Inside the Innovation House

We pulled out all the stops to bring the latest home tech features to our Innovation Home. See the 16 coolest things from the home and be amazed by how smart one home can be.

View Video

Bathroom Countertop Ideas

Good-looking countertops -- whether made of marble, limestone, or concrete -- create high-functioning bathrooms that spill over with style. These popular countertop materials are sure to inspire a bathroom remodel.

View Slideshow

Find Your Dream Backyard

Whether you dream of sunning by a state-of-the-art pool or strolling through a simple cottage garden, there's an outdoor oasis with your name written all over it. Take this quiz to find out where you really belong.

See More

DIY Patio Ideas

Want to boost the beauty and usefulness of your outdoor spaces? Put one of these inspiring DIY patio ideas to work in your landscape.

View Slideshow

Easy Fireplace Upgrades

Does your fireplace need a facelift? Check out these 20 ideas for updating your fireplace with easy-to-apply embellishments and simple-to-make constructions.

View Slideshow

8 Cutting-Edge Exterior Features

The wow-factor of the Innovation Home starts with great curb appeal. See the eight things that make the home's exterior stand out.

View Video

Budget Curb Appeal

Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

View Video
Popular in Home Improvement

About Solar Water Heaters

Explore solar water heaters. How are they energy efficient? How much do they cost? How much will they save in utility costs? And how do they work?

The Need
Heating water for dishwashing and bathing, not to mention laundry, is a major part of your home's energy cost. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), paying to heat water with a conventional water heater is the third-largest energy expense in your home.

The Solution
The most energy-efficient way to heat water is with the sun. More than 1.5 million homes and businesses in the United States have invested in solar water-heating systems, and surveys cited by the DOE indicate that more than 94 percent of these customers consider the systems a good investment.

The Cost
An active, flat-plate solar collector system will cost approximately $2,500-$3,500 installed and produce about 80-100 gallons of hot water per day.

Solar water-heating systems typically have two main parts: a solar collector and a storage tank. The sun heats water or a heat-transfer fluid that flows through pipes in the collector and then to a tank.

  • Direct circulation systems pump water through the collectors and then store it in a tank.
  • Indirect systems pump heat-transfer fluid through the collectors, and then transfer the heat through a heat exchanger. In colder climates, a drainback system keeps water from freezing in outdoor pipes.

Your water-heating bills should drop 50-80 percent if you install a solar water heater. And, of course, you'll be shielded from future price increases in the cost of fuel.

Consider installing a solar water heater when you get a new mortgage or refinance your home. It's a good time to make the investment without needing a lot of cash up front.

For more information, visit the DOE Web site:


Loading... Please wait...