How to Install Solar Water Heater: Complete Guide

You have just bought a solar water heater or you are planning to buy one. The next headache that you should think of is the solar water heater installation.

Unless you are planning to hire experts to do the water heating system installation, doing it yourself can also be a viable option.

You may end up saving some money when you choose to install the solar water heating system by yourself.

Still, even if you hire people, you can verify to determine whether they have done the installation correctly or not.

Regardless of the solar water heater that you have bought, whether it is a flat plate collector or vacuum tube, proper installation will have a direct impact on the overall performance of this heating system.

So, how do I go about with this installation?

In this guide, I am going to enlighten you on everything that you should know about a solar water heater installation.

What you need to know before installing a solar water heating system

how to install solar water heater

Even before you proceed with the solar water heater installation, there are some things that you need to know and carefully consider.

They include:

Type of solar water heater

What type of solar water heater are you planning to buy?

Would you like to buy a flat plate solar heater, vacuum tube water heater, vacuum tube solar water heater, or evacuated tube solar collector?

By knowing the type of solar water heater, you will be in a perfect position to gather the right tools that you will use for the installation process.

The capacity of the solar water heater:

Regardless of the type, solar water heating systems come in different capacities. The capacity is usually determined by the demand for hot water.

For example, a solar water heater for domestic use will be smaller than the heater for public use such as a school or factory.

You should know whether you need a 100L, 110L 300L, or any other capacity of the heater.

Knowing the right capacity will also help you create more space for the heating unit.

Source of water

Does the source of water matter when it comes to solar water heating systems?

Yes, it does because different water sources have different types of water. These water types are hard water and soft water.

Hard water has a higher mineral content than soft water. It may end up straining the performance of the flat plate collector.

Water pump used

The mode of pumping water around the solar water heater kit can influence the whole installation process.

Usually, you would like to install the heater in a way that will not constrain the overall performance of the water pump.

In addition to that, you should consider your plumbing needs for the solar hot water system.

In which direction solar water heater is installed?

If you want to optimize the performance of a solar water heater, then it is important to consider the angle of the installation.

Some angles will ensure that your flat plate collector absorbs maximum radiation which will be used for heating the water.

The direction can also influence the solar water heater efficiency.

So, which direction is the best to install the solar water heater?

As a general rule of thumb, it all depends on your geographical location: If you are in the Northern hemisphere, the collector should face south and if you are in the southern hemisphere, the collector should face North.

Check out the solar water installation diagram below for reference


From the above diagram, it is crystal clear that the direction of the collector should match with the latitude.

For example, if you are installing the solar water heater in London, UK,(latitude of 51° North, the collector should be aligned to face 51° North south.

This does not mean that you should strain to achieve high accuracy levels during the installation. Any angle around the designated figures should work easily result in an efficient solar water heater.


You should also consider the shading factor when choosing the perfect direction for the solar water heater installation.

By this, I mean the presence of other objects that can block the solar radiation from reaching the heater directly.

The solar panel water heater point of installation should have full exposure to sunlight between 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

These are the hours during which the collector is expected to absorb maximum radiation.

The radiation should not be obstructed by physical features and infrastructures such as buildings, and mountains.

Once you find a perfect spot, you can tilt the solar collector to a perfect angle so that it can absorb maximum solar radiation.