A booster button is a button that is often installed inside your house that enables you to manually boost your solar hot water system when you may not have enough hot water from the sun, this water heater booster button engages the element to run and top up your solar hot water system with the electric element.
The quick answer is no, you don’t need a booster button however there are people who enjoy having this feature as it gives them complete power over when the element is engaged. The benefit of this is that you are in control and quick easy installation. But in my opinion, it’s kind of pointless for the following reasons.
- Inevitably you will only ever press the booster button when you have no hot water. Then you have to wait an hour or so for the element to heat the water to enable you to have a shower or do the dishes. This to me seems counterintuitive as you want hot water on demand, right? You don’t necessarily want to wait around to be able to have a shower.
- Every solar hot water system is built with a thermostat. The thermostat is the brain of your solar hot water system, it tells the element when to heat, and when not to heat. For example, the thermostat will instruct the element to start heating when you don’t have enough hot water in the tank. This generally happens when the sun isn’t supplying enough hot water for your consumption, like at night or on cloudy rainy days.
Therefore the thermostat is basically an automatic booster button that tells the element to start heating when there isn’t enough hot water. It will only do this when the temperature of the water within the hot water tank is below 60 degrees (or to what the thermostat is set). The element will not be required when the sun is shining or when the tank water heater is already at the desired water temperature.
This seems pretty straightforward to me, let the water heater and thermostat do the job. It’s designed for and to give you hot water when you need it not when you tell it to. However, there are two arguments to this story, as my father in law loves his booster switch and the ability to control his power usage when and how he wants. Yet, he also doesn’t mind a cold shower at times and sees that a cold shower is good for you and makes you feel alive.
But if you ask my opinion, or that of my family, a hot shower when you want it far outweighs the cents you save on power by having a booster button.