Jun 2, 2015

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Why Choose An Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water System

Australia benefits from some of the sunniest conditions in the world. In parts of Western Australia, homes can receive between 10 and 11 hours of sunshine on average per day, which means solar energy systems can significantly improve your energy efficiency. A solar-powered system could supply up to 90 per cent of your family’s hot water, but it’s important to understand which type of system is right for your home. Learn how evacuated tube solar water heater systems work, and find out if this type of installation is a good fit for you.

How evacuated tube solar systems work

Flat-panel solar water systems use large sheets of glass mounted on copper piping. These sheets absorb energy from the sun to heat water in the copper pipes. The warm water then circulates around the system and ends up in a hot water tank on the roof or next to the house.

Evacuated tube solar power systems work differently. Some engineers refer to these systems as streamline split systems. Instead of glass panels, these systems use glass tubes, fused at the top and bottom of a panel. The space between the tubes is a vacuum, and a copper pipe runs through the centre of each tube. The tubes absorb the sun’s heat, and the copper pipes then transfer the energy to a manifold, which then heats your water.

Versatility in different weather conditions

Evacuated solar hot water systems are more versatile in changing weather conditions. While some parts of Australia receive almost constant sunshine, some cities have sudden changes in weather. For example, in Melbourne, you may only see or 6 hours of sunshine a day. These conditions don’t suit a conventional flat panel system.

The increased surface area of an evacuated tube system copes well in these conditions. In many systems, manufacturers coat the inside of the tubes with a special layer that boosts absorption. Indeed, some systems can absorb almost all the sun’s thermal energy. The vacuum between the tube acts rather like a thermos flask, which means the system continues to heat water during colder weather. Some systems can even continue to heat water during frosty conditions.

Durable and easy to repair

Evacuation tube systems are highly durable. Manufacturers use thickened glass in these systems, so you don’t generally need to worry about damage to the tube surface. What’s more, if one of the tubes does somehow suffer damage, an engineer can replace the part quickly, easily and cheaply.

With a flat-panel system, serious damage could mean you need to replace the entire system. Flat-panel systems are also sometimes more prone to corrosion problems. Evacuated tube systems don’t generally suffer from this type of damage.

Suitability for your roof

Evacuation tube systems are generally lighter than their flat-panel counterparts. As such, you can install these systems on most roof types, which is good news for homeowners with roofs that cannot cope with a large flat-panel system.

Evacuation tube systems are lighter because of the increased efficiency compared to other types of solar water heater. You need fewer tubes to absorb the necessary amount of sunlight, so an evacuation system also works well if you haven’t got much roof space to play with. The curved angle of the glass also means that your home’s position relative to the sun isn’t so crucial. An evacuated tube system can generally find enough sunlight on most roofs.

Maximum energy efficiency and money savings

According to Green Cross Australia, the average family’s heated water takes up 30 per cent of all energy use. A solar water heater can cut your emissions by up to four tonnes of CO2 per year. The energy efficiency of an evacuation tube system maximises these efficiency savings. Green Cross Australia advises consumers that a solar hot water system generally pays for itself within ten years. A super-efficient evacuated tube system will normally offer a return on your investment within a shorter period and possibly within four years.

The energy efficiency of an evacuated tube system also works well in high temperature applications. For example, if you share a system between your home and your small business, you could use the system to support steam production processes.

It’s easy to see why evacuated tube solar water heaters are increasingly popular with Australian homeowners. For more information, talk to a supplier near you.

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