Homeowners who are looking to lower their electricity expenses, should consider solar heating as an option. Whether the system is installed at the outset or retrofitted, there are a few key factors to consider.
Craig Berman from Saving Energy shares some important insights…
What should I consider before getting a solar geyser?
According to Craig, when it comes to installing a solar geyser, it’s key that you clearly understand that this is a medium- to long-term investment.
He says with the Eskom rebate now no longer offered on solar installations, the cost of a decent, quality product can be high. He says with anything of this nature get the best you can afford, even if it means paying if off.
According to Craig, a high quality product adds significant value to your home and ensures low maintenance and hassle-free operation for years to come. Also, the warranties are much better, and homeowners looking at this solution should look at products that have 15-year warranties and choose a company of “good standing and reputation”.
Golden rule: do your research. Craig says speak to people you know who have these units and find out who installed them. If a company wants to charge you to come out and do an evaluation on the solar requirements, be wary.
Also, look at multiple quotes and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions about warranties.
Generally, he says companies that are worth dealing with will do an evaluation and quote for free with no obligations.
How will I benefit from installing a solar geyser?
Craig says with a solar geyser (and provided you have sun) your hot water is free for the lifetime of the geyser. Bear in mind though, that if it rains for a few days your showers are going to be cold - unless it is connected to allow it to draw power on overcast days.
A solar geyser also adds value to a property, especially because more and more home buyers now prefer and would pay more for some aspect of energy-saving technology in a house.
Roughly, how much will I save if I install a solar geyser?
If you were able to only use a solar geyser for water heating, Craig says you could cut your electricity costs by between 40% and 60%. Again, he says bear in mind that the return on this investment is medium to long term.
Is it possible to retrofit an existing geyser?
Yes, you can use either evacuated tubes or panels to do this.
Craig says most households that have existing geysers and want to reduce the cost of water heating opt for this route. He says even where people are building new homes and want a solar geyser, they often opt for a solar unit that has electrical backup to ensure that when the rain comes and there isn’t a lot of sun, they can still have hot water.
“The reality is, you will have days when you don’t have hot water due to bad weather, and unless your solar geyser is well-insulated, without the electrical backup, you may find your morning shower a little tepid, rather than hot.”
Roughly, how much does this cost?
According to Craig, costs vary according to the type of installation required as well as the additional requirements for the installation like extra piping, wiring and controllers, as well as the positioning of the panels or tubes on the roof depending on the type of roof the property has.
For a quality system and properly installed unit, prices would be between around R12 000 to R 20 000 for a single geyser retrofit.
Article from property24