Where Is The Booster Switch For Solar Hot Water?

Last Updated on July 11th, 2023

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Solar panels aren’t just useful for powering your home. The heat energy captured from the sun can also be used to heat water that you might use for things like showers or washing dishes.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a standardized area where a solar hot water system booster switch is installed.

Some people have the booster switch installed outside their house as part of their exterior electrical box or near a meter measure. Some have switches inside their homes.

Read on to learn more about where to find the booster switch for your solar hot water system, what the switch does, and more.

A house with solar panels on top - Where Is The Booster Switch For Solar Hot Water?

What is a Hot Water Booster Switch?

Solar hot water systems capture heat from the sun and use it to heat a tank of water so that you always have hot water. But what about at night when there is no sunlight and heat to capture?

Aside from having thick insulation to keep water warm for as long as possible, there are booster switches. These switches can be timed or manual electric circuits that, when activated, direct electricity through a heating element in the water reserve to heat it.

Booster switches can also use things like natural gas to heat the water tank, but electricity is more commonplace. This is useful when you need hot water late at night or if you need more hot water anticipated during the day.


Where is it Usually Placed?

Sadly, it doesn’t seem like there is a standardized placement within the solar hot water system industry. Many people state that theirs is housed in the same box or area as many other electrical wires run into the house. This means they are usually outside the house.

Some people might have a booster switch with other similar switches, like breakers in a breaker box. Other people say that their booster switch is conveniently located in the ensuite bathroom of the primary bedroom or near a kitchen sink.

If you’re getting a solar hot water system installed, you might be able to request a specific placement, but it’s also possible to just not have a booster switch at all.


Why do Solar Water Heaters have Booster Switches?

Solar water heaters generally have a booster switch just in case you need more hot water or the water isn’t hot enough.

However, most people find that they don’t need to use the booster switch until later in the day when there isn’t enough sunlight to keep water temperatures high in the reserve tank.

By simply flipping the booster switch or pressing a similar booster button, you override the system and tell it to use an integrated heating element to heat water to the desired temperature or to get more water to a higher temperature in general.


Can You Reset the Solar Hot Water system?

Yes, you can technically reset a solar hot water system, but there is little reason to do so yourself most of the time. For example, if you don’t have hot water for a shower, chances are that you simply ran out of hot water as opposed to there being a problem with the system.

When you get a system like this installed, your installer should provide you with instructions on how to turn off all the components of a solar hot water system. This involves shutting off the system’s water, electrical, and gas parts which might be complicated or hazardous.

Even if you do manage to turn off all the components, it is unlikely that just turning it back on will solve whatever issue you encounter. Instead, you should call a professional about the problem, especially if you suspect any leak in the system.

Note that a booster switch or button is not used to reset the solar hot water system.


How Long Does it Take to Boost Hot water?

Heating a full tank of water from a tepid temperature can take quite a while, depending on the size of your system. Most people report that it is much like a normal water heater, taking at least an hour or so before some good hot water is available for use.

If you have a small system, it may take less time to heat up, and if you boost the system before the water in the tank starts to cool at the end of the day, you might be able to expect shorter waiting times before having hot water.


Final Thoughts on Where Is The Booster Switch For Solar Hot Water

Booster switches are an extra part of a solar hot water system that can be used to raise the temperature of stored water, typically during times of the day when there is no solar energy to do it automatically or when there is high demand for hot water.

The switch or button location varies a lot, so you may have to search your house for it before you can use it. However, many people cite having it in their electrical box or near their meter outside the home.

While it may be nice to have, many solar hot water systems have a thermostat built in that typically keeps the water at or above a predetermined temperature. It will do so with solar power when available and its integrated heating element without solar power.

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