In the vibrant city of Cape Town, where sunny days are a common occurrence, harnessing the power of the sun for our daily needs is not just a sustainable choice but a smart one, too.

With load shedding becoming a part of our daily lives in South Africa and the potential for even longer power cuts in the future, having a solar geyser is becoming increasingly popular to ensure households have hot water when needed.

In this blog post, we will explore everything to do with solar geysers, from how they work to installation and pricing. We will also discuss the benefits of installing a solar geyser and compare gas geysers with solar geysers so you can make an informed decision when choosing a water heater for your home.


4 Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Geysers

1. How Does a Solar Geyser Work?

Solar geysers are marvels of renewable energy technology. They work on a simple principle: capturing sunlight and converting it into heat energy to warm water for your household needs. 

Here’s a basic breakdown of how they work:

  • Solar Collectors: Solar geysers have specially designed panels or collectors that are typically installed on rooftops. These collectors contain fluid (usually a mixture of water and antifreeze) that absorbs sunlight.
  • Heat Transfer: When sunlight hits the collectors, the fluid inside absorbs the solar energy and heats up.
  • Circulation: The heated fluid is then circulated through a heat exchanger situated inside the storage tank of the solar geyser. This heat exchanger efficiently transfers the heat from the fluid to the water in the tank, effectively warming it up.
  • Storage: The hot water is kept in an insulated tank until it is required, guaranteeing a continuous supply of warm water for your household.
  • Backup Heating: Solar geysers often come with an electric or gas backup system to ensure you have hot water during cloudy days or when your household demand exceeds the solar geyser capacity.
Solar Geyser - Rooftop Solar Panels and Geyser

2. How Much Is a Solar Geyser?

Solar geyser prices in South Africa can fluctuate based on several factors, including the size of the system, the brand, and the complexity of the installation process. On average, for a standard residential closed coupled high pressure solar geyser in Cape Town, you might expect to invest anywhere from R12,000 to R25,000, excluding the cost of the labour needed for installation. 

Beware of cheap solar geysers, as they are often poorly manufactured and are unlikely to meet your needs adequately. It is also important to remember that despite the initial solar geyser cost, prices are likely to be offset over time through savings on your electricity bills and also the hassle of having to deal with load shedding on a day-to-day basis.

The pricing

3. How to Install a Solar Geyser: A Step-by-Step Guide

Installing a solar geyser is a job best left to professional plumbers, like Absolute Plumbing Cape Town, as it involves working with both plumbing and electrical components. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install a solar panel geyser:

Step 1: Site Assessment is Essential When Installing Solar Geysers

This is the first and most critical step. A professional plumber will visit your home to assess the suitability of your roof for a solar geyser installation. They will consider factors such as the roof’s orientation (north-facing roofs are ideal in the southern hemisphere and vice versa), potential shading from trees or other buildings, and the structural integrity of the roof.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Solar Geyser

Following a thorough site assessment, the next vital step is to carefully select the most suitable solar geyser system that meets your specific needs. This includes considering the option of a high pressure solar geyser, which can provide excellent performance in areas with stable and high water pressure.

Several factors will play a significant role in this decision, including the size of your household, your hot water consumption habits, and your budget. For instance, a larger family or a household with high hot water usage might benefit more from a high pressure solar geyser.

Whether you opt for a high or low pressure solar geyser for your home, it is crucial to consider these factors to maximise the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your investment.

Solar Geyser - Heater on Roof

Step 3: Collector Installation 

The solar collectors, commonly known as solar panels, are securely mounted on your roof. They should be placed at an optimal angle and orientation to maximise sunlight exposure throughout the day. This is usually done with the help of specialised mounting equipment to ensure the panels are firmly attached and weather-resistant.

Step 4: Solar Geysers Require Professional Plumbing and Electrical Work

After the collectors have been installed, the next step involves connecting them to the solar geyser’s storage tank. This is done using solar fluid piping, which allows the heat captured by the panels to be transferred to the water in the tank. If you choose a solar geyser with electric backup, your contractor will now install the backup to ensure an adequate supply of hot water on days when there isn’t enough solar heat available.

Solar Geyser - Heating Panels

Step 5: Tank Placement for Solar Geysers

The storage tank for the solar geyser is typically installed near the existing geyser inside the roof space to minimise heat loss through the pipes. It should also be placed somewhere that is easily accessible for maintenance and repair work.

Step 6: System Testing and Commissioning

Finally, the entire solar geyser system is thoroughly tested to ensure everything is working correctly. The technician will check that the panels are capturing and transferring heat efficiently, that the backup heating system is functioning, and that there are no leaks in the piping. Any necessary adjustments or tweaks will be made during this stage.

As you can see, the installation is quite an involved and complicated process, so if you are not comfortable attempting to install the geyser yourself, our professional plumbers at Absolute Plumbing Cape Town are just a call away.

Man Installing Panel

4. How to Connect a Solar Panel to an Existing Geyser

If you already have a conventional geyser and wish to integrate solar heating into your system, it’s possible to retrofit it or convert a geyser to solar. Retrofit refers to the act of adding a component or accessory to something that was not originally equipped with it during the manufacturing process.

That being said, there are also rules and regulations that you need to follow in order to install solar in your home. By using a professional plumbing service like Absolute Plumbing, you can ensure your home is safe and compliant with local legislation.

Here is a brief guide on solar geyser conversion:

1. Choosing the Right Solar Panel: The first step is choosing a suitable solar panel for your geyser. There are different types of solar panels available, so you need to select one that fits the demand of your household.

2. Installing the Solar Panel: Once you have chosen your solar panel, the next step is installing it. This usually involves fixing the solar collectors to the roof of your house. Bear in mind that on some roof types, solar geyser installation is not recommended and can be dangerous.

Solar Panel Installation

3. Connecting the Solar Panel to the Geyser: After the solar panel is installed, you’ll need to connect it to your geyser. First, you will need to drain your geyser and then cut into the cold water pipe, feeding the bottom of the geyser and the hot water pipe coming out of the top. Next, you will install a dedicated conversion valve to your geyser that enables the integration of a solar panel and a circulation pump.

4. Replacing the Existing Element: In some cases, you might need to replace the existing AC element in your geyser with a dual solar geyser element (DC and AC) and connect it directly to the solar panels.

5. Installing a Circulation Pump: A circulation pump is used to circulate the heated water from the solar panel to the geyser.

6. Setting Up the Controller: You also need to set up a solar controller, which regulates the power from the solar panel to the geyser.

7. Testing the System: Finally, after everything is set up, you need to test the system to make sure everything is working correctly.

Remember, while it’s possible to do this yourself, it’s recommended to hire a professional plumber, like Absolute Plumbing Cape Town, to ensure the installation is done correctly and safely. This can save you valuable time and money and provide peace of mind that the system installed is compliant and safe to use.

Solar Geyser on Roof

7 Benefits of Solar Geysers for Your Home/Business

Solar geysers, also known as solar water heaters, offer numerous benefits that make them an excellent choice for your home. Here are some reasons why:

1. A Solar Geyser Can Lead to Significant Electricity Savings

Your geyser can be one of the primary contributors to your electricity bill. By switching to a solar powered geyser, you can make a significant impact on reducing your energy consumption and, in turn, effectively lower your monthly electricity costs. 

Money Saving

2. Solar Geysers are a Long-Term Investment

It offers an efficient and environmentally friendly solution to meet your home’s hot water needs. With a lifespan of 15 years or more, they are durable and can provide hot water for your daily requirements for years to come.

3. A Solar Geyser Ensure Less Dependence on the Grid

By choosing a solar geyser, you not only reduce your reliance on the grid but also enhance your energy independence and resilience, especially during load shedding. It also allows you to embrace the benefits of sustainable living and harness the power of the sun for a more eco-friendly and self-reliant lifestyle.

4. Affordable Options

With a wide range of solar geysers available on the market, you can easily find one that perfectly fits your budget and lifestyle. 

5. A Solar Geyser Offers a Quick Return on Investment

Although there is an initial upfront investment involved, the substantial savings on your energy bills will allow you to recoup your initial cost within approximately two years. Besides the financial benefits, you will also have peace of mind that you will always have hot water at home, even if there is load shedding or a power outage.

Girl Having a Hot Shower

6. Solar Geysers Provide Efficient Heating

A solar geyser is a highly efficient option for heating water, capable of reaching temperatures of up to 90 degrees centigrade. With its impressive capability to provide ample hot water, it proves to be just as reliable as traditional geysers in meeting your everyday needs.

7. A Solar Geyser Is Easy to Install

The installation process for a solar geyser is remarkably quick and straightforward, ensuring minimal disruption to your daily routine while providing an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution for your hot water needs.

Plumbing Installing a Geyser

Gas Geyser vs Solar Geyser: Which One’s Better for Your Home

Choosing between a gas geyser and a solar geyser for your home depends on several factors, such as your budget, hot water needs, local climate, and environmental considerations.

Gas Geyser Pros and Cons

Gas geysers provide instant heat and have a faster heating rate compared to other heaters. They’re generally cheaper to run as the cost of gas is relatively low, and they offer a high flow rate, reducing the wait time for hot water. However, they are not as energy-efficient as solar geysers, and their environmental footprint is higher due to the combustion of natural gas or propane.

Solar Geyser Pros and Cons

Solar geysers are extremely energy efficient and eco-friendly as they harness free and renewable energy from the sun. They can provide 50-90% of your hot water needs depending on your location and the system’s efficiency. The installation cost can be higher, but there’s a good return on investment because of the savings on electricity bills. However, their performance can be affected by weather conditions, and you will most likely need a backup heating system for cloudy days.

Clouds overlooking House

In conclusion, if you live in a region with plenty of sunshine and you’re environmentally conscious, a solar geyser could be a great choice. On the other hand, if you require instant, on-demand hot water and live in an area where solar isn’t as effective (or if the upfront cost is a concern), a gas geyser may be more suitable.

Remember to consult with a professional installer, like Absolute Plumbing Cape Town, who can provide advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

Why Choose Absolute Plumbing for Your Solar Geyser Installation

It is essential to choose a professional plumber in Cape Town, like Absolute Plumbing, to install your solar geyser. We have the necessary expertise and experience to handle this complex task, as the installation includes valves, pipes and electrical connections that need meticulous handling to ensure a safe and efficient operation.

Absolute Plumbing will also offer you valuable advice on the placement and orientation of the solar powered geyser for optimal sun exposure and efficiency. More importantly, we can ensure your installation is compliant with local rules and regulations, giving you peace of mind that this investment into your home is safe for you and your family to enjoy.

Final Thoughts

Investing in professional solar geyser installation services can save you time, reduce potential risks, and ensure that your geyser functions optimally for maximum energy savings. Absolute Plumbing has over 10 years of experience providing plumbing-related services to homeowners and businesses around Cape Town.

If you require other services besides solar geyser installation, we can also assist with leak detection, drain cleaning, CCTV camera inspections, pipe relining, bathroom renovations, general plumbing services and geyser installation and maintenance.

Take the first step towards a more sustainable and cost-efficient home today with Absolute Plumbing. If you are looking for a solar geyser for sale and need assistance with installation, contact us now on 084 872 2758 for a FREE quote.

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