|Where should the solar water heater be installed?|
Your solar water heater dealer will have the expertise to provide you with proper site and installation recommendations. However, before making your final decision, look at your options. Take into account the appearance of the collectors in each possible location. Ideally, the mounting location should remain unshaded for at least 80 percent of the time between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. during the winter and summer. For seasonal units, only the summer period is critical. Shading can come from your own house, from trees or shrubs on your property, and from neighbouring buildings and trees. If the solar water heater is to be used during the winter months, take into account that the shadows are longer during the winter months, because of the lower position of the sun. At noontime during the winter months, a six metre high tree or building can produce a shadow of ten metres or more, which can significantly shade a collector mounted on the ground or a wall. It is also important to note that in most Canadian municipalities there are no laws that prevent a neighbour from building or planting something that could shade your collectors.
A suitable roof or wall location should be about 6 m2 in area and should face between southeast and southwest. In most of Canada, excellent performance can be obtained with collectors that are mounted between 18° and 50° from the horizontal. Most roofs have a minimum slope of 18° and are usually the preferred location for solar collectors. If no suitable roof or wall location is available, then a ground-mounting frame is recommended. Snow coverage and the seasonal changes in the sun’s position should be considered for year-round installations. To reduce heat loss, all mounting locations should allow the connecting insulated collector pipes to pass through the roof or wall, preferably at a point adjacent to the collector. The pipes should be able to pass unseen through closets, walls or floor spaces, to the basement or hot water plumbing area. Piping bundles mounted on the exterior of the house should be protected in a sleeve such as a downspout. This will protect the insulation from ultraviolet degradation, decrease heat losses, and ensure the installation does not detract from the appearance of the house. Some systems use piping that combines the supply and return lines and sensor wire into one bundle, thereby making installation much easier.Finally, check that there are no zoning restrictions in your community that might restrict the placement of solar collectors. Some areas might also require a building permit. Your installer should be able to assist you with these issues.