Newbie with Q's about Adding Rooftop Heating System to Existing

Discussion in 'Solar and Geothermal Water Heating Forum' started by LarryJ, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. LarryJ

    LarryJ New Member

    Mar 18, 2017
    Virginia Beach
    I'd like to supplement my existing electric hot water heating system with a rooftop solar system in order to reduce electrical use/cost. I've been searching the net for "How-To's", but haven't found much of anything useful in terms of understanding design. Everything I've found are advertisements for systems and they don't explain whether they are independent or not. What are some good sources for learning about these things. I need to understand if I can connect a rooftop box-type heater into the existing electric heater and how that is done mechanically. Also, should these systems be drained in wintertime? I live in Virginia Beach and have a porch roof attached to the garage where the heater is located. The porch faces southeast and gets no shade. It has a new flat roof with rubber membrane. Like most, I'd like to keep installation costs down, but I will hire a plumber and electrician if needed.
  2. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Jan 14, 2009
    Rooftop photovoltaics (PV) power panels are typically easier to install, lower maintenance and higher value than solar thermal systems. The particulars of what's necessary varies by state (and sometimes by utility), but in general it's a better "deal" on a lifecycle basis than simply heating hot water with a batch heater or active system.

    Rooftop batch solar heaters and associated plumbing still has a freeze risk in your climate, and you may need to add structural capacity to the roof to handle the weight of the water in a rooftop batch heater.
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