Solar Hot Water Heating Systems FAQs

Why should I invest in a solar thermal system?

  • It will reduce your consumption of electricity
  • It will fight global warming through reduced carbon dioxide emissions
  • It wil protect you against future electric rate hikes
  • Equity in the home is increased, and the increase is not taxed
  • Solar thermal works facing any direction (though South is still optimal)
  • It will produce 80% of your water heating costs
  • It can reach 120 degrees on the winter solstice in this area
  • It is perfect for thermal radiant heating (floors).
  • It has a life expectancy of 2-4 decades.

Does solar work efficiently in the DC area?

YES, and surprisingly good. We receive about 70% of the solar energy that sunny San Diego does due to our weather patterns. Our area receives about 4.5-4.9 watts per square meter of irradiance in our region.

What direction must my roof face?

Southeast to southwest facing roofs work best but many east west roofs can be utilized as well. An on site survey to evaluate your location is recommended. Some of our clients received limited production after having insalled solar thermal on a north roof as well.

If you install panels on my roof, will it leak?

Not if CES does the job. Our parent company enjoys 20 years of roofing and gutter experience working on residential and commercial roofs. We include a 5 year warranty for penetrations as a standard part of our 20 year Solar warranty. Our experienced installers take all necessary measures to maintain water tightness.

What components are needed for a thermal system?

The components of a closed loop thermal system are: Collectors, aquastats, 2 pumps, a heat exchanger and a current electric or gas hot water tank. An additional tank can be added for increased efficiency.

What size system do I need?

A comparison of roof space and annual electricity expense by our solar consultant can help you determine what size system is right for you. In general, most 4 person homes utilize a 2 panel solution.

How much will it cost?

System price ranges from roughly $7000-$9000 depending on the system size and the compexity of pipes to be run through the house. Solar POOL heating systems start around $3,500.

Why shouldn’t I invest this money elsewhere?

We all have to pay our electric bills, including you. Essentially, you are already financing an indefinite variable rate loan through your utility company. With solar, it’s like refinancing this loan into a fixed rate and term. Only now, you will be paying less each month, instead of more. And, your loan payments go toward ownership of a valuable asset, not to the production of another coal plant.

How much space will the system require?

For a small family of 2 – 4 occupants, 40sf of panels are optimal (two 4x10ft panels), while for a larger family of 5 or more, 3 are used for a total square footage of 120sf.

How long will it take to install the system?

Once you’ve signed your contract and a deposit is received, a solar thermal installation takes 4-6 weeks from start to finish. This includes paperwork, permit filing, scheduling and completion. The actual onsite install usually takes 2-3 days.

Will my solar thermal system increase the value of my home?

Yes, on the day of your solar thermal installation, your homes value will increase by about $8.000. The increased value will not increase your property taxes. Solar energy systems increase the value of the home by a factor of how much it saves in utility costs. An article in the Appraiser’s Journal estimated that for every $1,000 in annual operating costs reduced, a home’s value is increased by $20,000.

What rebates or tax credits are available?

The federal government offers a tax credit of 30%, with no cap for solar hot water and photovoltaics. Currently, this credit extends to 2016.

Maryland, DC, and Virginia all have active renewable energy or energy efficiency rebate or tax credit programs in place.

Is financing available?

Yes, we offer very cost effective financing tailored to your specific needs. Check out our financing page for more information.

What is the warranty on the system?

Continuum Energy Solutions currently offers a 5-year warranty on our systems that is transferable, with a 20 year warranty in review by our legal department at this time. Manufacturers warranty their products for 25 years. A Solar Thermal system has a life expectancy of 30-40 years for the collectors, and 12-15 years for the small, inexpensive pumps that circulate the heating fluid.