Top 10 Solar Water Heaters: Costs, Plus Pros & Cons

The best 2022 solar water heaters for whole-house residential use (not for pools, hot tubs or camping shower bags!) are available in two types, active and passive models.

Active vs. Passive Solar Water Heaters

The first major decision you have is which system type to select – and your local weather and climate are going to be a major factor.

In short, you can install either active or passive system in a warm climate, but where winter freezes are possible, an active system that employs antifreeze is essential. — These are indirect systems.

Here are more details describing each type:

Passive solar water heaters rely on water pressure from a municipal water supply or a well pump to move heated water from the tank through your plumbing. They are easier to install and cost significantly less. Heated water rises into the storage tank through convection/buoyancy in thermosiphon systems or it flows to the storage tanks in integrated models.

Thermosiphon heat-exchanger tank – passive solar hot water system

Active solar water heaters have circulation pumps circulating antifreeze plus more control features to regulate temperature and protect the unit from freezing in cold weather.

Active solar hot water system – how it works

Direct vs. Indirect Water Heating

Direct systems heat potable water sent directly to a storage tank or tankless water heater for use as domestic hot water – the water coming from your hot water taps or connected to a dishwasher or clothes washer.

Indirect systems circulate antifreeze, usually propylene glycol, that is heated in the solar collectors. The heated liquid is pumped through a coil of pipe in a hot water storage tank or through a heat exchanger that transfers heat to the potable water in the tank.

Top Solar Water Heaters in 2022

  1. Duda SUS304 240 Liter – Passive
  2. Sunbank 80 Gallon – Passive
  3. Rheem SolarAide – Passive
  4. Apricus WOMBAT Pressurized ET – Thermosiphon Solar Water Heater (Passive)
  5. Duda Standard 240 Liter – Passive
  6. Apricus PV Powered – Split Pump Forced Solar Water Heating System (Passive)
  7. Rheem SolPak with Electric Backup 80 Gallon – Electric Solar Water Heater (Active)
  8. Duda 300 Liter – Active
  9. Sun Earth SolaRay 2 – Active
  10. Northern Lights SWH-2 – 2 x TZ58 1800 30R – Active

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New Gas Furnace Prices & Installation Costs 2023: Top Brands

A gas furnace remains the most popular heat source in homes across the country.

Today’s furnaces are affordable and efficient, a cost-effective choice when you select a model that is right for your region’s climate and the level of indoor comfort you want.

Selecting the ideal furnace for your home can be done in a few steps that we’ll guide you through.

New Gas Furnace Installation Cost

For a fully installed furnace, plan to spend between $4,500 and $8,500, on average. Most new furnace units are currently priced between $1,600 and $5,000, but professional installation with the contractor obtaining a building permit and getting the completed job inspected is almost always in your best interest, for reasons we’ll explain below.

The current national average (80% range) is about $5,000-$7,500 for a new gas furnace fully installed.

Furnaces with 90% and higher efficiency average $6,400 to $10,000. These gas furnace costs include any necessary building permits and inspections, a new gas furnace unit and standard supplies, professional installation, and a typical 5-year to 10-year workmanship warranty from the installer.

Most HVAC contractors typically charge between $75 to $125 per hour for their work, and may include an assistant, or a team of three to complete the job faster. Their helpers often cost $50+ an hour as well when you consider the worker’s comp on top of their base pay.

Professional installation generally requires 10-man hours at a minimum, but can easily go up to 15-20 hours due to many reasons, usually related to adjusting or updating the forced air system, providing additional ductwork, removing, and disposing of the old boiler/furnace, removing old radiators, etc.

If significant updates are needed to your per-existing ductwork or if there is no ductwork currently in place, this can add anywhere from $5,500 to $15,500 to the total cost of the job.

Typically, it will cost under $10,000 for new ductwork or modifications to the existing ductwork, and often these additional charges are only steep if/when converting from say an electric furnace or oil boiler to a gas furnace, which requires new ductwork for forced air heating to work.

Other costs that may be included are removal and disposal of an older furnace (about $750-$1,500 extra), and miscellaneous materials and supplies needed to complete the installation.

*Other Extras: Gas line, vent, wiring and circuit breaker. If your project is furnace replacement vs a new furnace, some of the old equipment should be usable for the new furnace.

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Gas Furnace Brands to Avoid and Top Reasons Why

Furnace brands to avoid are:

  • York and other Johnson Controls brands
  • Maytag and other Nortek Global brands
  • Entry-level Lennox Merit Series
  • DIY brands like Airquest and Goodman

There are other brands, too, all listed and explained below.

The general rule is to stay away from Johnson Control brands (York, Luxaire, Coleman & Champion), Nortek brands (Maytag, Frigidaire, Gibson & Broan) and anything sold online or at Home Depot as a DIY option.

As for Lennox, avoid its cheapest units – and a couple of its most complex furnaces because they are prone to mechanical failure. And the more complex the furnace, the higher the repair bill when it breaks down.

What is on this page about furnace brands to avoid? This page has a list of the worst brands and furnace types and why you should not buy them. Reasons are explained, so you can decide for yourself.

Poor quality and/or installation: It’s more than just furnace quality, though that’s at least half of the equation. The rest of it surrounds installation – which is a huge factor in how durable a furnace will be.

Furnace Brands to Avoid Because of Bad Quality

Some HVAC manufacturers make inferior furnaces. It doesn’t matter if the “Furnace Technician of the Year” installs them, they won’t have the durability of a Trane or a Carrier. There are two families of brands that make the worst gas furnaces.

Avoid Maytag, Broan, Frigidaire and Gibson Furnaces

These are four identical brands manufactured by Nortek Global. Never heard of the company. It was Nordyne until the name change in 2015, if that name rings a bell.

This company also made Tappan and Westinghouse furnaces, but those brands have been retired.

Top Reasons to Avoid These Furnaces

  • Poor quality parts plus design issues in these furnaces leads to them breaking down early and often compared to quality furnace brands.
  • Parts that failed at an unacceptably high rate, along with pro repair cost, include:
  • Draft inducer motors ($390-$800)
  • Control boards ($275 – $600)
  • Gas valve assemblies ($300 – $500)
  • Heat exchangers ($1,500+ or a new furnace)
  • Cheaper parts with a higher-than-average failure rate include various sensors ($125 – $225) and igniters ($100 – $175).
  • One pro installer gives insight into what might be causing most of these issues. Keep in mind that moisture is a byproduct of natural gas combustion.
  • The technician, Jason F, said, “There is entirely too much moisture building up inside these units and they are shorting out the motors and the control board.”
  • That shoe seems to fit the major complaints from homeowners who are frustrated with these brands. The technician says that the “fix” for one of the issues is to “put the control board in a plastic bag…” OK then. That’s not going to solve the issue.
  • The installer goes on to criticize in graphic language the cheapness of Nortek – in this case Maytag – parts and sheet metal. Anecdotal, yes, but not isolated. This is what we’re hearing from pros around the country.

*What about MrCool gas furnaces? Did you know MrCool makes furnaces? Well, they don’t. MrCool-branded furnaces are Nortek Global furnaces, identical to Maytag models. Perhaps that is all that needs to be said.

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