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5 Benefits of Using a Solar Water Heater

Chris is a registered professional civil engineer and has worked on a more than 300 public and private projects over the last decade.

One of the easiest ways that you can incorporate the principles of green living into your everyday life is by installing a solar hot water at your home.

Hot water is something that most people use on a daily basis; it's a vitally important component of life in America, yet most people never think twice about this luxury. As useful as hot water is to all of us, it makes sense that utilizing a solar hot water heater to power our showers is a great way to go green.

No matter which type of solar hot water heater that you choose to install, they will all afford you these five benefits.

1. They Reduce Your Utility Bill

Studies of energy usage of a typical American home indicate that hot water heaters account for anywhere from 15–30% of a homeowner's overall utility bill.

Imagine, for a moment, what you could do with the money that you will save each month on your energy bill after you have installed a new solar hot water heater. For many people in these tough economic times, this sum of money can be quite a significant chunk of change.

With many solar hot water heating systems paying for themselves in as little as four years, you will quickly enjoy the lasting benefits of getting essentially free hot water for your home every day.

2. They Are Smart Investments

In today's world, green technology is gaining popularity among buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate.

In general, making environmentally friendly improvements to your home is an easy way to increase the overall value and appeal of your property. Real estate agents also look for the use of green technologies on a property as a way to promote and advertise it.

In addition to improving the value of your home, solar hot water heaters usually have a return on investment of at least 10–30% over the life of a typical mortgage. It must be noted that the returns made on your investment are tax free and will continue to increase over time due to the rising prices of natural gas and electricity. And the deal gets even sweeter when you account for many of the government tax credits that are available for most solar hot water heaters.

Simply put, investing in a solar hot water heater for your home makes financial sense.

3. They Reduce Pollution Emissions

It really goes without saying that solar hot water heaters are great for the environment. Did you know that a new solar hot water heater can prevent up to 5,000 lbs of carbon dioxide and 20 lbs of sulfur dioxide from being released into the atmosphere annually?

With a reduced utility bill comes a reduced carbon footprint and therefore a reduced demand for fossil fuels. As anyone will tell you, the obvious result will be an overall decrease in the amount of air and water pollution that enters the atmosphere.

4. They Promote Energy Independence

When using a standard home water heater, the ability to take a hot shower is really in the hands of the utility providers. If there is ever an interruption in your electrical or natural gas service (or if you forget to pay the bill), you will temporarily not be able to enjoy the luxury of hot water.

With a solar hot water heater, this inconvenience will be alleviated, as you can have warm water at almost any time of the year, even if there is a power outage or a gas leak. Taking a step toward energy independence is a great way to ensure the future security and stability of you and your family.

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5. They Are Reliable

Did you know that solar hot water heaters are just as reliable as their gas or electric counterparts and have a lifespan of 15–40 years if properly maintained? Well, it's true.

Solar hot water heating systems can easily supply a home's hot water needs for many years without experiencing any malfunctions or failures. And as long as the sun is shining, the hot water will continue to flow through your pipes and plumbing fixtures. Even on days when it is cloudy out, there is still usually enough radiant heat available to warm your water.

Another reason that solar hot water heaters are reliable is because they have so few parts. The fewer the parts that a system contains, the less likely that you will experience a malfunction or breakdown. In fact, some solar hot water heating configurations consist only of a tank, a heat collector, and some standard plumbing.

This makes solar hot water heaters very easy to maintain, requiring no more care than a standard water heating system. Most of the solar systems available today simply require an annual checkup and a system flush to ensure that the machinery stays operational.

Comparison to Conventional Water Heating Systems

So we know that there are many benefits to solar water heaters, but how do they compare to standard heaters? Please refer to the table below:

Solar Water HeaterGas or Electric Water Heater

Initial Investment



Annual Operating Costs



Typical Lifespan

15–40 Years

8–20 Years

Lifetime Operating Cost



Total Lifecycle Cost



Emissions Output

Essentially Zero

Typical Fossil Fuel Emissions

Return on Investment



Today's solar hot water technologies can be operated efficiently and affordably in any climate. Systems can be specifically designed for various climatic and geographical areas of the country. The technology behind solar hot water systems is affordable and proven.

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits of solar hot water heaters. So why not install one in your home?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 04, 2018:

Good stuff.We have just started to assess our options for installing this at our home in Arizona and encourage others to do the same.

Ryan Richardson on December 14, 2015:

Very interesting concept! I would definitely be interested in having something like this one day. Those numbers that you gave are shocking—I really had no idea that water heating accounts for that much of your utility bill. One thing that might be a problem though is the initial investment—that’s a pretty hefty price tag. When you think about it though, the reduced annual operating costs might make up for it a bit over time. Still, hopefully the prices will decrease.

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Mala Srivastava from India on February 20, 2012:

Again a very useful and informative hub.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 13, 2012:

I think this is such a great piece of technology, but is only viable if you plan on staying in the house for awhile. Voting this Up and Interesting.

JON EWALL from usa on January 10, 2012:


RECENTLY WROTE A REPLY TO ANOTHER HUB for what it's worth to adding to your knowledge


I seen a report that gasoline being refined in Texas was the largest export of the country ( US ). The report also said that gasoline sales have dropped again. So why are the prices going up at the pump? Gas prices have risen another 15% this year and is predicted to hit $ 5.00 a gal by the end of 2012. Obama's plans to making oil production harder is killing the industry. The Master Puppeteer is in charge!

Another separate article predicted that by 2015, the United States will be the number 1 producer of oil in the world. One can doubt that if Obama wins a second term and the Republicans lose any of the houses in Congress. The American people need to be told the truth, by both sides.

JON EWALL from usa on January 10, 2012:


THE LINK WORKS, for what ever reasons ????

google ...Blown Away: Tracking stimulus grants for renewable energy for more information.By Russ Choma

JON EWALL from usa on January 10, 2012:


''We have to stop promoting Oil sales from other countries,''

THE GOVERNMENT,President Obama ,is not telling the American people the truth.

Blown Away: Tracking stimulus grants for renewable energy

cr00059n on January 10, 2012:

I'm glad you shared this. Solar energy is really the future of electric power dependency in the U.S. and elsewhere. We have to stop promoting Oil sales from other countries, which not only are bad for our air but the safety of this planet. Quite a good post, you deserve a round of applause. Thanks for sharing.

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on January 08, 2012:

This is very good! I am particular about the environment and saving money and you had some good points on both. Well presented.

India Arnold from Northern, California on January 07, 2012:

I'm a big fan of your comparison chart. My neighbor has a roof top water heating system and they just can't praise it enough...makes me a little jealous. I can hear the water rushing through the enclosure sometimes when I'm in my garage or carport. Thanks for sharing your info on solar water heaters.



JON EWALL from usa on January 06, 2012:


The location of the solar panels are important to the efficiency of the units.One should note the different sunlite varies as to the seasons of the year.Open unobstructed areas must be considered when considering a unit. A GOOD HUB WELL WRITTEN

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on January 06, 2012:

Fantastic Hub! I grew up in a house with a solar water heater and was really pleased knowing that we were making at least a bit of a difference, both environmentally and with our energy bills. Thanks for sharing these five very compelling reasons to get solar water heaters!

*Voice_Of_Reason* on January 06, 2012:

In Arizona solar hot water heating may be worthwhile, but, unfortunately, here in the UK it isn't, as we do not get enough warm, sunny weather. Thus the cost of installation can take more than 14 years to recoup, before you start to gain a single penny (or "cent" in American terms).

Also, the systems are ludicrously expensive in the UK. The prices you quote indicate that the systems are much cheaper in the States. I think in the UK, the companies offering these systems are trying to "get rich quick" with a very over-priced gimmicky "green" solution, which is just ripping customers off.

If the prices dropped by 80% in the UK, then this would be a worthwhile technology for us. In the mean time, we have to look to other options. Count yourselves lucky in Arizona!

Sushmita from Kolkata, India on January 05, 2012:

I am very concerned about the depletion of the conventional sources of energy, and the nonchalance of the concerned about it. I appreciate the work of those who have written even one word in educating on alternative sources. And we agree, solar is the best. It's a thanks from me to you. :)

Christopher Wanamaker (author) from Arizona on January 05, 2012:

Sen.Sush23 - You make some very valid points. The initial cost of solar hot water heaters is the number one reason that prevents people from installing them. The tax credits help, but it is still very cost prohibitive.

Currently less then 0.1% of the US population own a solar water heater. Until that number increases by at least an order or magnitude, the environmental benefits will not be noticeable in the short term.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Sushmita from Kolkata, India on January 05, 2012:

Solar power has to be further researched to be made commercially more viable. It is still so priced, at initial investment, to be affordable to few. Till the time the majority, including the poorer countries too can opt for the technology, it is not going to have any substantial effect on the carbon footprint. But for those who may not be knowing of the technology or even if knowing, the hub has been very well written and compiled. Voted up.

simzaheron from USA,California,Los Angeles on January 05, 2012:

This information is so good!

Jeremiah Simpkins from Pulaski, VA on January 05, 2012:

Awesome hub about solar hot water! Voted up!

Christopher Wanamaker (author) from Arizona on January 05, 2012:

stephhicks68 - Thanks for the great feedback! This was such a fun hub to write.

These days there is almost no reason why people shouldn't go solar.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on January 05, 2012:

Great information and a very helpful chart! Solar water heaters are one of the cheapest ways for a homeowner to go solar, save money and reduce carbon emissions. Rated up! Best, Steph

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