Storage Tanks

A standard solar cylinder and cross section

Due to the nature of solar heating, it is important to have a means to store the heat collected throughout the day so that hot water is available at all hours. This is done with a hot water storage tank containing "Heat Exchanger" coils. During daylight hours, hot water flows around the solar portion of the system. This then passes through a large tank of cold water, which is gradually heated by the hot solar-system water pipes passing through.

When the solar energy falling on the installation is not sufficient to heat the water to desired levels a more traditional gas or oil boiler is used to "Top Up" the heat in the system. If you already have a gas or oil fired central heating system or boiler it may even be possible to re-use the existing boiler in the system, reducing the installation costs! Not all boilers are suitable for use in solar systems however, so be sure to contact us to arrange an on-site consultation to assess your needs.

You will also need physical space to hold the tank and the associated plumbing. If your house has an old fashioned immersion heated tank hot water system, with some modifications the same cupboard space can be used to house the storage tank. If your home currently does not have any form of water storage then some consideration will need to be made as to where the hot water tank can be located. Don't worry about height when thinking about storage tank placement, basements and attic spaces are both equally viable as we can design the system to accommodate placement practically anywhere on the property.

Typically between 40-60 litres of water per day is required per-person in a household to account for washing, laundry, showers and so forth. For a typical family of 4 you would therefore be looking to a 200-300 litre tank, depending on your habits and typical usage. Long showers and deep baths will naturally use more hot water so it will pay to plan ahead. Just as a guideline, a 300 litre cylinder is typically approximately  175cm high and  55cm in diameter. This varies from manufacturer to manufacturer but should help with your initial considerations.

Don't worry if you don't think you can fit a fully-integrated tank into the space you have in an existing airing cupboard or boiler space. There is also the option of a Solar Pre-Heat Cylinder, which can be installed in a loft space and plumbed in to your existing heating solution. If you have any questions at all, just give us a call, we're confident that we can design a solution that will fit both your needs and your property!