Solar Water Heaters: Switch to This Alternative to Save Energy (and Money)

A solar water heater sits on a rooftop in Brazil.


Lucas Ninno/Getty Images

Rising prices and what often feels like an energy crisis might mean you’re paying more attention to how your home uses energy. If you want to save some money on your bills, start with your water heater. That unassuming boiler in your basement can use 14% to 18% or your home’s monthly energy budget, according to the Department of Energy.

While simply turning down your water heater’s temperature is a great place to start, in some cases using a different fuel source altogether can make an even larger difference. Case in point: Solar water heaters use the sun’s warmth to heat water. While widely adopted in parts of the world, they aren’t terribly popular in the US at this point. 

Given their cost, and the (until recently) dropping price of solar panels, solar water heaters may not make sense for many homeowners. But in certain cases they can still reduce your carbon footprint and save you a bit of money.

Below is everything you need to know before you stick one on your roof, including whether you should at all. You can also learn about whether unplugging your appliances really saves you money, and 28 ways to cut your home costs right now

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