FAQs: Solar Geysers
As the debate for what is needed to end South Africa’s loadshedding woes continues, households are finding some great alternatives that guarantee them access to hot water Solar geysers are popular for saving households significant amounts of money. Here’s some answers to some of the popular questions surrounding this type of water heater.
For more information on why this may be just what your home needs, read our article: Benefits of a solar geyser.
What is a solar geyser?
A solar geyser is a type of geyser that relies on the sun’s energy to heat up water in the tank. This is done through the collection of solar energy from the sun via solar panels or tubes that are placed on the roof of a home and are connected to the water storage tank.
How does a solar geyser work?
The basic components include a solar collector, which absorbs energy from the sun, and a storage tank, which stores the heated water. The tank has two tubes: one for the incoming cold water (inlet) and the second for the hot water outlet.
What are the different types of solar geysers?
- Closed-coupled high-pressure system: This type of solar geyser usually sits on top of the roof and has solar tubes or panels connected to the storage tank. These systems run your hot water at a high pressure through a pump that can be adjusted.
- Low-pressure geyser: A low-pressure solar geyser is also placed where there is direct exposure to the sun. Its tubes are connected directly to the tank and are filled with water that gets heated up. Unlike the closed-coupled system, it relies on gravity to push the water stored in the tanks to the taps.
- Retrofit solar geyser: This is the conversion of an electric geyser into a solar geyser by connecting solar panels, circulating pumps and valves so that it uses the sun’s energy to heat your water up.
What are the advantages of using a solar geyser instead of the conventional electricity geyser?
The biggest advantage is the overall cost saving abilities of the solar geyser. The water will be heated through the panels and not an electric element, giving you considerable savings on your monthly electricity bill and ensuring you still have access to hot water all year round.
How much hot water will my solar geyser provide?
You can expect a solar geyser to provide anything between 50% to 100% of your total water requirements. This depends on a multitude of factors including the size of the geyser, your family’s hot water consumption, the amount of sun that your panels receive, and the angle at which they are placed, amongst other things.
How much can I expect to save every month with a solar geyser?
You can expect to save up to 40% on your overall electricity bill. For a retrofit, it is important to note that the number of solar panels also plays a big role in how much you save. The more panels on your roof, the more electricity you save.
How long will the water in the geyser stay hot for??
Cold water enters the geyser as you use hot water. Therefore, if you use all (or half) your hot water at 7pm, your water will probably be cold or lukewarm the next morning
Can I convert my electric geyser to a solar geyser?
It is possible to convert your current electric geyser to a solar one. It will require plumbing changes by an expert solar geyser installer. Conversion valves can be added to your geyser, which will enable you to add the geyser pump and water heating panels.
What regulations do I need to comply with?
A solar geyser installation requires an expert in this field with years of experience, as there are various rules and regulations they need to comply with. For instance, they need to follow certain safety regulations and issue an Electrical Certificate of Compliance, once done.
Can I do the installation myself?
Your solar geyser should be installed by a reputable and qualified installer. This is to ensure that it is fitted correctly and there is no possibility of any damage. Most insurers and manufacturers do not pay for damages if it is installed by an unqualified installer.
What is the lifespan of a solar geyser?
A good quality solar geyser can last you anything between 5 and 20 years. It will need some maintenance to ensure it stays in good condition and performs optimally.
What type of maintenance will I need to do and when?
A high-quality solar geyser does not require a lot of maintenance or servicing. Typically, an annual maintenance visit sees the water drained and flushed from the solar panels to remove any impurities that may have accumulated from the municipal pipeline. The servicing also includes checking that everything works correctly and efficiently.
How do I choose the right size solar geyser for my household?
It is important to choose according to your household consumption. On average a family of four has been reported to use between 200 to 700 litres a day for bathing only. When changing to a solar geyser, experts advise that you should add an additional 50 litres for back up purposes.
How much does it cost to install a solar geyser?
On average, the cost of a solar geyser in South Africa ranges from R6 000 to R25 000.This excludes the installation costs, which can range anywhere between and R2 000 and R6 000. The amount depends on the type of geyser and the customer's requirements amongst other factors.
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