solar hot water collectors work?

Put simply, heat and infrared radiation are produced when short wave radiation light hits the reflective surface of the collector’s absorber, which is then trapped inside the collector.
Fluid, usually water, in contact with the absorber collects the trapped heat and transfers it to storage.

A common misconception is that your solar hot water system does not operate as well in the winter due to the cooler temperatures when in fact the real reason is the fewer hours of sunlight.

Solar Hot Water Collector Efficiency

The design of your solar hot water service has incorporated some technical factors to make the collector as efficient as possible.

 

Flat Panel Solar Collectors

The most common flat panel collector has a large surface area to maximise exposure to the sun. The coating used for the absorber has been formulated to absorb as much heat as possible and the glass is specially designed to allow as much light energy through as possible. Read more about Flat Panel Collectors.

 

A common misconception is that your solar hot water system does not operate as well in the winter due to the cooler temperatures when in fact the real reason is the fewer hours of sunlight.

Evacuated Tube Collectors

If your system has evacuated tube collectors then they will have long, skinny absorbers inside the glass tube and all the air will have been sucked out, which makes it highly insulated. Read more about Evacuated Tube Collectors.

Solar in a Warmer Climate

Here in Queensland we have a great climate for using Solar Hot Water and in most areas do not need to worry about pipes freezing. So when Queenslanders, or people living in a tropical climate, ask if solar hot water systems work well in winter, there is little to be concerned about. We still need to take some simple steps to ensure our solar hot water system is operating at its best during these cooler months though.

 

Handy Solar Hot Water Tips

Listed below are some handy tips to ensure your solar hot water system is operating to maximum efficiency and you don’t run out of hot water:

  • Cut back any foliage casting shadows or blocking sunlight from the panels.
  • Ensure there is no built up dirt or grime on the panels and clean with soapy water as required.
  • Check that the relief valve is operating correctly and not leaking.
  • If you run your dishwasher at night check it is connected to cold water only.
  • Any laundry loads done at night are cold water washes.
  • Review you evening hot water usage as remember any hot water used after dark won’t be reheated until the sunlight hits the panels the next morning.
  • Use the electric booster on wet, cloudy or days of heavy demand.

 

Help Is On Hand

Here at Whywait Plumbing we understand that not everybody has a ladder or is able to climb up on their roof.  Remember we are only a call away and happy to help!

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