If you are considering buying a new water heater, now is an excellent time to convert to a solar-powered model. You will save money on your electric and/or gas bills while employing green technology to protect the environment. In addition, a special tax credit is currently available to help with the price of your new water heater. This government program allows you to save thousands of dollars while making the switch to solar power.
How They Work
Solar powered water heaters work in two ways, as direct and indirect systems. The direct systems operate by using rooftop solar collectors to gather water. The indirect systems contain a heat transfer liquid that does not freeze. The liquid runs from the solar collectors into a tank where the heat is transferred to the water. All solar water heaters work best in homes with roofs that receive sunlight most of the day. Direct systems are preferred in areas that seldom have freezing weather, while indirect systems work best in areas that regularly experience frigid temperatures.
How You Will Save
Solar water heaters require a substantial initial investment of approximately $8,000 to $10,000. Currently, the federal government is offering a 30% tax credit for these water heaters that is good for heaters in new and second homes as well as those in older homes. To receive the credit, your water heater must be certified by the Solar Rating & Certification Corp, and it must provide at least half of the energy your home uses to heat water.
Your monthly energy savings will differ according to the amount of your hot water usage, but experts estimate that you can save 50% of your water heating bill. You will pocket approximately $140 annually or $2900 over the life of your water heater when you use a gas water heater as a backup instead of alone. If you are using an electric water heater as your backup instead of as your main water heating source, savings will be closer to $280 dollars per year and $5200 over the life of the water heater.
Now is truly the time to invest in a solar water heater since you can get a 30% tax credit on one through the end of 2016. Your immediate investment will still be expensive, but your system will pay for itself over the years while making your home less dependent on electricity and gas. A solar-powered water heater makes both financial and environmental sense. For more information on options, check out companies like Oehlert Bros Inc.