Water heating accounts for approximately 20 per cent of your home’s energy bill. Solar hot water heaters, also known as, solar domestic hot water (SDHW) systems, use the sun’s energy to generate hot water, which lowers your energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
Several solar hot water systems are available, but for year-round water heating in Canadian climates, it is important to pick a system that can be protected from freezing. Only freeze-protected systems will generate hot water when the temperature dips well below zero.
While solar water heaters have longer life expectancy than other models, they are generally designed for use with a back-up water heater, either electric or gas. A tankless (on-demand) model may be used as the back-up.
What to Look For
- An ENERGY STAR® certified solar water heater will use 60 per cent less energy, on average, than a standard model.
- Choose a freeze-protected system for year-round use.
- Make sure you purchase a tank-size appropriate for the number of people in your house.
Things to Consider
- Hire a qualified solar thermal systems contractor to install your system, as they will need experience in electrical, plumbing and carpentry. Solar hot water heaters must be installed to CSA standards.
- Solar water heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand.
- If you have a heated swimming pool, solar systems can drastically reduce your utility bills and save you even more.
- Consider getting a home evaluation to help you understand how your home uses energy and identify all improvement opportunities.
- Check with your municipality, utility or retailer to see if rebates are available.
$6,000 – $10,000 with installation.
Source: Natural Resources Canada