Solar Hot Water Systems: Are You Really Saving Money?

If there’s one thing we can all get behind, it’s the idea of saving on our energy bills. After all, what could be more appealing than living the same lifestyle with a smaller price tag?

And, hey, if we can save money while also living more sustainably and reducing our carbon footprint, so much the better, right? You may have heard that solar hot water systems can help you to make substantial savings. You might even have invested in one already. On the other hand, you may be looking into getting a solar hot water system but aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger just yet. You might want to investigate whether or not a solar hot water system really lives up to the bold claims.

So, do solar hot water systems really save you money? Or is it all a clever marketing gimmick? We don’t blame frugal and cautious consumers for wanting to know a little more before parting with their hard-earned money. Let’s take a look at how a solar hot water system can save you money and how much you can expect to save.

How solar hot water systems work

In order to understand how this kind of system can save you money we need to take a closer look at how they work.

Just as a solar panel can be used to generate electricity, it can also be used to heat water with energy drawn from the sun. It’s a more efficient way to heat your water than by converting solar energy into electricity which is then transferred into heat energy.

There are two types of solar hot water systems:

  • Flat Plate Collectors– Used with a roof mounted tank
  • Evacuated Tubes– With a standalone tank below

Which system is best for you depends on your home’s setup and location. Evacuated tubes are more appropriate for homes which are prone to frost in the colder months. However, the energy benefits are much the same, with evacuated tubes being slightly more efficient as they don’t require direct sunlight and can even work well in high humidity.

How Flat Plate Collectors work

Copper pipes run through the glass- covered collector, usually connecting to a water storage tank on the roof. The sun heats the copper pipes and the heated water within is then thermo-siphoned out of the storage tank.

How Evacuated Tubes work

Two glass tubes fused together at the top and bottom. The space between the two tubes is evacuated to create a vacuum. A copper heat pipe runs through the centre of the tube to meet a common manifold. That then connects to a slow flow circulation pump. This pumps water to a storage tank below, heating the water throughout the day. Because the standalone tank is so well insulated, hot water can be used at night or even the next day.

What’s more, if the water in the tank drops below a certain temperature, an electric pump distributes it back to the pipes to be reheated. Check out this post to see more about how evacuated tubes work.

But, what about the days when there’s no sunlight?

Don’t worry, you won’t have to bathe in tepid water on winter days when the sun isn’t out. Most systems work in tandem with either a gas or electric booster which supplements the solar hot water system when there’s insufficient energy from the sun.

So, how much could you save?

As you can see, both methods are very efficient and sustainable ways to heat your water… But can they really save you that much?

The short answer is, yes. Yes they can!

In fact, according to the Department of Environment and Climate Change NSW, a solar hot water system can save you up to 75% on your water heating costs when compared to electric storage heaters or gas boilers.

According to Sustainability Victoria, a home with 3-4 people using heating roughly 200l of water an electric storage heater will spend $1,337 a year on peak tariff or $859 off peak. When using an electric boosted solar hot water system, however, this figure drops to just $293 (off peak).

Rebates and subsidies

Of course, aside from the ongoing savings you can make on your energy bills, the government’s green incentives can see you get a substantial portion of your installation costs back via rebates and subsidies under the Federal Government under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000.

As you can see, there are many environmental and cost advantages to solar hot water systems.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, Click Here to get in touch with us today.

Solar Hot Water Repairs: 4 Times They Went Horribly Wrong!

Ask anyone who’s had a solar hot water system installed and they’ll tell you that they’ve never looked back. After all, it’s by far the most cost-efficient way to heat your water, saving you up to 75% on your water heating costs.

What’s more, generous federal incentives mean that you can get installation subsidies and enjoy years of low cost hot water… All while getting the warm fuzzy glow inside that comes from knowing that you’re doing good for the planet.

Yet, while solar hot water systems are state of the art and easy to maintain, as with any form of technology it has its horror stories. From cowboy installers to have-a-go heroes attempting their own repairs, there have been times when solar hot water systems have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Let’s take a look at 4 particularly unfortunate solar hot water fails…

When naive consumer meets unrealistic claims

Let’s begin with a story from the USA. A customer had a contractor install a solar water heating system with a heating coil that connected to his HVAC system. For this he paid the princely sum of $18,000 USD ($25961 AUD). The contractor claimed that this system would heat his water while supplementing the heating load for his HVAC in winter. The system consisted of an 80-gallon storage tank with 2 solar collectors mounted on a steep, west-facing roof.

However, the system was neither heating his water nor reducing his energy bills.

Oh dear.

But when we think about it, it becomes clear that neither the customer nor the contractor knew what to expect from this installation.

A steeply-angled, west-facing hot water system will only produce at most around 80% of what would be produced by a south-facing hot water system. Plus, because it gets fewer hours of sunlight in the winter months, that customer can expect a lot of cold baths in winter. Plus, the angle of incidence is poor so what little sun did hit the panels would mainly glance off in the winter.

The customer responded in the most American way possible… He sued the contractor.

Lesson Learned: Know your expectations and do a little homework. Plus, there’s no such thing as doing too much due diligence on your contractor.

The customer who almost made a terrible, terrible mistake

We live in the “big box” era. Many cost-conscious consumers will instinctively search for the lowest priced version of what they’re looking for in a “big box” store or online. And while this might be fine for a Playstation 4 or even a laptop… It’s not the safest bet for a flat plate solar collector. Heaven knows where the customer found his solar collector but when he removed it from its packaging he found that there was no mounting system. At all. How did he expect to attach it to his roof? Glue it on?!?

Lesson Learned: Resist the temptation to look for solar hot water systems online and leave installation to the professionals.

The customer who cut his repair costs in all the wrong places

When something goes awry with your solar hot water system, you want it back up and running again as soon as possible. But in your zeal to get your solar hot water system back on its proverbial feet, don’t cut corners in ways which could come back to bite you.

One customer thought that he could save money on repairs by buying his own water pump on eBay and getting a contractor to install it. However, a substandard unbranded electrical pump can create more problems than it solves. In this instance, the pump limped along for a couple of weeks before dying again.

Lesson Learned: Always consult with your installing contractor before replacing parts… And be mindful of where you source them from.

Beware the dangers of self-diagnosis!

Speaking of electrical pumps; one customer, upon noticing that he wasn’t getting as much hot water as he should be, decided to perform a self-diagnosis. He diagnosed / assumed the heat pump to be at fault because that was the only visible component. So he replaced it… Only to be met with the exact same problem.

The trouble is that there are a number of less visible links in the chain which could lead to issues that are easily mis-diagnosed as heat pump issues. Floating sediment can impede thermal transference coefficients. Conductor-to-water couplings can be damaged or misaligned and collector panels can become insecure in their mountings.

Lesson Learned: Save yourself the potentially expensive guesswork. Always use a qualified technician for your repairs.

Why none of this will ever happen to you

Of course, none of this will ever happen to you because you use King Solarman for your solar hot water system installations and repairs. We have over 22 years experience in the hot water industry and can guarantee you quality service and workmanship at all times. We are licensed and Solar Endorsed professionals and are fully insured for your peace of mind. All of our repair staff are employed directly by us and are covered by our workmanship guarantee.

When to Call for Solar Hot Water Repairs and Service

All solar hot water systems require periodic inspections and routine maintenance, and from time to time some components may need to be replaced.

There are a few indicators that you need to call for a Solar hot water service. Take a look at some of the early warning signs below and you should get a good idea of when to call for solar hot water repairs or a service. Continue reading “When to Call for Solar Hot Water Repairs and Service”

7 Benefits of Solar Hot Water

Are you searching for a way to make your home or property greener and more eco-efficient? There are lots of possibilities on the market that allow you to do this and each bring different advantages. However, one of the best options is certainly solar water. With solar water, energy is used from the sun to provide hot water for your home, business or property. Solar water has become incredibly popular as of late for a variety of reasons which we will discuss. You might think that your home needs to be in a certain location for a solar hot water set up to benefit you. The reality, however, is that this isn’t true at all and solar hot water systems can be great for everyone.

So, let’s look at the advantages that you can gain by incorporating a setup like this into your home.

Continue reading “7 Benefits of Solar Hot Water”

How do You Know if You Need Solar Hot Water Repairs

Solar water systems are growing in popularity precisely because of how effective and efficient they can be. However, like every other utility system in the home, they can suffer damage and deteriorate over time. Repairs and replacements are essential, but what is the turning point that shows that professional help is necessary? Here, we’re going to look at some of the signs that you’re in need of a certified repair person from hot water specialists like King Solar Man.

Continue reading “How do You Know if You Need Solar Hot Water Repairs”

6 Things About Solar Hot Water That You May Not Have Known


If you’re looking for ways to make your home greener or perhaps to save money, installing a solar hot water system is a great idea. A solar hot water system uses energy from the sun to heat water, which helps you to reduce your reliance on conventional water heating systems. They can be a great choice for your home or perhaps for your business. You might be considering a solar hot water system if you’re hoping to reduce your carbon footprint or perhaps lower your bills. Before you invest in one, here are some things that you should know.

Continue reading “6 Things About Solar Hot Water That You May Not Have Known”

Sun Ray Qld Pty Ltd – In Liquidation – Spare Parts are Available!

Sun Ray Qld Pty Ltd has gone into liquidation as at 23 February 2018.

As their ex service agent, we carry all spare parts for Sun Ray systems – both Thermosiphon or Split Systems.

We have spare parts available and can supply and install these.

If you’re looking for elements, thermostats, valves including frost valves, just give us a call on 0416 075 682!




Need a New Shower Head? Get this Kohler Flipside Supplied and Installed for $175

Need a new shower head?  Well checkout this quality Kohler Flipside shower head.

4 Spray options:Kohler Flipside Shower Head

  • Koverage – traditional, soothing spray;
  • Kotton – dense, soft relaxing spray;Kohler Shower Head - 4 Stages
  • Exhilirating, drenching spray;
  • Kurrent – targeted massage spray

Simply flip the pivoting head on its axis to change spray function.  Each spray is adjustable for different user heights and its simple and easy to use for all ages.

3 star rating at 8.5 litres per minute.

Continue reading “Need a New Shower Head? Get this Kohler Flipside Supplied and Installed for $175”

Electric Hot Water System – A New Installation – What’s Included in the Price?

Okay, so your current electric hot water system has died and it’s time for another one!  You’re hunting around for the best price but not sure if you’re comparing apples with apples or apples with oranges.

We can supply you with a new tank and/or valves or you can supply your own.  Either way, here’s what we include with our standard electric hot water system installations:

  • All plumbing including installation of new valves – tempering valve, isolation valve, cold water expansion valve, pressure limiting valve, temperature and pressure relief valve (this valve is usually supplied with the tank);
  • Tank base – concrete ripple slab, pizza base or polyslab;
  • Electrical disconnection and reconnection;
  • Pipework insulated – in accordance with the current Australian Plumbing Standards;
  • Overflow – run into stormwater drain or sewer drain or into a gravel pit in accordance with the current Australian Plumbing Standards;
  • Removal and disposal of old system;
  • Plumbing Form 4 submission;

Continue reading “Electric Hot Water System – A New Installation – What’s Included in the Price?”