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How to know if a solar hot water system is right for your home
To help determine if a solar hot water system is the right choice for your home, there are several things to go over first.
Do you have a south facing roof?
In the UK, solar hot water collectors perform at their best, when they’re situated on a south facing roof. The primary reason for this is because we’re based in the northern hemisphere. Therefore, installing the system to be south facing, maximises the amount of time it’s exposed to direct sunlight.
Being placed on a south facing roof isn’t the only option, as the system can also work adequately facing the east or west, but just not the north. The panels themselves don’t even necessarily need to be mounted on the roof, with the general requirement that five square meters receive direct sunlight for the main part of the day. Instead, the panels can be hung from a wall or mounted on the floor.
Do you have space for a larger hot water cylinder?
The sun’s energy is transferred to the water and glycol mixture, and is used to heat the water inside the hot water cylinder. Within the cylinder, there is a base coil which is connected to the solar collectors. There’s usually only one cylinder, with the addition of an immersion heater or another coil connected to your boiler, situated near the top of the cylinder.
When required to, this immersion heater or coil will heat the water to the necessary temperature. If you don’t already have a dedicated solar hot water cylinder installed, then you’ll probably need to replace your current cylinder.
Is your current boiler compatible with a solar hot water system?
Systems that operate with regular boilers and hot water cylinders, tend to be compatible with solar water heating. On the other hand, if you possess a combi boiler, a solar hot water cylinder needs to be added to the system. Therefore, you’ll need to think about where this will go.
Do you require planning permission?
Most domestic solar hot water systems come under permitted development, and therefore, don’t require planning permission. However, before having a new system installed, you should check with your local council first.
It’s also important to realise that there might be more restrictions, if your home is a listed building, or in a conservation area or national park.
How much does a solar hot water system cost?
Generally, a solar hot water system will cost anywhere from £3,000 to £5,000. Although the specific fee you’ll have to pay depends on whether you opt for evacuated tube or flat plat collectors, and the size of the system.
Solar hot water systems will usually cover around half of your hot water requirements. However, the success of your system will vary throughout the year, and is largely dependent on the weather. While your solar hot water system will be able to provide you with most of your hot water during the summer months, it won’t be as reliable in the winter.
Homeowners are still able to get a FREE boiler grant or insulation grant via the ECO scheme, which is still available to households that qualify. Warma UK are currently working throughout the UK helping privately owned and rented homes to improve home energy efficiency and save money on rising energy bills.
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