Solar heating is not a new thing, in fact, it has been around long before man learned how to produce his own energy. And as we’ve commented before, none of those artificial sources come anywhere near the efficiency of harnessing the sun’s abundant and undoubtedly clean energy. So what kind of cost savings are we talking about?
Here’s a bar chart comparing solar heating to gas and electricity and the resultant cost savings for the average American household:
Solar water heating systems usually cost more to purchase and install than conventional water heating systems. However, a solar water heater can usually save you money in the long run.
How much money you save depends on the following:
- The amount of hot water you use
- Your system’s performance
- Your geographic location and solar resource
- Available financing and incentives
- The cost of conventional fuels (natural gas, oil, and electricity)
- The cost of the fuel you use for your backup water heating system, if you have one.
On average, if you install a solar water heater, your water heating bills should drop 50%–80%. Also, because the sun is free, you’re protected from future fuel shortages and price hikes.
If you’re building a new home or refinancing, the economics are even more attractive. Including the price of a solar water heater in a new 30-year mortgage usually amounts to between $13 and $20 per month. The federal income tax deduction for mortgage interest attributable to the solar system reduces that by about $3–$5 per month. So if your fuel savings are more than $15 per month, the solar investment is profitable immediately. On a monthly basis, you’re saving more than you’re paying. (Credits: energy.gov)
So going back to Tecwyn’s DIY black pipe system, it’s time to put it to a test:
I have an upgrade to suggest, which is to tweak the system to incorporate rainwater harvesting techniques and/or be fed by an overhead tank. What do you think? Share your knowledge or experience of such systems through the comment box below.