By Bellevue Plumbing Pro

Solar panels are a great investment for homeowners because they generate free energy, and reduce the environmental impact. Most residential solar panels can be connected to the electricity grid or to batteries at home, but some are also integrated into appliances such as solar water heaters.

Although solar water heaters may not be the right fit for every home and climate, most North American homes could benefit from them. According to the Department of Energy the energy savings from solar water heaters can range between 50 and 80 percent of a household’s water heater budget.

These appliances also use no fuel source so homeowners are protected from fluctuations in traditional energy markets. Continue reading to learn more about the technology and see how you home could benefit from a solar water heating upgrade.


The Right Fit for Your Home

The technology behind solar water heaters is continually improving. If you plan to upgrade your system in the future, you should expect that the features available will change. It is more difficult to choose a solar water heater than a traditional model. This is why it is important to consult a plumber early on in the process.

Many models can be mounted on the roof to maximize sunlight exposure. The water tank is usually included in this package, which makes the overall weight of the components quite heavy. Some roofs can’t withstand such weight. The cost of strengthening your roof may negate the potential savings from a solar water heater upgrade.

These models are suitable for installation at ground level. However, sun exposure is more important for these models. To ensure your water heater receives enough sunlight, you might have to clear out trees and bushes.

The big decision between passive and active systems is another. The recirculating pumps in active systems are more efficient and can deliver hot water quicker. These systems are more expensive to purchase initially and require more maintenance. While passive systems have higher operating costs, they are typically cheaper upfront and last longer.


Cash In

While some homeowners may not consider the upgrade because of the environmental benefits, the savings are certainly worth it. A solar water heater can also be a great way for your home to increase its resale price.

To maximize your return on investment, homeowners should take advantage of all rebates and tax credits that are available. The federal solar tax credit for residential solar water heaters has been extended to 2024. Make sure you plan now to maximize your benefits. The credit covers 30 percent of the system’s cost through 2019, with reductions of 26 percent and 22 percent for 2020 and 2021. 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2022 and before 01/01/2024.

You may be eligible for product rebates or other special offers from your local energy utilities. To find out what is available, use the ENERGY STAR rebate searcher.

Reach out to your local plumbers if you are ready to evaluate your home for solar water heater installations. Contact us today (509) 245-6477.