Monday, August 31, 2009

Solar Water Heater Thermosyphon Systems

Another relatively simple, passive system, and the most popular solar water heater worldwide is the thermosyphon. Common in Japan, Australia, India, and Israel, they are easily recognizable because the tank must be located directly above the collector.

Thermosyphon systems work on the principal of heat rising. In an open-loop system (for nonfreezing climates only), potable water enters the bottom of the collector and rises to the tank as it warms. In colder climates, an antifreeze solution, such as propylene glycol, is used in the closed solar loop, and freeze-tolerant piping, such as cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), is used for the potable water lines in the attic and on the roof.

Several international manufacturers make thermosyphon systems. The advantage of this system over the batch heater is that solar heat is stored in a well-insulated tank, so hot water can be used any time, without the penalty of overnight losses.

The following illustration includes the primary components of any thermosyphon system.

Thermosyphon System

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