One of the greatest luxuries as a home owner is hot water. A long shower or delightful bath after a hard day of work can be a ritual that uplifts your spirits. This daily custom can only be heightened by the fact that the hot water is free.

We all know the power of energy from the sun. Sadly a solar panel system to power the average American home is pricey and out of reach for many homeowners. This article will change the way you think of solar power, and give you an affordable option to change the way you use energy in your home.

batch collectorA solar hot water heating system does not have to be expensive. There are a wide range of options available for the DIY homeowner. Often referred to as domestic hot water systems, a commercial solar hot water heating unit for the home can pay for itself in as little as a few years. Combining a solar hot water heater with a rain water collection system can give you completely free hot water, although that is another article altogether.

There are two types of solar water heating systems on the market; active which uses circulating pumps and passive which doesn't. An active solar water heating application uses water from your own home and pumps it through a set of solar collectors. Once the water is heated it can be pumped into your hot water heater, or an insulated tank for storage. These type of systems work very well in climates where it rarely freezes. A passive system commonly involves a indirect circulation system. A pump will circulate a non freezing liquid through a heat transfer plate. The liquid is heated causing the plates to heat which in turn heat's the water. This type of solar water heating system is very popular in climates where you encounter inclement winter weather.

The type of solar hot water heater you choose will be dependent on a few factors. These factors will also determine how much money you will save.

How much hot water does your family use?

Do you use the majority of the hot water during the day?

How much of your current energy bills can be deducted if you remove the cost for heating water?

Does your home-site receive enough solar gain?

tube panelA solar hot water system is one of the most cost effective ways to use green energy. With the many federal and state tax incentives available to home owners, solar heated hot water is a viable option for families that wish to lower their energy bills. It goes without saying that the addition of a solar hot water heating unit will increase the value of your home as well. I mean who doesn't love the phrase "solar powered?"

For homeowners that are concerned about the feasibility of a solar powered hot water heating system there is a simple test you can perform. You aren't trying to reinvent the wheel by using solar heated water you are simply using the water hose effect in a larger application. This test will measure the solar gain on your home-site and determine if a solar hot water heating system is a practical solution to your water heating needs.

For the purpose of this test you will need a water hose with a spray attachment and an outside spigot. Take a temperature reading out of the spigot in the morning. Do this without the water hose attached. Once you have this reading, attach the water hose and stretch it across the yard. Fill up the hose and allow it to stand in the sun all day. Take a temperature reading at sunset to determine how far the temperature has risen.

solarpowered hot tubIf you get a reading of +40 degrees you have enough solar gain to make solar hot water heating a viable option for your family. If you do research and decide the a whole house application is not within you budget, you can start with a solar outdoor shower. This will give you an idea of the power of the sun for heating water. An outdoor solar shower is also a great way to add value to your home, as well as being a treat on sultry summer nights.

Learn how to Use Energy Efficiently and some excellent Hot Water Heater Maintenance Tips