Villara Solar works side by side with Builders to provide state of the art solar solutions for new homes throughout Northern and Central California.
HVAC and plumbing systems are typically a household’s biggest energy consumers, so integrating solar solutions is a great way to reduce these costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar Water Heaters
There is a way to cut your energy bills and reduce pollution at the same time — solar hot water. Solar systems use the sun’s rays to heat your home and can help you save up to 25 percent of your household energy costs, without using fossil fuels or contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
Most solar hot-water systems consist of a black storage tank that absorbs sunlight to heat the water inside, which then flows through your home’s plumbing system when you open a hot water tap. There are two types of solar hot-water systems: active and passive. Each type works differently, and both have advantages and disadvantages.
Active systems consist of a pump that circulates household water through collectors to the home’s plumbing, where it is heated and distributed as needed. They are effective in most climates, but can be damaged by freezing temperatures. Indirect active systems rely on a special antifreeze (usually propylene glycol) that is heated in the solar collectors and transferred to your home’s water supply with a heat exchanger. This system avoids damaging frost and freeze damage, but requires maintenance to ensure the antifreeze doesn’t leak and contaminate the water.
Passive thermosyphon systems are another option for heating your home’s water. They use metal flat plates on your roof to collect the sunlight that heats the water in their bottom, which then rises to the top of the collector when it is hot. This system is ideal for warmer climates, and can be used in conjunction with an electric water heater to provide back-up when needed.
There are also hybrid systems, which combine a traditional electric water heater with one or more solar thermal collectors. This system is more efficient than the passive systems, and it is suitable for most climates. However, it can be ineffective in cold climates and may require maintenance to keep the water moving through the solar system. If you’re considering a hybrid system, it’s best to consult with an experienced professional.
Solar Hot Water Tanks
Solar hot water systems use the sun’s rays to heat your home’s water, cutting energy bills by up to 25 percent without using fossil fuels or producing any pollution. They can also reduce your carbon footprint and add resale value to your home.
Solar water heaters have a number of components including solar collectors, storage tanks, a heat exchanger, and a controller system. The solar collectors are typically installed on your roof and consist of flat panels with copper pipes that connect to the inlet and outlet. Alternatively, you can have an integrated collector-storage system (ICS), which is a single tank that’s heated by both solar and gas or electricity.
A controller system keeps an eye on the temperatures of your hot water and controls how much to circulate the heat-exchanging fluid through the collectors. It will also prevent the water from going too cold, as well as stop it circulating when there isn’t enough sun to do its job. A backup system, such as a conventional gas or electric water heater, will be used to top up your supply when the solar system can’t keep up with demand.
The type of solar water heater you choose depends on your climate and your family’s hot-water needs. For example, direct solar systems are best suited for warmer areas where the pipes won’t freeze. Indirect systems, which use a closed circuit of an antifreeze-type heat transfer fluid and can be adapted to work in colder environments, have a higher level of efficiency but are more expensive.
Whether you choose an active or passive solar water heater, you can make it more efficient with additional energy-saving devices such as flow restrictors and faucet aerators. You can also limit your hot water usage by only using it during the day and washing clothes and dishes in bulk. Ultimately, solar hot water systems are a good fit for any household and can help lower your energy costs. Just remember to find a licensed plumber and solar contractor before you invest in one. It’s important to get the job done right, especially if you want to ensure that your system works correctly and efficiently for years to come.
Solar Pool Heaters
Solar pool heaters are a practical and environmentally-friendly way to heat your swimming pool. They use the sun’s rays to warm your pool water, and the heated water is then returned to the pool. This process is more efficient than other types of solar heating, and it reduces the amount of gas or electricity you need to use. A solar system can also last longer than other heating methods, and it is less expensive to operate.
A solar pool heater is a great option for pools in cooler climates, and it works best when it is located in an area that receives direct sunlight on a daily basis. This is why they are not a good choice for homes in shady areas, where sunlight is rarely seen. If you are not sure whether a solar pool heater is right for your home, contact a professional to perform a site analysis.
The first step in installing a solar pool heater is to buy one or more collectors. You can find these at many hardware stores, and they are fairly easy to install. You can also build your own collectors if you have some experience with plumbing and are comfortable working with tools. The type of collector you need will depend on your climate, and you can choose between glazed or unglazed versions.
Once you have your collectors in place, the next step is to install a flow valve and plumbing. The valve will set the amount of water that flows through each collector and ensure that it is heated correctly. The plumbing will connect the solar collectors to the rest of your pool. If you have a PVC loop already in place that runs from your pool to the filter and then back to the pool, this will make it easier to install your solar heater.
Once the solar collectors are in place, you will need to install a black hose that connects one end to the black hose on your pump and the other end to your pool. The hose will be filled with water from the pump and then directed to the solar heater, where it will be heated by the sun’s rays. After the hose is connected, you can angle it to face the sun and run your system.
Solar Pool Pumps
Solar pool pumps are a great option for any homeowner that would like to reduce utility electricity costs and have significant environmental benefits. Most people don’t consider a solar powered pump because they think they will need to spend a lot of money installing and connecting solar panels to their roof in order to power the pump, but this is not necessarily true. A new solar pumped model is available that runs off a DC brushless motor and can be connected to a standard timer, meaning the energy savings will be immediate and no need for any additional solar panels or expensive batteries.
The pump is designed with a service-ease design that opens to give access to the motor and all other internal parts of the pump without removing or disturbing the mounting connections or pipe connections. It is an ideal solution for pool owners that require a simple solar powered system for their residential or commercial swimming pools and ponds.
This system is also available with a built in solar heat exchanger which can use the excess solar energy to warm up your pool. This is a great option for those in cold climates that need to swim longer or in order to keep water warm for pets and children.
In most cases, solar powered pools are able to meet all of the filtration requirements of your pool and this will mean no utility electricity is used which can save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the pool. However, it is important to ensure that any additional energy usage is accounted for when choosing your system. For example, you may need to use the backup feature of your household electricity in conjunction with your solar pump in case of cloudy or rainy weather, and also if your pool has features that require higher turnover (such as a waterfall).
Solar powered pumps are generally less expensive than traditional models due to their technology that uses frictionless motors that don’t wear out as quickly. These systems are typically a long-lasting product that will not need any replacements for 10-15 years, making them an excellent investment for any homeowner. Solar powered pumps are available from most pool shops and suppliers, hardware stores, and solar power specialists with some also being offered as a complete kit that includes the solar panels needed.