We spend a lot of time discussing the many advantages that evacuated tube solar hot water systems offer to homeowners and landlords all across Australia. While you might be well aware of the long-term cost savings, reduction in electricity bills and environmental benefits that installing such a system can bring, do you know exactly what a system is and how it works?

If you answered ‘no’, you’re not alone. Many people don’t understand how their solar installation functions and a lot of people are actually reluctant to install something they have such little knowledge about. So let us simplify the whole thing for you and explain how a solar hot water system works.

What’s the basic idea?

Evacuated tube solar water heaters use solar energy generated by the sun to heat water that can be used for showering, heating, industrial processes and even cooling. While solar devices have been around for over 100 years, it’s only in the last 20 or so years that absorber coating technologies have advanced to such a level that these systems can now reliable convert upwards of 50 per cent of available sunlight for hot water supply.

Evacuated tube systems are designed to operate in warm and cold weather, so you can reduce your reliance on gas or electric heating even in the middle of winter.

These systems are different to flat plate collectors, which are another method of heating water using solar energy, and photovoltaic solar panels, which harness solar energy to generate electricity.

How do they work?

The system’s tubes are made up of two glass cylinders that are fused at each end. Both tubes are made from strong and durable Borosilicate glass. The inner tube is covered in a solar absorbing coating and a vacuum is generated between the tubes. This vacuum provides excellent insulation against heat loss and helps to retain up to 97 per cent of the thermal energy.

Inside the glass tube is a copper heat pipe that contains a small amount of purified water. The coating on the inner glass tube absorbs the sun’s thermal energy, thus heating the water in the heat pipe. This water evaporates and rises to the manifold at the top of the pipe. The manifold is where your domestic hot water pipes flow through and it’s here that the heat generated in the heat pipe is transferred to your water.

If you want to learn more about how solar hot water systems work or enquire about installing a domestic or commercial hot water system contact the team at Apricus today.