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Is A Solar-Powered Water Heater Right For You?

by Chris Bowman

If you're looking for ways to reduce your energy consumption and your monthly utility bills, as many families are, you may have considered switching your traditional water heating system for a solar-powered system. Such systems collect (free) energy from the sun's rays and use it to power a water heater. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this type of system can save the average homeowner up to 50 percent on their water heating bill. However, a solar-powered water heater isn't the right choice for every homeowner. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to this type of system.

Benefits of a solar-powered water heating system

1. Energy savings. Since the sun's energy is a free, sustainable power source, switching to a solar-powered water heating system will dramatically reduce your household's carbon footprint as well as its dependence on traditional power sources.

2. Savings on your utility bills. By harnessing the free energy from the sun to power your water heater, you logically save on your gas or electric bill. Traditional water heaters account for up to 18 percent of an average family's utility expenditures.

3. Tax credits. Installing a solar water heating system will qualify you for a federal energy-savings credit on your federal tax return. Many cities and states offer additional credits.

Reasons you may want to stay with your traditional water heater

1. Initial cost. The primary downside to switching to a solar-powered water heating system is the initial cost. The equipment for this type of system averages $2,985, whereas the cost of the average traditional water tank, including installation, is just $860.

2. Requires gas or electric back-up system in most areas. If you don't live in an area that gets full sun most every day, you'll need a back-up gas-powered or electric water heater for those days where the solar system isn't able to generate enough energy to meet your household's demands for hot water. How much you use this back-up system will affect your energy savings. However, close monitoring of your hot water usage can help keep use of the back-up system in check.

While a solar-powered water heating system isn't the right choice for every household, this type of water heater can dramatically reduce your family's energy usage and corresponding utility bills as well as help you qualify for energy-saving tax credits. Just make sure to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of such a system before you make the switch.

To learn more, contact a company like Action Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning Inc