Solar Water Heater: Requirements of Cost & Maintenance


The cost will depend on capacity and type of solar heater. It will further depend on Size of the family to be served (and thus, the amount of heat to be supplied) also following factors get   counted as well;

  • Size, type and brand of solar system
  • Type of roof upon which the panels are mounted.
  • Different country building code requirements
  • Orientation of panels

Cost of solar water heater depends on size and type of system installed. Smallest size of a system is 100 liter per day, which means that it can deliver 100 litres of hot water in a day at 60 C. A 100 Ipd capacity system is sufficient for a family of 3-4 members and it may cost Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 22,000 in planes depending on the type of system in India. In hilly & N-E region, the cost may be 15 to 20% more.
The system cost does not include the cost of cold water tank, & its stand which is required if overhead tank is not installed in a house/ building. Cost of hot water insulated pipe line also, may be extra if numbers of bathrooms are more. Additional cost towards all these components may increase by 5 to 10%.
The cost, however, does not increase linearly with increase in capacity; rather it comes down proportionately as we go for higher capacity system.

Maintenance Required for SWH Systems:

Domestic solar water heating system do not need significant maintenance requirements. Occasional leakages in the plumbing could be easily repaired by common plumbers. In case quality of water is hard, scale deposition in the collectors may result over the years. This may require de-scaling with acids for which it is best to contact the suppliers. Broken glass may also have to be replaced by the suppliers. If outside exposed surfaces are painted, the paint may have to be redone every 2-3 years to prevent corrosion of the surfaces.

Image Courtesy – Shutterstock

Solar Water Heaters once installed requires very little maintenance. Maintenance involves wiping the dust deposited on the glass surface once in 5 days. Wiping the glass every day will help increase the efficiency of the system. Another important thing to be taken care of is to see that the main cold water tank from which water is supplied to the solar tank is always filled up to the level. Use of automatic level controller can help in maintaining an optimum level of water.

Maintenance Requirements:

ETC based solar water heaters do not need significant maintenance. The collector tubes may need annual cleaning to remove accumulated scale and sediment deposits at the bottom.

Expense for Maintenance:

Maintenance expense is negligible

  • Only Periodic glass cleaning
  • Check for leakages and valve functioning, if any is what all is needed.

Troubleshooting for Solar Water Heater:

Some of the troubleshooting for solar water heater are mentioned below:

Problem Faced

Probable Cause and Remedies
No hot water in tap
  • Cold water supply, itself may not be that
  • Check Valve the outlet of the system. It might be closed
  • Air lock in the pipes
Water not heated at all, although cold water flow is normal
  • Consumption of hot water may be too high; Check use points and use pattern
  • The collector may be shaded with shadows from trees, building etc.
  • No flow of water through the Collector as it might be choked due to scaling; Get it checked from the manufacturer
Water, not hot enough or sufficient quantity of hot water, is not available
  • Cloudy weather
  • Consumption too high
  • Frequent on-off of hot water tap
  • Collector has become dirty
  • Vapour lock in the collector. This can be removed by allowing it to cool & draining the system
  • Partial choking of the collector
Little quantity of boiling hot water is received
  • Vapour locking in the collector
  • Pinched inlet/outlet pipes

Source: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

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