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Welcome to the Arizona Solar Challenge Tumblr! We're your source for the latest updates about our work to put solar on 5% of homes in your community by the year 2015. We'll regularly feature photos, news clips and profiles of Solar Ambassadors from across the state. Learn more at the Arizona SmartPower website.



How old is your water heater? If it’s more than six years old, you could soon be confronted by an inconvenient leak and the task of replacing your old water heater at the worst of times.

But don’t despair! Here is a plan to get one step ahead of that inevitable water heater failure:

Homeowners should plan to either replace their old water heater now or put plans in place to do it when it actually fails. Since you will be spending a few hundred dollars to replace your water heater no matter what, it’s a good time to consider switching to solar hot water. Follow these simple steps to see if solar hot water is right for you:

  1. Call three solar water heater installers and get quotes for installing a properly sized solar water heater. 
  2. After doing your due diligence in checking out the installers you are considering, you can either install the water heater now or have your chosen installer prepare your house for a quick change to solar when that leak actually occurs. 
  3. Solar water heaters have incentives in the form of rebates from APS and tax credits from the Federal and State governments. Since it’s inevitable that you will be spending money for a new water heater and generous incentives are available for solar water heaters, you should do some preplanning and save yourself an inconvenient leak … and some money! 

Solar hot water benefits are especially good for homes with a high demand for hot water. Homeowners should consider the hot water needs and the climate when considering which solar hot water technology to use.

Solar hot water technology has several variations depending on different climate conditions. For example, solar hot water systems suitable for cold winters in Flagstaff are much different than those used for mild winters in Phoenix. In mild non-freezing climates, water is often circulated directly through a rooftop collector that heats water for domestic use. For subfreezing conditions, a non-freezing heat transfer liquid captures solar heat. The captured heat is then transferred to water in a hot water storage tank.

As with anything solar, people have a lot of questions about how the technology adjusts depending on the weather conditions. Solar water heaters use temperature sensors, temperature transmitters and electronic controls to maintain water in proper quantity and temperature to meet domestic needs. For cloudy days, backup heat is provided by either natural gas or electric heating — either can be connected to your solar water heater as backup.

Before you make the switch to solar hot water, remember that it’s always best to get quotes from at least three installers that have credentials with the BBB and the Arizona Registrar.

For independent, free and unbiased advice, homeowners can contact the Arizona SmartPower Solar Coach at dbacon[at]smartpower.org or call [623] 606 – 8846.

  1. gosolaraz posted this