Solar Thermal & Solar Energy | Effective Home

Is solar thermal
right for you?

Soak up the sun to heat the water in your home, reduce your bills and your carbon footprint too.

What is solar thermal

Solar water heating systems, or solar thermal systems, use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water.

A conventional boiler or immersion heater can be used to make the water hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable.

How solar thermal works

Solar thermal panels use heat from the sun to warm fluid passing through them, as the diagram below shows.

This is then used to heat your water, which is stored in a hot water cylinder.

Solar thermal panels

We install flat plate collectors which can be fixed on the roof tiles.

Effective Home will design the best system to suit your home. Our Solar Thermal Collectors do not rely on direct sunlight or high ambient temperatures. They are designed to absorb diffused light and will even produce useful amounts of heat energy on cloudy days.

A typical system for a 3-bed house:

  • 2 Solar Thermal panels collectors
  • Hot water cylinder (either open vent or unvented)
  • Pump station and controls
  • All pipework and connections

Installed from £7,495 or £72.74 a month

More information on finance
Subject to status and affordability

The benefits of solar thermal

Hot water throughout the year

The system works all year round, though you’ll need to heat the water further with a boiler or immersion heater during the winter months. Solar water heating can provide you with about a third of your hot water needs.

Reduced energy bills

Sunlight is free, so once you have paid for the initial installation your hot water costs will be reduced. You could save between £60 and £100 per year on your fuel bills. Source Energy Savings Trust.

Little maintenance

The system needs little maintenance and the cost of it is very low. It will also reduce the maintenance on your existing boiler as its operational use will be lower too.


Most solar thermal systems come with a 5 – 10 year warranty. The Effective Home system comes with a 10-year warranty.

Lower carbon footprint

Solar hot water is a green, renewable heating system and can reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.

Free home survey

How to choose a solar water heating system

When choosing a solar thermal system, you’ll need to consider four major factors:

  • Your average hot water use
  • The area of south-facing roof available
  • Your existing water heating system
  • Your budget.

You’ll need roughly one square metre of panel area per person in the household. Each metre of panel area will need between 30 and 60 litres of water-tank volume.

You’ll also need to select system components – such as a hot water cylinder, controls and pipe work – and choose the location for your solar panels, considering shade, pipe runs, roof pitch and future access.

What’s involved

A solar water-heating system involves pipe work, a thermostat and a hot water cylinder.

You can add solar thermal panels to most existing hot-water systems. However, you’ll usually need to change your existing cylinder for one with a twin coil.

It’s difficult to use a solar thermal system with a combi boiler.

This is because combi boilers heat water directly from the mains water supply and don’t have a tank; solar thermal systems supply warm, low-pressure water.

Some new combi boilers do accept pre-heated water, so check with the manufacturer.

How to get the most out of your system

Make the most from your solar hot-water system by following these tips:

  • Use as much hot water as possible from the solar-heated supply, rather than heating up in an appliance using electricity. For example, fit a mixer shower (rather than electric) and check whether any ‘hot-fill’ appliances (which could include your washing machine) can take water from your solar system.
  • Consider changing your behaviour to use more hot water in the evenings – in showers, baths and washing-up. This is when water will be hottest, as it’s had most time to heat up.
  • Ensure your back-up system is set up to switch on at the right time. Before you installed solar water heating, it was probably set to give you a full tank of hot water in the morning. But if you don’t change it, your panels will have nothing to heat during the day.
  • Insulate your pipes and water tank to make your system more efficient.
  • Follow our advice on how to set the hot water controls to get the most from your system.
  • You should also make sure that you carry out any maintenance checks from time to time to make sure the system is working efficiently. Our engineer will advise you on this.

What to expect from the survey

Every home’s solar energy system is unique.

When you book a free home survey with us, our solar expert will assess your home and rooftop to determine the best panel options, we will also recommend the best solar thermal system to suit your household, all discussed with you in detail.

Free home survey

Be quoted with confidence

You can rest assured that all quotes and estimates we provide you are independently verified by EPVS (Energy Performance Verification).

All of our solar installation jobs are sent to EPVS to be verified for quality and accuracy of our pricing and quotations. You can look into this yourself at for further information.

Free home survey

Accredited by

Choosing your Solar PV from us means that you are protected under HIES (Home Insulation & Energy Systems Quality Assured Contractors Scheme). To become a member of HIES we have passed their strict accreditation process and will be vetted annually to ensure we meet their guidelines.

Will solar thermal work for me?

How much does a solar heating system cost?

Prices start from £7,495 inclusive of VAT.

Will it work?

Solar hot water panels will work for most homes in the UK. The facing, pitch angle and size of your roof area will determine which solar thermal system is the best for your home, it will also contribute to how much energy you’ll capture.

Does solar thermal work in the winter?

Yes, a solar thermal system does work in winter. However, it will be a lot less efficient than it is over the summer. For this reason, you will likely need to rely more heavily on your boiler, immersion heater or other backup water heating system as the solar thermal installation will not be contributing the same ratio of your homes hot water.

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