Cut power bills with a solar water heater

By Brian Mayanja

Added 25th September 2017 12:57 PM

The size of the heater is determined by the number of occupants and how often the heater is used.

Waterheater 703x422

The size of the heater is determined by the number of occupants and how often the heater is used.

A solar water heater on a roof

Heating water using electricity is costly, yet many homes can barely pay electricity bills. However, to cut on the costs, one can use solar water heaters. There are also gas water cylinders, although these are not popular in Uganda.

Where to place heaters 
The water heating system in the house is placed in the bathroom and kitchen.
Martin Konde, a water heater installer, explains that the best area to place the heating system is close to the hot water taps.
“Definitely, when you place it near the hot taps, it is more energy-efficient and the water moves fast through the pipes,” Konde explains.
Solar water heaters
Susan Nakabugo, a customer service representative at All in Trade Limited, says the solar water heater can be used in any type of house. They are also used in industries, hotels and hospitals.
The size of the heater is determined by the number of occupants and how often the heater is used.
Nakabugo says the heaters are measured in litres and range between 150 and 300 litres. This is an equivalent of 150kg and 300kg respectively. The use of solar water heaters,  Nakabugo explains, cuts the electricity bill, hence saving you up to 40% of the bill.
A genuine solar water heating system has a lifespan of over 30 years and requires less maintenance. Solar heaters use renewable and clean energy source and are therefore, environmental friendly.
“The water tank is insulated and designed to keep the water hot for 24 hours. This means one can even use it at night,” Nakabugo adds.
The solar water heaters go up to 1700F heating temperature, regardless of the weather, Nakabugo says those using them are assured of having hot water throughout the day.
“The heaters have an electric backup, which one can use when they feel the water is not warm enough,” she notes.
The cost
At Davis & Shirtliff Ltd, solar water heater sizes come in 150 litres, 200 litres and 300 litres and the 200 litres tubular type for domestic set ups. The commercial ones range between 300 litres to 2,000 litres of water storage.
Matovu Mbagatuzinde, a branch manager of Davis & Shirtliff Ltd, says domestic water heaters cost between sh4.2m to sh7m, while commercial ones go for between sh10.1m and sh43m.
At All in Trade Limited, the cost for a solar water heater is inclusive of theinstallation charge.  The 150litres solar heater costs sh3m, while the 300litres goes for sh5m.
Mbagatuzinde says solar water heaters can be repaired, especially replacement of the collectors once they get a problem.
Nakabugo also says occasionally, it is important to clean the panel collectors because they absorb the sunshine and dust.
“ Anyone can clean the panel collector at the roof,” she notes.

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