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Savings from solar hot water

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 What are the savings from solar? How well does it work in winter? Rainy season?

 

I suspect this has been asked and answered a thousand times, but I haven't seen it.

 

Thanks.

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We went from filling our tank every 3 months to once a year. Cloudy days, may leave you cold so always have your back up water heater.

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On most cloudy days I have at least luke warm water. I put in my oversized solar hot water maker in 2008 and as of yet to even activate the gas hot water heaters on the second floor of the house. On the first floor where I have the laundry room and the kitchen I have a separate hot water source which is one of those instant on gas fired hot water heaters. It is not connected to the hot water solar system.

I too, hardly ever need to buy propane or gas from the gas company. 

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I have solar with an instant electric for a backup.  in 5 years I have used the backup fewer than 2 weeks total. I have the tank that has the copper tubing inside. The water passing through the pipe is heated by the the water in the big tank which is usually boiling. (this is the most expensive type of solar heater)  Still have hot water for showers after 3 days of heavy overcast. Light overcast or partially cloudy and water is boiling.

Last year my gas cost was under $1000 for 2 people  cooking,clothes drying, and BBQ.

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Typical home can reduce hot water heating related gas costs (and bigger bonus for many, gas visits.....) by 80% or more, with well under a 2 year payback.      With a well sized system using the highly efficient vacuum tube technology and a quality insulated tank, one or two cloudy days are no problem.   

Always good to have a backup available and tied in either manually or auto, as the rare extended times w/o sun are when you REALLY want to have hot water......

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I still don't have solar hot water but it's because I approached it a$$backwards. The propane hot water tank in this house was HUGE and I replaced it with an on demand wall unit to start with the expectation that I would eventually have a solar hot water system and it would be my back up. I have a 180 litre propane tank which I filled 18 months ago and still have propane.... and have had hot water whenever I wanted it. I operate the hot water heater, the dryer and the stove with no limitations. Works for me. YMMV.

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My two pesitos is that if you are building a new home here with solar hot water assist, then I would suggest pressure balanced tub shower valves.  YMMV

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We went with Go Solar's recommendation for a solar unit and have been more than happy with it.

His plumber installed it so the water from the unit flows through the boiler. This winter we lit the pilot on the boiler and turned it up just a nudge to have the really HOT water we like for doing dishes and showering. This was for about two months, but unnecessary if warm water fills your needs. The other 10 months we have plenty of hot water without this step.

I hate dealing with the thieving gas guys and this means we see them once or twice a year instead of 6-8 times. I wish we had installed both the solar hot water and solar electric sooner. The savings are immediate and dramatic.

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I have had my solar hot water for 12 years. Started out with 120 liters. Now have a total of 780 for main house and 3 casitas. Have averaged about $2 or $3 a month for gas over that time. Maybe use gas boiler 5-10 days per year. Biggest problem with solar hot water is having those gas guys not ring my doorbell trying to sell me gas. Even after 12 years, they still try a couple of times per year.

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