A solar hot water heater can give you the freedom to reduce your energy bills or live off-grid. But it’s important that you use the best tubing for your solar water heater to ensure dependability and longevity. Use our detailed reviews to help you find the right tubing for your needs.
Which company solar water heater is best?
Duda Solar is highly-regarded among the solar water heater industry. This company consistently delivers high-quality equipment and components, and its solar water heater line produces lasting hot water. The only real downside to Duda Solar is that it is pretty costly. But if you want a solar water heater that is well-built and long-lasting, Duda is a smart investment.
Clean Republic is a close runner-up that is geared more toward the budget-minded, with affordable equipment that is very user-friendly. This solar water heater manufacturer is known for its quick and easy installation, with products that are ideal for the off-grid lifestyle.
What are the three major types of solar hot water systems?
Depending on your living situation, it is important to invest in the right solar water heating system. There are five main types of solar water heater systems, three of which are the most commonly used. Let’s explore each type and discuss how they function.
Active Solar Water Heating Systems
Indirect Circulation – This closed-loop system typically uses a water-ethylene or water-propylene glycol solution that is transferred through a heat exchange system to produce hot water. As one of the most popular solar water heating systems in the United States, consumers can expect upwards of 90% efficiency.
Passive Solar Water Heating Systems
Thermosyphon – With an on-site storage tank, warm water is circulated to a solar collector as it rises. These systems are typically installed on a roof to allow for maximum water circulation. If you’re looking to invest in the most affordable solar hot water system, passive is the way to go, although you won’t get the efficiency found in an active system.
Air systems work by transferring water through a heat exchange via a fan. The only downside to this passive system is that it doesn’t have the efficiency of an indirect system, often providing somewhere around 50%. You should have a dependable conventional water heater for backup if you opt for an air system.
What type of pipe is used in a solar collector?
Copper pipes are used in these collectors, allowing for incredible sunlight retention. These copper tubes are placed inside of larger glass tubes, which are what ensures the greatest retention and circulation of raised temperatures.
Red copper is sometimes used, as well. This provides excellent retention and distribution, as well. There isn’t much of a difference in price between copper types.
Things to Consider
If you’re looking for a solar water heater that requires minimal maintenance, make sure you opt for a passive system. This will ensure that you have much less to worry about, as passive systems don’t leak, nor will they burst. If you’re incapable of performing routine maintenance on the system, plumbing, and fittings, this is a great option.
1. MISOL Evacuated Tubes – Best Overall Option
For the price and what you’re getting, MISOL delivers a very promising system here. If you don’t want to bother researching solar collectors, MISOL includes an aluminum alloy collector along with 10 red copper pipes. The quality is very nice and you’re getting incredible convenience, to boot.
Each tube is nicely insulated and stores heat really well. We found these pipes to maintain their temperature for a respectable amount of time, too, making them ideal for both on- and off-grid use. This system provides even heat in your water and at high temperatures.
We were able to get enough hot water for two lengthy showers, and there was enough left over to do a small load of dishes. If you’re planning to get completely off of the grid, MISOL’s Evacuated Tubes should provide you with enough of an increase in water temperature to accommodate for your needs.
Our only real complaint with this system is that it would have been nice to have gotten better direction for putting it together. Someone who has never used solar equipment may struggle with it initially. But after some trial and error, you should be able to get the hang of it.
So while the assembly was made more difficult than it needed to be due to the subpar instructions, MISOL does give you everything you need to put each component together. We didn’t have to supply any additional parts or hardware, which is always nice.
Whether you’re looking to use this as your main source of heat or as a secondary system, you should find MISOL’s evacuated tubes to provide for your needs. It’s a reasonably priced system, too, so more people should be able to afford it without putting too big of a dent in your bank account.
- Red Copper – This material is used within the glass tubes to help retain warmth longer and at greater temperatures. Each tube is able to accommodate a great deal of pressure without compromise, too. So you can trust that you’re investing in top quality that should serve you well for quite some time.
- Aluminum Alloy – The bracket system that comes with these tubes is lightweight and easy to work with, making it ideal for roof-mounted solar water heaters. You will have to handle assembly yourself, but the versatility of the aluminum alloy makes it much more manageable.
- Rock Wool – The manifold insulation that holds the tubes is strong and durable, ensuring that it will safely and securely accommodate each pipe. This is a must-have feature for outdoor mounting of any kind, and you can trust that it will stand up to the outside elements.
- Poor instructions – The included directions are of little help. We were able to figure out assembly on our own after some trial and error, but this is something you shouldn’t have to worry about given the cost. Still, the product itself is excellent, and that’s the most important aspect.
2. Duda Solar Evacuated Vacuum Tubes – Upgrade Option
For the ultimate in solar equipment, Duda Solar is your go-to choice. This 30-tube system comes with 14mm TU1 copper pipes to ensure high temperatures and fast heating. Furthermore, each copper tube that comes in this set is tough and durable.
Thanks to the tubes’ resistance to hailstone, you don’t have to fear extreme weather causing damage to your pipes. The copper inside provides top-rated retention, allowing you to get excellent improvement in your water without fear of losing its temperature.
The sun absorption qualities of each tube are rated for an impressive 93 to 96%, providing some of the greatest efficiency among solar tubes. Moreover, the winter-resistant properties ensure that warmth stays locked into each pipe.
You will need solar panels of your own, of course, but this system gives you a great start. The quality is second to none. So if you have the available funds and can afford this pricey setup, you can count on Duda Solar to deliver the results you need for safe and effective solar water heating.
The biggest downside here is the price. These are some truly expensive tubes. If you plan on using them, be prepared to pay a pretty penny. The upside, however, is that you’re getting some of the highest-rated solar tubes around. They may cost a lot, but they’re sure to serve you well for years to come.
Whether you are on the grid or off, you can look forward to investing in a product that will stand the test of time and hold up to extreme weather conditions. Duda Solar is known for crafting some of the very finest solar equipment. If you want your solar water heater to have great components, this is the route to go.
- Hailstone-Resistant – Solar water heater tubes aren’t impervious to damage, so it’s nice to see that Duda Solar made their tubes extra-stout. Thanks to these tough tubes, you don’t have to worry about them getting easily damaged. Since this setup is likely to be mounted outside and exposed to the elements, this a much-needed feature.
- 14mm Thickness – Duda Solar’s heat tubes are made of 14mm-thick copper that promotes maximum heat retention. You get everything you need in the box for an easy install, and the tubes are packed safely and securely to prevent breaking during transit.
- High Absorption – One of the nicest features of Duda Solar’s tubes is that they absorb such a high percentage of sunlight. You may find that you can sufficiently increase your water temperature using this system alone. You certainly shouldn’t have to use your conventional water heater very much if you opt to invest in these tubes.
- Expensive – You’re definitely going to be paying a lot if you decide to use Duda Solar’s tubes. But you’re also getting a high-performance system with some of the greatest efficiency around. The copper pipes do an excellent job of retaining their temperature and the build quality is most excellent.
3. Clean Republic Solar Evacuated Tubes – Value Option
Clean Republic uses layers of aluminum, steel, and copper in each tube to help trap heat from the sun as it warms your water. This set comes with 10 evacuated tubes that are used in your solar water heater. This is a great option for those who are making their own off-grid system and just lack the pipes to do it.
These pipes are also suitable for roof-top solar water heaters, although you won’t be able to heat nearly as much water compared to the other pipes we reviewed. We averaged around 5 gallons per hour. As such, we found these pipes to be ideal for DIYers who wish to get away from the grid and try their hand at their own projects.
Conversely, Clean Republic’s pipes are also a great choice for hobbyists and the like. They do a tremendous job of increasing high temperatures and could potentially be used in cooking applications.
The temperature increase that these tubes provide is impressive, raising your room temperature water to around that of a hot tub. But again, you’re looking at minimal water used. That said, warmth is even and the pipes are very well constructed.
Clean Republic also has a respectable replacement policy that will send out replacements pipes in the event that any break during transit. We found this out first-hand and received our new tubes in no time.
You will need to supply your own solar panel and pump (depending on your method for raising your water temperature). But as long as the tubes are all you need, Clean Republic’s pipes should serve you well.
- Even Heating- We were mightily impressed by how well water is heated. The tests we ran showed these pipes to deliver clean, even warming throughout. A single person should be able to shower in comfort, but any more will likely be a challenge.
- Affordable- As the most affordable tubes we reviewed, these are a great option for someone who is just getting their feet wet in off-grid living and needs to work within a budget. You get 10 pipes altogether, making this set quite the steal by comparison. Moreover, they work really well and are equally well-made.
- Heat Retention- Thanks to the insulated nature of this tubing, you can look forward to your water staying hot much longer. During our time testing these tubes, we found that they were able to retain their temperature overnight. This is especially handy for those who won’t be using a conventional hot water heater as backup.
- Minimal Heating- The main drawback to these pipes is that they simply don’t increase water temperature enough for large-scale use. If you’re using them to provide hot water to an off-grid sink, they should serve you well. But showering might be a trickier task to tackle if there’s more than one person. You are likely to need much more warm water than what these tubes can provide.
In the end, we compared each entry that we reviewed to see which brand delivered better performance. But we also examined the pricing of each tubing, as well. These factors are important, as not everyone who wants the top-performing tubing can afford it.
Take Duda Solar, for instance. Thanks to their high-quality solar tubing with hailstone-resistant properties, Duda clearly gets the upper hand in the performance and quality and department. Their price, however, leaves them off of the table for many consumers.
Then there’s Clean Republic. Its 10-set of tubes is by far the most affordable among our reviews, but they didn’t perform as well as the other two contenders. A great price, sure. But you also don’t get brackets as you do with the others, either.
That leaves MISOL’s Evacuated Tubes. For the price and the performance, we feel that this solar heating tubing is the better value among the reviews. There is certainly a market for the remaining two entries, but MISOL is easily the more even of the three.
We were very pleased with the quality of MISOL’s tubing, and the warming capabilities were well-received, too. We like that the aluminum alloy bracket is lightweight and versatile. Since most people are likely to mount these tubes on their roof, this is a much-needed quality to see.
We believe MISOL’s solar tubes will hold up nicely and serve you well in your quest to reduce your energy consumption. These tubes are perfectly suited for using them both off and on the grid. They retain their temperature really well, too, so you don’t have to worry about losing heat.
With well over a million people in the United States alone switching to solar, it’s clear that there’s always going to be a need for quality, affordable equipment. You can trust that investing in MISOL won’t leave you disappointed.