Solar Water Heating

Integral Collector Storage Systems

Passive systems are so named because they have no moving parts and operate using local water pressure and solar radiation. There are no pumps or controls to maintain and no electrical energy is required to make it function.

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In an Integral Collector Storage (ICS) System as shown in Figure 5, the hot water storage system is the collector. Cold water flows progressively through the collector where it is heated by the sun. Hot water is drawn from the top, which is the hottest, and replacement water flows into the bottom. This system is simple because pumps and controllers are not required. On demand, cold water from the house flows into the collector and hot water from the collector flows to a standard hot water auxiliary tank within the house.

Figure 5

A flush-type freeze protection valve is installed in the top plumbing near the collector. As temperatures near freezing, this valve opens to allow relatively warm water to flow through the collector to prevent freezing. In south Florida and certain areas of central Florida, the thermal mass of the large water volume within the ICS collector provides a means of freeze protection.

Material from: Florida Solar Energy Center
John Harrison & Tom Tiedeman FSEC-EN-9 Revised May 1997