Get the full benefit for a solar water heater
Full Benefit Conditions For A Solar Water Heater
To get the full benefits of a solar heater you must have an area for the solar collectors that is large enough and has the proper exposure to the sun. A flat roof is ideal because the collectors can usually be oriented to face the sun directly very easily. If you install the collectors on a pitched roof, the ideal direction the roof should face is south.
The collector area required will depend on the daily amount of hot water use, the type of collectors used, the orientation of the collectors and your geographic location. If you consider a standard “package”, you should be sure it is sized appropriately for your specific installation.
If you choose a “Passive” solar water heater, the storage tank(s) will be on the roof. In this event, simple structural bracing may be required. Active solar systems do not normally require structural calculations or roof bracing, because the weight of the collectors is well within normal roof load limits.
An “Active” solar water heater uses a small pump for solar collector circulation, and does not require a tank on the roof. A “Passive” solar heater depends on thermosyphon action, so does not use a pump, but tanks(s) must be on the roof.
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE:
Your solar water heater should be supplied with operation and maintenance instructions. You will find that there is little, if anything, for you to do once the installer has started your system and checked its operation for the first time. Properly designed solar water heaters are completely automatic and are left in operation year-round. Active systems have a small electronic control with one or more indicator lights to let you know if there is a malfunction. Be sure the instructions specify how your system is protected from freezing! Freeze damage is possible anywhere in Oregon.