Using solar water heaters in north of Ontario

by Kim

Hi, I live in the northern part of Ontario, Canada and I am not sure can I use solar water heater to heat my domestic water. Can a solar water heater replace my old electric unit or not? Is it economically justified to buy a brand new solar water heater which will include solar panel, solar tank, pump and other controllers and sensors?

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Jun 22, 2010
Using a solar water heater in colder regions
by: Zee from water heater reviews

Yes, you can use any type of solar water heaters in the north of Ontario. Solar water heating is effective regardless of the area where you live (read outside temperature) or cloudy climate. As long as you have sunny days, even if it is cold outside, you will have a decent increase of the water temperature.

The reason behind is that solar panels are constructed to act as the green houses.

Keep in mind that one of the important rules for the effective solar water heating is that solar panel should face south and be exposed to the sun from 9 am to 3 pm.

In colder areas like north of Ontario, you have to use solar collectors filled with the propylene glycol to protect against freezing.

For people living in the southern warmer parts of US, one can replace over 80% of the heat needed for heating the water. In the colder north is much less, but it can still go above 40%. That means that you have to use your electric water heater to have sufficient and reliable supply of hot water.

How much energy your new solar water heater system can capture from the sun, depends on many factors and one is the quality and type of solar panels. How much money you are willing to spend will result in buying a cheaper passive system or more complex and effective active system.

Benefits of the solar water heating, domestic or pool, are coming from the free solar energy. That means you will pay for the panel, plumbing, pump, controllers, sensors and installation but not for the fuel.

Solar water heater will reduce your energy costs, but it cannot completely replace your electric water heater, which is also used as the hot water storage.

Also, government provides some tax breaks which is 30% on the total installed price.

Payback period is relative, there are some info saying it is 10 years or so. Anyhow, your solar heating system starts paying for itself from the day you install it. This is how you create energy independence and reduce the carbon foot print.

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