Not everybody can install a complete solar energy system. The financial outlay is just too large, even though energy savings will be reaped down the road. However, there are smaller steps that can be taken to walk down the renewable energy savings path. One is a sola hot water heater, a subject guest writer Kalen Smith writes about here.
According to an analysis from USA Today, the average electric bill is $1,419 a year. Homeowners are looking for new and proven ways to cut their bills. Many of those homeowners are buying green lights and taking other initiatives to cut their energy consumption. However, they often overlook one of the biggest energy sinks in their home: water heating.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, many homeowners spend as much as a quarter of their energy bill on water heating. If you invest in a solar water heater, a family of four can save more than $400 a year on their energy bill.
More people would be willing to invest in a solar heater if they weren’t concerned about the upfront investment, because home water heaters can several thousand dollars.
Some people are discouraged by the U.S. Department of Energy’s claim that it can take a decade to break even. However, those estimates are based on current energy prices. Energy costs have increased faster than the rate of inflation for the past five years. In 2010, consumers paid over $300 more to heat their homes than they paid the previous year. As energy bills continue to grow, consumers who invest in a solar energy heater will pay their investment off more quickly.
Here are some tips you can follow to create your own household water heater:
- Make sure you get enough sunlight. You want to make sure that your house is going to be receiving sunlight between late morning to late afternoon. Don’t invest in a solar water heater if you aren’t going to get enough sunlight to make it worth your while.
- Weigh your options. There are a variety of different companies that sell solar water heaters. You want to compare costs and average savings each year to gauge which have the most bang for your buck. You will also want to read up on the expected life expectancy of those heaters to make sure you will have your heater long enough to pay for itself.
- Take advantage of federal tax credits. Federal tax credits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are available for a number of solar water heaters. Determine which products are eligible for the tax credit and you may be able to save up 30 percent or $2,000 when you file your 1040 at the end of the year.
- Consider building your own system. You can also try to build your own solar water system at a lower cost. According to some experts, this can save you several thousand dollars. However, you want to make sure you truly know and understand what you are doing. Despite some of the statements experts have made, the construction of such a project can be much more complex than it first appears.
- After you have set up your system, you want to make sure that it will last as long as possible. Here are some of the things you should do to keep your solar heater working both long and efficiently.
- Cut vegetation to allow more sunlight on your solar collectors.
- Keep the collectors as clean as possible.
- Look for damage in every aspect of the solar heating system you have set up. This includes the solar collectors, the roof and the piping system.
- Taking the right steps to improve your personal solar heating project can save you money on your heating bill. Don’t be scared away by the initial price tag and be prepared to pay it off over the long time.
Kalen Smith is a home remodeling and construction blogger working with Cabs-Rops.com, a UK based root rake manufacturer.