Types of Solar Water Heaters - Direct & Indirect

Types of Solar Water Heaters - Direct & Indirect - Rheem

There are two types of solar heaters – direct and indirect. Direct systems are designed for warmer climates while indirect systems are designed for cooler climates that experience frost.

Direct solar water heaters

Direct solar water heaters use roof mounted solar “collectors” to absorb energy from the sun. The energy collected is then used to heat the water stored in the storage tank. Generally, this is achieved by running the water through channels (also known as “risers”) in the collector. As the water moves up the collector it gets hotter and returns into the tank, ready to use.

Indirect solar water heaters

Indirect solar water heaters are designed for frost prone climates. They work similarly to direct models but rather than ‘directly’ heating the water in the solar collectors, a special fluid with anti-freeze properties is heated. This fluid, kept within an enclosed circuit in Rheem Premier Loline systems, transfers the heat to the water when it “drains back” into the tank. In this way the sun does heats the water indirectly, heating the fluid which then heats the water. Indirect heating prevents water freezing in the collectors and pipe-work, which can permanently damage the system. Indirect solar water heaters have true frost protection and do not rely on frost valves which can be unreliable.