In Australia, hot water usage is responsible for a large chunk of the average household electricity bill. We use hot water for showers, dishwashers, washing machines and ordinary taps. To keep that water hot and available, it takes a lot of electricity. So, if there was a way to reduce those costs, most people would certainly jump at the chance.
German company Timo Luekefeld GmbH has just released a new hot water tank that relies on solar power to keep the hot water flowing through homes and apartments across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. While there are solar hot water systems already available, there are a few differences with this new technology.
How does it work?
It is estimated that these new boilers (or hot water cylinders/tanks as they’re known in Australia) can increase self-sufficiency by 5-10%. The system works using two AC heating rods that are powered by excess solar power generated throughout the day. So, if you’ve got solar panels on your roof, you could be doing all of your water heating with excess power that might otherwise go to waste.
The first heating element uses around 2kW of power and users can set the desired temperature via a thermostat. This heating rod only kicks in when the water temperature drops below 50 degrees Celsius. The second heating rod also uses about 2kW of power, but it’s controlled by a timer. Generally, this timer is used to ensure the water is heated up to 70 degrees Celsius between 10am – 2pm, for example, when solar production is at its highest.
Because the system relies on excess solar power from your panels, the timing system allows users to heat their water when it’s most practical and cost-effective. The boilers are currently available in 125 litre, 160 litre and 200 litre capacities, so there’s something for every household.
The other benefits
While this could help you slash plenty off your power bill by only heating your water when the electricity is free, Timo Leukefeld GmbH reports a couple of other benefits. For instance, the units are made of sheet steel and coated with enamel inside. They could effectively be installed right in the bathroom if there is enough space. Plus, with smaller amounts of water being used and shorter pipework, the heating of water is more hygienic.