Unlike solar electrical systems, which use solar photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight into electricity, solar thermal systems simply collect the heat of the sun for use in or around your home.
This heat energy is commonly used to heat water for domestic or pool use, or is distributed throughout a home for warmth. You can also get the best solar thermal service from cloverleafmaintenance.
Most solar thermal systems have these basic factors in common: A liquid flows through a series of pipes or tubes that are set in a solar thermal panel. Sunlight falls on the panel, and heats the liquid.
The flow of the liquid carries the heat to its point of use. The point of use may be a pool, a hot water tank, an in-floor heating system, a heat exchanger, or some other application.
There are many designs for solar thermal systems, and the one that you choose will depend on a number of factors, including cost, ease of installation and maintenance, and the climate in which the system will be used.
Some designs are only suitable for relatively warm climates, while others are suitable for freezing conditions. Others are designed to resist the highly corrosive chlorine that is commonly found in pool water.
Glycol Solar Thermal Systems
If your property is in a climate with a winter season, a glycol system will be a likely choice for you. In these systems the freeze-proof, non-toxic liquid glycol is used to store and release the heat of the sun.
water-based systems, however, which may never need to be drained and refilled, glycol solar thermal systems must have their glycol replaced every five to ten years.
Drainback Solar Thermal Systems
If your property is in a climate with a winter season, but you only use the property in the spring, summer and fall, then a drainback system may be perfect for you. These thermal systems are water based, and have a holding tank installed downslope from their solar panels.
In preparation for the winter season, the water in the panels is drained back into the insulated holding tank, protecting the pipes in the panels from bursting during freezing weather (water expands when it freezes, putting water filled pipes in freezing conditions under intense pressure).
In warmer weather, the water can be pumped back up into the panels, and the system can resume normal operations. This is much easier and more environmentally friendly than replacing the glycol in a glycol solar thermal system.