Build Your Own Solar Water Heater

Build Your Own Solar Water Heater

You Can Easily Build Your Own Solar Water Heater and Save up to 33% Off Your Electric Bill Every Month While Helping the Environment. Solar hot water systems produce clean, non-polluting energy. A single hot water system can offset the equivalent of approximately 40% of the carbon dioxide emissions of a modern passenger car. They are safe for our environment, safe for plants, safe for animals and safe for all of us. By following the step by step directions contained within our guide, you will be able to build and install your solar water heating system. A solar water heater poses no threat to the operation of your existing water heater. In fact, installing a solar water heater can prolong the life of your conventional water heater. Read more...

Build Your Own Solar Water Heater Summary


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Solar Water Heater Guide Review

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Supplementing Your Domestic Water Heater

Surveying systems to supplement your domestic water heater Doing your pre-project homework Installing systems for a variety of applications Using solar-supported radiant heat floors An electric water heater supplying a family of four uses 11.4 barrels of oil per year. That's more oil than that consumed by a medium-sized auto driven 12,000 miles per year, at 22 mpg, which uses only 11.1 barrels. When you install a solar water heater to supplement your domestic water supply, you're producing all the energy on site, in your collectors. There's no pollution at all. In this chapter, I run through some of your options for supplementing your domestic water heater with solar power. I discuss the various systems, explain installation, and even talk a bit about warming your house with radiant heat. (For details on the basics of solar water heating, including info on solar collectors and other components, see Chapter 10.) By changing some habits, you can literally reduce the energy workload on...

Cheaping Out on Water Heater Systems

If you review the availability of solar water heater systems, you'll find a large range of prices and performances, and you'll discover that some systems don't work very well in cold climates. If you're in a climate where temperatures can drop below freezing, the pipes or the collector in some solar water heaters can burst (but the manufacturer will never tell you that). The point of all this Be very thorough when researching and selecting a solar water heater system. It's the best thing under the sun, but it can be the worst if you don't do your homework.

Using Just About Every Tool in the Box to Install a Solar Water Heater

If you want to install a solar water heater, you have to be good at plumbing, electrical wiring, solder joints, PV panel installation, copper tube cutting, climbing around on roofs, figuring out what to do when things don't fit right, and that's just for starters. You need to understand water pressure and how it can cause pipe weld joints to burst at the worst possible times. You need to understand what happens in cold weather to water that might freeze in an exposed pipe. You need to know how to evacuate closed systems of air and how to burp and drain pipes completely, or else you'll be sorry. In other words, installing a solar water heater is a do-it-yourselfer's dream come true Chapter 10 has loads of information to get you started. Enjoy.

Copper Cricket Solar Water Heater

I have only one design principle (apart that it should work) whenever I engineer anything it should be simple. Thus I was deeply smitten by the concept of the Copper Cricket Solar Water Heater when it was first described in these pages (HP 8). It was the design I was waiting for to substitute the sun for our water tank's electric heater. No pumps, no electricity, no wires, no relays, no solenoids, NO MOVING PARTS -- and it would pump from the roof 30 feet above my tank in the basement with no freezeup in our below zero winter weather. they slipped up. One of the flush valves was put in backwards -so the part of the loop needing flushing every few months couldn't be flushed. I didn't find this out till the next summer -- because I got sloppy and let the time slip by. (Read below for the details.) Flexibility is a sign of maturity -- except in copper tubing The other aspect of the installation which troubled me was not any mistake on their part they installed the...

How Long Does it Take to Pay Off a Solar Water Heater

This graph, calculated by Paul Shippee of Colorado Sunworks, P.O. Box 455, Boulder, projects the costs of heating water with electricity, propane, and natural gas over the next several years. It also gives you an indication of how long it should take to pay for a solar water heater. Shippee's figures, although they vary slightly, are very close to our own. Graph 1. This graph, calculated by Paul Shippee of Colorado Sunworks, P.O. Box 455, Boulder, projects the costs of heating water with electricity, propane, and natural gas over the next several years. It also gives you an indication of how long it should take to pay for a solar water heater. Shippee's figures, although they vary slightly, are very close to our own.

Water Heater

If you're like many of us, the words tankless water heater might sound like a contradiction in terms. But in much of the world, tankless (also called instantaneous, demand, or on-demand ) water heaters are the norm they are compact, never run out of hot water, and can be more energy efficient than familiar tank-style heaters. Certain tankless models can be a good choice as a backup heater for solar hot water systems as well. If your old water heater is failing, or if you're building a new home, this increasingly popular and efficient technology might be the right choice for you. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), water heating is an average household's third largest energy user, accounting for about 13 percent of its energy consumption. So no matter how you heat your water, efficiency is critical if you're planning on saving energy and whittling down your utility bills. A tankless water heater can help you achieve some energy savings, depending on your circumstances....

Water heaters

Don't install a solar water heater if you don't understand its engineering, particularly its dangers and maintenance requirements. Water heaters can be problematic in hot weather. When a solar panel sits in the direct sun long enough, the water can sometimes get to over the boiling point. Solar panels have been known to rupture from steam pressure, which can burn (not to mention cost a lot to fix). Or the pipes can fill with superheated water and burst inside your house. Always keep children away from solar water heating systems and the associated pipes. Also, add some safety measures to your valves. Most solar water heaters have valves for controlling flows and evacuating equipment for various reasons, such as performing maintenance or keeping water from freezing in the pipes in cold weather. Children love to play with valves, so buy valves with padlock loops to prevent children from reaching up and twisting a valve with superheated water.

How Much Does Hot Water Cost

When you get a conventional hot water heater from the factory, the thermostat is normally preset at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. That's a lot hotter Yet all indications are that most people don't partly because they don't know they should, and partly because thermostats, particularly ones on older electric water heaters, are hard to find, much less get at. Because this is the case, let's use 165 degrees as a point of departure so we can do some arithmetic.

Building the Transfer System

The energy transfer system in a solar water heater is nothing more than good old fashioned plumbing. We move heat energy from the source (the absorber plate in the collector) to the storage area (the hot water tank) through pipes. This transfer system may be regulated in some cases by a control system, which usually takes the form of a pump, some valves and a differential thermostat, but this is not nearly so complicated as it sounds. (All of these last things will be discussed in Chapter 9.) Plastic plumbing can't stand the heat in a high-performance solar water heater (although we do recommend plastic tubing for a solar system to heat swimming pool water see Chapter 10). Most of the joints and fittings will be fine until one blistering hot day when there's lots of sun. When the water temperature gets very high say 200 degrees something will give out, and suddenly you'll have a serious leak and a major repair job. Sometime soon there will be plastic plumbing systems that can...

How Can You Build Your Own Absorber Plate

Season Solar Water Heater

Both the Florida Energy Committee and the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia have published excellent pamphlets on how to build solar collectors. The one from Florida is called How to Build a Solar Water Heater and costs 3.49. The Langley book, published by the G.S. Department of Commerce, is entitled An Inexpensive Solar Heating System for Homes. Its price is 4.25 (see bibliography).

How Do Thermosyphon Systems Work

Selfmade Thermosiphon Solar

In the most simple thermosyphoning solar water heater, the main body of water (the storage tank) is always located at the highest point in the system. Downward pressure from the tank displaces water in the cold water tube (which runs out near the base of the tank) and eventually forces it into the channels of the absorber plate, located in the collectors below. Figure 78. This simple demonstration, which you probably saw in the 5th grade, explains how the downward leg of a thermosyphoning solar water heater works. If the tube is evacuated (air is taken out), and container 2 is below the bottom of container 1, normal atmospheric pressure will force water into the tube. As long as the tube stays filled with water, the upper container will drain. This is half of the reason why water (or antifreeze solution) will circulate naturally in a thermosyphon. Figure 78. This simple demonstration, which you probably saw in the 5th grade, explains how the downward leg of a thermosyphoning solar...

How Much Hot Water Do We

Coil Heat Exchanger Schematic

All of this averages out to 2,500 gallons of hot water a month for a family of 5, or 30,000 gallons a year. That may be twice as much as we actually need, but it's what we're used to. This can be reduced of course, in any number of ways by lowering the thermostat on the hot water heater, nsulating hot water tanks and pipes, using cold water detergents and washing clothes in cold water, and best of all taking a shower with a friend.

How Much Do Solar Reflectors Help

Free Energy Friction Water Heater

A thermosyphon solar water heater uses a free-circulating panel. Notice how the direction of the fluid flow is upward and that there are no pumps to keep the water moving. This is because hot water naturally rises, while cold water seeks the lowest point in the system. Figure 31. A thermosyphon solar water heater uses a free-circulating panel. Notice how the direction of the fluid flow is upward and that there are no pumps to keep the water moving. This is because hot water naturally rises, while cold water seeks the lowest point in the system.

Heating and Purifying Water

Rhe sun is a perfect water heater all you have to do is expose water to sunlight, and it warms up with zero pollution. Heating water is easier than creating electricity for the do-it-yourselfer, and it usually makes more economical sense as a first step. Even if you decide to put in a large-scale electrical system, you should first consider installing a solar water heater because you can then specify a smaller electrical system. The ratio of dollars-saved on your power bill to dollars-invested is usually better for solar water heating than solar electrical generation. You can spend less than a few hundred dollars on the simplest system, or you can spend upwards of 5,000 for the most complex. In this chapter, I go through the basics of heating water with the sun, from collectors to flow systems to mounting the systems. I also help you decide whether to do the work yourself or hire a contractor. Finally, I offer you an easy water purification project so you can break into the water...

Pressurized Glycol Systems

Backup Water Heater Backup Water Heater On a sunny day, the water in your collectors can reach scalding temperatures. A tempering valve can save you from a 160 F (70 C) shower. Ouch The tempering valve goes at the very end of the chain, right after the backup water heater and before the faucet. If the water coming out of the backup heater is too hot, the tempering valve opens to mix cold water back in and prevent scalding. The temperature of the hot water can be set by the user on most valves. For instance, a popular valve allows setting between 120 and 160 F (49-71 C). Backup Water Heater Backup Water Heater For instance, for a one- to two-person household in a temperate climate where hard freezing rarely occurs, I might propose a batch heater, especially if the hot water will be used more at the end of the day rather than first thing in the morning. In a household with three or more people, where aesthetics and weight are not an issue, the thermosyphon system might fit the bill,...

Harnessing the Sun to Heat Your Water

Solar water heaters, when properly designed and installed, are great investments because they are much cheaper than PV systems, which are often out of the average person's financial range. Most homeowners can afford a few thousand dollars for a solar water heater system without taking out loans. A benefit of solar water heaters is that you'll never need to conserve on hot water, regardless of how high energy rates go. It makes no sense to use a solar system at less than its full capacity, because it saves nothing. As far as utility costs, if you're on a tiered rate structure, a solar water heater cuts into the most expensive part of your power bill first. For example, if you save 18 percent of the electrical energy you use, you may be able to save about 30 percent of your total power bill (see Chapter 6 for more details).

Installing an All Weather Closed Loop Antifreeze System

A special water-heater tank incorporating a heat exchanger works in conjunction with one or more flat-plate, roof-mounted collectors (see Chapter 10 for details on flat-plate collectors). Glycol, or some equivalent antifreeze fluid, fills the collector and associated routing pipes. A controller measures the temperature in the collector fluid, as well as the temperature in the hot water tank. When heat's available for transfer, pumps are activated to move the collector fluid. The hot water heater tank also has a backup means for independent heating, either gas or electric. Back-up Water Heater Back-up Water Heater

Installing an ICS Batch System for Mild Climates

Figure 12-2 shows a simple and effective system for preheating the water that goes to your existing domestic water heater. Over the course of a sunny day, the water in the collector heats up from solar radiation. Due to the insulation, heat doesn't exit the system anywhere nearly as quickly as it enters. Because of the thermosiphon effect, hotter water migrates to the upper copper tube (even when no water flows, the heat will flow) so that the water that ultimately flows down into your water heater tank (when a faucet is opened in the house) is the hottest water from the collector. Batch water heater supplement system. Residential Water Heater Tank Residential Water Heater Tank Batch water heater supplement system. If you mount heavy collectors close to the edge of your roof, the rafter load will be easier to handle because the load will be directly over a load-bearing wall. And if you mount one of these collectors right near your water heater, you can use as little as 8 feet of...

Passive Solar Hot Water

My husband and I live on the Salmon River in very rural Siskiyou County, Northern California. Our cabin is about half way between two of the three historic mining communities located on the river. All three towns and the mountainous areas surrounding them are off the power grid. We use primarily microhydro and are now incorporating solar into our system. In the past we've heated our house and water with wood. There are portions of each summer here when high fire danger allows no stove fires. You can't even use a chainsaw in the woods then. Just because we can't have stove fires doesn't mean we can't have hot water. Supplementing our wood stove heated water system we added an amazingly simple passive solar water heater. It's the IDEA that counts. In order to get an idea of amounts and lengths needed, I am giving you the measurements of our solar water heater. But, remember, this system is very easy and adaptable to your space, materials and needs. So have fun.

Water Heating Residential Systems

Residential water heaters typically range in size from 76 L (20 gal) to 303 L (80 gal). Electric units generally have one or two immersion heaters, each rated at 2-6 kW, depending on tank size. Energy input for water heating is a function of the temperature at which water is delivered, the supply water temperature, and standby losses from the water heater, storage tanks, and piping. The efficiency of water heaters is referred to as the energy factor (EF). Higher EF values equate to more efficient water heaters. Typical EF values range from about 0.8-0.95 for electric resistance heaters, 0.5-0.8 for natural gas units, 0.7-0.85 for oil units, and 1.5-2.0 for heat pump water heaters. The major source of heat loss from electric water heaters is standby losses through the tank walls and from piping because there are no flame or stack losses in electric units. The heat loss is proportional to the temperature difference between the tank and its surroundings. Thus lowering the temperature to...

Putting a Cover on Your Swimming Pool

You can attach the cover to a retracting mechanism so that you won't hate your cover like you would if you had to fold it by hand every time you swim. The cheapest manual retractors cost around 300. You also can install an electric retractor, but now you're talking about the kind of money you'd spend on a solar water heater, so you might as well put in one of those instead.

Understanding the Basic Parts of Every PV System

Most solar systems are complex, even if they're inexpensive. A solar water heater includes a pump, pipes, temperature probes, electrical connections, liquid valves and controls and so on. But an intertie solar PV system is actually very simple, despite its high cost (see Figure 17-2).

Solar Energy Utilization in Israel

A visitor to Israel will unavoidably notice the urban landscape bursting with solar collectors and hot water storage tanks covering the roofs of buildings. Almost all residences in Israel are equipped with solar water heaters. The most common are the thermosyphonic system, a completely passive, standalone unit consisting of one or two flat plate solar collectors and an insulated storage tank. Large multistory apartment buildings often use a central system with a collector array on the roof and a storage tank in the basement, employing a pump controlled by a differential thermostat. Other arrangements are also available. In most of the country, the solar system will supply the full demand for hot water during 9-10 months per year, with an electric resistance backup employed the rest of the time. Freeze protection is never required, except in some isolated locations. The economics the installed cost of a typical single-family system comprising a 150 l storage tank and 2-3 m2 flat plate...

Use of renewable energy sources for heat and fuel production

Although the potential of solar thermal collector systems is enormous, their contribution to the global primary energy supply is still rather low. Assuming 70 million m2 of installed glazed collectors by the end of 2001 and an average heat production of 600 kWh m2, the total global solar thermal heat production was about 150 PJ. This is equal to 0.04 per cent of the global primary energy demand. China is by far the world's largest solar water heater manufacturer and user. By the end of 2002, the accumulated installed area of solar domestic hot water systems in China was about 40 million m2. Greece had a noticeable installed area per capita of 264 m2 per 1000 inhabitants by 2001. Projecting these per capita numbers to the global population, the total installed area would increase more than 20 times. Table 1.15 shows the number of installations of the countries with the most significant solar collector markets.

Setting your power makes the difference

System utilization is an efficiency standard. How much of your system capacity are you actually using The greater the utilization, the better the financial investment because you're reaping more of a return. If your solar energy system is sitting idle half the time, it's a big waste. For example, a solar water heater is useless when you're on vacation because its capacity is entirely wasted. The same is true for a standalone PV system.

Taking a Quick Peek at Radiant Heat Floor Systems

You can use solar heated water to literally heat your home off-grid. Radiant heat, without solar, costs much less than forced-air heating for efficiency reasons. But when you supplement your radiant heat system with a solar water heater, you can drive your heating costs down to nearly nothing. Of course, sunshine isn't very reliable, particularly on the coldest nights when you most need heat, so you can't use solar heating exclusively it can only be a supplement. But it can be very effective. If you're planning on a room addition to your house, consider using a radiant floor in that room. Your existing HVAC system likely won't have enough capacity to heat an additional room. Adding a solar water heater to your house and using your domestic heater to heat the radiant floor in the addition works wonders, and it's much cheaper than adding another small HVAC system.

Wind and Water Solar Power

Although solar PV panels and water heater collectors work only when there's direct sunshine, both wind and water are available at any time of day or night. Wind, however, can come and go, from minute to minute. Water resources generally don't vary much over the course of a day, but they can vary over seasons and are also subject to droughts when there may be no power available at all for extended periods.

Social and environmental aspects

Solar water heating is an extremely benign and acceptable technology. The collectors are not obtrusive, especially when integrated into roof design. There are no harmful emissions in operation and manufacture involves no especially dangerous materials or techniques. Installation requires the operatives to be trained conventionally in plumbing and construction, and to have had a short course in the solar-related principles. The technology is now developed and commercial in most countries, either extensively (e.g. Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Jordan) or without widespread deployment (e.g. USA, France and the UK). It works best everywhere in summer and especially in sunny climates, e.g. the Mediterranean, and where alternatives, such as gas or electricity, are most expensive e.g. northern Australia. Moreover in every climate, solar water heaters have pre-heating value. In the UK for In almost all cases, using solar energy for water heating in practice replaces brown (fossil) energy that...

Checking out the home

You also need to consider utilization, which is how much solar equipment is being used versus its maximum capacity. For example, if the house has a solar water heater, how much of its capacity is being used to offset the current power bill If it can put out twice as much energy as it is currently, is this important to you If your family is bigger, you'll use more hot water, and you'll probably use more energy in general. This may or may not be reflected in higher energy bills.

Todd Lefever Hood River

Affordable Solar House Plans

On a sunny day, the solar gains will exceed the electric element's temperature setting, with solar energy heating the whole tankful of water to 140 F or more. A water heater timer can be used to keep the electric element off during the middle of the day, prioritizing solar energy over heating with electricity. (A tempering valve should be installed to ensure that scalding hot, solar-heated water doesn't flow into the hot water service.) At just under 1,600 square feet, space was at a premium in the two-bedroom townhomes both inside and on the roof. So the common two-tank solar water heating system with a solar preheat tank and conventional backup water heater was abandoned. Instead, a 120-gallon solar tank with built-in heat exchanger and a single upper electric element serves as both the solar preheating tank and backup electric water heater within a single footprint. The tank fits neatly beside the energy-efficient clothes washer and dryer in each townhome's laundry room.

Enerworks Col-4x8-tl-sg1-sd10 Prix

EnerWorks (, a Canadian solar water heating manufacturer, has just announced its qualification for the new Energy Star residential solar water heater program. EnerWorks's solar collectors and pre-engineered systems are also certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation, a requirement for the federal 30 solar tax credit. One of the company's collector models, the COL-4x8-TL-SG1-SD10, includes a patented temperature-limiting device that vents excess heat. This feature is designed to minimize or eliminate the effects of overheating during a typical summer vacation of two to three weeks without hot water use. A thermally actuated spring inside the collector operates the overtemperature-protection device, which opens an air baffle at the top of the collector, venting hot air from inside the collector and maintaining the heat-transfer fluid at approximately 260 F. The average U.S. household spends 400 to 600 per year on water heating the second largest energy...

Differential Thermostat

Glycol Heater Relief Valve

Backup Water Heater Backup Water Heater A nonpressurized solar hot water storage tank houses the two heat exchangers. We used a galvanized steel cattle watering tank. It is 5 by 2 by 2 feet (1.5 x 0.6 x 0.6 m), and holds roughly 120 gallons (455 l) of water. For most of the year, when I turn off the gas water heater,

Venting Your Attic and Cooling Off the Entire House

A solar attic vent fan project is great because you get to do a little bit of everything (in contrast to the solar water heater project where you get a whole lot of everything). You can install a solar attic vent fan in a day or so, depending on how difficult your attic structure is. You get to install a PV panel, which requires you to figure out orientation and placement. You do some simple wiring without having to be too fussy about quality. You can use electrical tape and just twist the wires together, or you can use a soldering iron and get fancy with shrink tubing. You need to make some drawings of your attic, and really think about prevailing winds and pressures and how they affect air movement. You need to figure out the best spot to install the fan, and you need to know a little about fan technology, but if you don't, it's okay because your system will still work pretty well.

SDHW Installation Basics Part Closed Loop Antifreeze

Good Aquarium Plumbing Closed Loop

A temperature pressure relief (TPR) valve must be installed on the storage tank if there are any valves between the storage tank and the conventional water heater. The outlet of the TPR valve should either discharge at a floor drain, connect with a tee to the TPR discharge of the conventional water heater, or be piped outside. If you pipe it outside, make sure the open end faces downward and is at least 6 inches (15 cm) and not more than 24 inches (61 cm) above ground level. Most SDHW systems use a separate tank to store solar heated water. This is in addition to the backup auxiliary water heater. Cold water supply from the house will feed the cold inlet of the solar tank. The hot outlet of the solar tank will feed the cold inlet of the auxiliary gas or electric water heater. You can install a bypass valve assembly as shown in the diagram to bypass the auxiliary tank during months when the sun heats 100 percent of your hot water. For smaller systems with an external heat exchanger and...

Use Hose Clamps On Ends If Necessary

Been off the Big Grid for eight years. Raised two great kids, who have left the nest and given us Grand titles. A warm thank you from Us For it was primarily through your work that I achieved the support to endure. The power monopolizers have created a devastating sociological effect upon us all. As can be felt when any young father seeks alternatives to earth-ravaging power main lines of today. Having sold our solar-powered home mine in the Sierras last fall, we decided to rent a home while looking to buy elsewhere. This home is ten years old, and built by a retired power company employee. A refresher course, you might call it, in what we're going without A heat pump to heat the home, a second heat pump to help the 120 gallon water heater, a third heat pump for the sauna. Motion lights and security lights on the sides, front, and rear. If it wastes energy we have one Caught the meter reader last Friday. Asked her, Is this home efficient What are heat...

Estimating Your Needs

Dragon Clip Art Cool With Wings

Includes using energy-efficient appliances and using electricity only for appliances that really require it. For example, it is not practical to use a PV system to power an electric range or heating system. Rather, meet your heating and cooking needs with a more fitting energy source, such as wood or propane. A solar water heater may also meet your hot water needs (contact Natural Resources Canada for Solar Water Heating Systems A Buyer's Guide2). If there is an EnerGuide label on your appliance, you can use the electrical consumption rating (in kilowatt-hours per year) given on the label for your worksheet. Note that the EnerGuide ratings for clothes washers and dishwashers include the electricity consumed in heating the water used in those appliances. These ratings are less useful to you if, as we recommend, you heat your water with solar water heaters, propane or wood (instead of PV-generated electricity).

Simple RV Hydronic Heating System

The concept of my hydronic heating system is simple. Establish a closed loop in my existing hot water system a standard RV propane water heater with a six gallon tank. Circulate the hot water through a standard automotive heater core. Blow the heat from the core out into the room by placing a fan behind the core. Enclose the fan and core in a box to minimize heat loss and direct all air from the fan through the core. Locate a high efficiency fan and circulating pump to minimize Amperes consumed in my modest 12 Volt, two PV panel electrical system.

Don Denhardt Parts

On boilers, those I have encountered have been bad phantom loads, though one was possible to modify by using a line voltage thermostat on the AC side of the transformer. But the boiler does not store water, so there is an extra pumping stage plus the control loads that makes them electrically inefficient. Of course, a good quality tank style gas water heater eliminates all

Make A flat panel solar cell

Cara Membuat Solar Cell Sendiri

Finally, another shot of the author's shadow. Note that the meter now reads about 4 microamperes, since no sunlight is falling on it.This is the same way you will build the bigger panels for your home ,remember these are home made to save you money and time, many people are using these methods and are using FREE ENERGY from the sun for there homes today, included there is also a FREE BONUS that will show you how to Build a Solar Water Heater and MUCH MORE, please leave me your positive feedback and after I will leave you the same feedback enjoy

Integral collector storage systems

ICS systems do not need an external heat storage tank, which is necessary for other collector systems. The total system is simpler some components found in other collector systems are not necessary and this reduces the cost. If the water temperature in the storage tank is too low, an auxiliary, thermostat-controlled water heater can boost the temperature up to the desired level.

Pumpless Solar Water Heat

Pumpless Recirculation

Of course the gravity siphon is not the only pumpless solar water heater. Some systems use fluid boiling action for circulation through a highly specialized collector. In more common batch heaters, the sun shines directly on the tank walls. These passive ICS (integral collector storage) heaters deliver pressurized hot water. Their plumbing is extremely simple and they require no extra indoor space for tanks. Although water flows through only once, ICS units are entirely different and classed separately from single pass systems. Storing hot water outdoors at night obviously impairs performance of ICS heaters. The side of the tank(s) exposed to the sun cannot be insulated in the usual sense. Double glazing, high tech coatings, and even glass vacuum vessels are used to mitigate heat loss to the night sky. Homemade batch heaters without these features would be much less effective. The inherent lack of freeze protection makes ICS solar water heaters impractical in very cold climates. Many...

Comparison Of Power Costs Using Two Different Wind Turbines

Analyze, as an example, a simple wind electric system that is used only for heating water (Fig. 5-40). Compare the two hypothetical wind turbines that were described in Chapter 5 (Wir.J-mill Power and Energy Calculations). Both are rated at 1000 watts of power, and their power curves are shown in Figure 5-19. The wind duration curve is shown in Figure 5-20. Unit A is about 5 feet in diameter and has a rated wind speed of 32 mph. It produces 95 kilowatt-hours in the month illustrated in Figure 5-21. Unit B is about 12 feet in diameter, has a 20 mph rated wind speed, and yielcs 230 kWh in the same month. For simplicity, assume you already have the necessary wire and electric water heater. Therefore, just consider the wind turbine and tower costs, plus installation. The following table shows these hypothetical cases.

Submersible Solar Water Pumps

Free Energy Heater

Simple modifications to an electric water heater can save space and money in your SDHW system. Simple modifications to an electric water heater can save space and money in your SDHW system. One of the first challenges, when installing a solar domestic hot water (SDHW) system, is where to put the solar storage tank. Many homes just don't have the space for an extra tank. For households installing a SDHW system with an external heat exchanger and 100 square feet (9.3 m2) of collector or less, using a single tank may be the solution. Here is how you can retrofit an oversized electric water heater to accommodate both solar hot water storage and electric backup in one tidy package. When you turn on a hot water tap in your house, hot water comes from the top of the tank and cold water enters the bottom of the tank from the supply line. A standard electric water heater has two 4,500 watt heating elements,

Directing traffic with controllers

A solar blanket for your swimming pool is controlled by applying the blanket or retracting it. You're the controller. Other solar water heaters, however, require temperature controllers that are a little more high-tech. Take a look i Domestic water heater systems often use an electronic controller that takes temperatures, time of day, and other factors into account. These

Renewable energy technologies

I Ao meet the city's goal of having 10 of all households and 10 of all city-owned housing equipped with solar water heaters by 2010, the Solar Water Heater Advancement Programme was developed. It calls for solar water heater installations to be undertaken on all new buildings, a subsidisation scheme, and a project to install solar water heaters on the facilities of the city's nature reserve. I A he Kuyasa project aims to install 6 300 solar water heaters in this low-income housing settlement, along with insulated ceilings and energy efficient lamps. It is supported as a clean development mechanism (CDM) project under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The project, initiated by the city, will cost an estimated USD 1.5 million and over 2 300 solar water heaters have already been installed in less than a year. Each system with a capacity of 110 litres, helps to reduce annual GHG emissions by 1.29 tCO2 household yr, compared with heating by coal-fired electricity. Residents...

Examining Real Life Scenarios

Supplementing an existing water heater with solar To calculate payback, first find the monthly energy savings. Suppose Household X uses an average of 1,000 kWh of electricity per month. At 0.15 per kWh, the monthly cost is 150. An energy audit determines that water heating comprises 18 percent of the total electric bill, at a cost of 27 per month (see the earlier Figuring out monthly savings section for details on such calculations). With the solar water heater, that amount drops to zero, so 27 is its monthly savings. That's a good investment. A solar water heater may last about 20 years, and Household X is making a profit within the first 5 years. Suppose you're installing a solar water heater in an area where the climate is northern. There isn't as much sunshine, and the winters are colder. Cost savings are 13.50 per month (or half as much as in the preceding section). For this example, assume constant energy costs, which is probably a simplification. (The point here is to...

Heating Water with Solar Energy

Solar water heaters can be either active or passive. An active system uses an electric pump to circulate the heat transfer fluid a passive system has no pump. If you're currently using an electric water heater, solar water heating is a cost-effective alternative. In fact, a study by the Florida Solar Energy Center Today's solar water heaters are efficient, reliable, and attractive. Today's solar water heaters are efficient, reliable, and attractive. showed solar water-heater owners saved as much as 50 to 85 annually on their utility bills as compared to electric water heating. If you're building a new home, the cost of the system can be spread over the term of your mortgage. The only pollution generated by solar water heating is the pollution produced in generating electricity to power the pumps and controls. Some systems even operate without pumps, reducing the environmental effects to a negligible amount and helps reduce greenhouse gases. When a solar water heater replaces an...


Spring '01 (date TBD) Simple Solar Water Heater Installation (hands-on) by Anthony & Victoria Stoppiello. Labor Day weekend Hands-on installation, 1 KW wind genny & 100-foot tilt-up tower, in a hybrid system at Morning Hill Forest Farm followed by 1-day workshop, Monitoring & Metering of RE Systems with Data Logging. EORenew, PO Box 485, Canyon City, OR 97820 541-575-3633 info

Tax credits

The U.S. federal government allows a 30-percent tax credit for both solar PV systems and solar water heating systems, up to a maximum of 2,000 per year. If your solar water heater system costs 6,000 to install, you get 1,800 off the price. If your solar PV system costs 30,000, you get only 2,000 off the price. This savings encourages smaller solar investments because you save a greater percentage. To maximize your tax credits, spread your solar investments out over time. Install a solar water heater this year and a PV system the next. And if possible, install two smaller systems instead of one larger.


Even though the camp is a getaway for Bill, his wife Karen, and their four children, Bill still wanted it to have all of the conveniences of a normal home. Bill researched energy efficient appliances and found that by installing items like the AquaStar on-demand water heater and a propane stove and heater, the house's electrical energy consumption would be greatly reduced. Bill and Louis figured that the peak electrical load of the house would be around 800 watts without the air conditioner. With the air conditioner, the peak load jumped to 2,000 watts (2 KW). For times when the air conditioner is in use, they decided on a propane-fired, 7 KW Generac brand generator.

Fold Here

The Charles Wayne Group, one of the largest developers in Florida, recently opened the world's first tract home with its own electrical energy supplied by sunlight. The three-bedroom, 2,480 square-foot home, has a solar system on the roof capable of supplying 100 percent of the electricity needed even after seven days of continuous cloudy weather. The solar system runs air-conditioning and heating, lights, washing machine, television, stereo, water heater, and kitchen appliances including refrigerator, freezer, microwave and garbage disposal.

Energy Cascade

This unit is a variation of the solar hot water heater already documented in this book. This unit has the ability to vaporize the water in salt water and to condense those fresh water vapors to move the vapors and or the fresh water out of the unit. Like the other solar hot water heaters in this book, this is a double-layered glass (sliding glass door glass) over 2x4's and plastic (for holding the water) sitting on a door (for insulation). Copper was added for condensing the steam.

Going alone

Most domestic water heater projects require plumbing skills, at the very least. You need to understand all the valves and system pressure requirements. As you do the installation, you need to route the pipes to the collectors and then back to the working volume. Weight considerations are important. You need to use the right feedthroughs, flanges, and clamps. But this stuff can be easy if you do your homework. All kinds of online resources can help you plan your installation.

Third World

A Solar Hot Water Heater Made from a Door, 2x4's, Plastic Sheeting, and Glass. Simply lay the sliding glass door over the frame. It seals nicely with the plastic. As the photo on the right shows, this water got to 157F. I routinely get my hot water heaters to 185F in the summertime, and easily get to 140F to 155F in the wintertime. This is done with NO REFLECTORS. If reflectors are added to These two top photos show some improvements on the hot water heater. I used the free door knockouts as additional insulation under the door. The photos clearly show the wood frame and how it was made to fit the glass going on top of it rather than the door under it. Notice the door on the right is NOT black, but white. It does NOT need to be painted if black plastic is used. The right photo shows the two solar water heaters that ran in my backyard for almost a year. Everyday, the water would get to Build it I dare you. The solar hot water heater on the previous page is about as simple as it gets....


Am shaken from dream land by the musical beeping of the Radio Shack LED alarm clock. I stumble into the bathroom that is toasty and warm from the thermal art heater that has been on all night. I take the usual 20 minute shower with the Paloma instant hot water heater. After a quick once over the teeth and gums with the Braun electric tooth brush I am once again ready to battle the elements.

Energy Conservation

Standards and labeling program, identified as one of the key activities for energy-efficiency improvements, is expected to ensure the availability of only energy-efficient equipment and appliances. The equipment to be initially covered under S&L program are household refrigerators, air-conditioners, water heater, electric motors, agriculture pump sets, electric lamps and fixtures, industrial fans and blowers, and air-compressors.

Plugging leaks

Completely extinguish any fireplace fires. Close the fireplace damper as much as possible. Turn off your HVAC system. Turn off any furnaces. If you have a gas water heater, turn that off, too. Close all the windows and doors in your house. Make sure to close any skylights or vents.


Where can you get a replacement anode Plumbers rarely have anodes in stock, but they may be able to obtain them from plumbing supply houses. We get ours from Gull Industries in San Jose, California (1800-7486286) you can too. A resource of last resort, because of generally higher cost, is the water heater manufacturer. Anodes should run around 18- 30, depending on the type needed. Our experience suggests that water heaters will last as long as you're willing to maintain them. You may already have the last water heater you'll ever buy.

And More

Drain Back Tank Homemade

Some drainback systems do without a storage tank. Known as whole house drainback systems, they have a very large reservoir tank that has the heat exchanger submerged inside of it. The heat exchanger is plumbed in series between the cold supply and the house DHW plumbing, and often an on-demand water heater designed to boost preheated water if needed. Frequently, large, single tank systems are used with two internal heat exchangers, one for DHW and the other for space heating. Let's take a closer look at the function, considerations, and recommendations for each of these components in a drainback system. sight glass. Alternatively, you can simply buy a 10 or 20 gallon (38 or 76 l) conventional water heater to serve as a reservoir. Mobile home parts distributors sell these tanks inexpensively. Install the reservoir tank on the return line from the collector above the heat exchanger and storage tank. The fluid returning from the collector must enter the airspace at the top of the...

In The Classroom

Hydronic Fill Valve

The Helio-Pak 16 unit came with the pumps, heat exchanger, expansion tank, temperature gauges, differential controller, and pressure relief valve, all assembled together. The students' job was to first build a portable platform for the system. Then they had to attach the Helio-Pak unit to the water heater inlet and outlet fittings, and mount and connect the Mini-Gobi collector. During the process of putting the system together, one student suggested that they make the collector adjustable to accommodate sun angles during different seasons. A removable pin in the front of the collector holds the panel in place after its tilt angle is adjusted. This adaptation also required using flexible reinforced polyethylene tubing between the collector and the heat exchanger. Permanently installed systems should always use copper tubing in the collector loop because of potential high temperatures.

Simple Hot Water

Fuelless Heater

My first experience with batch water heaters was almost 40 years ago, in Vietnam. Our company warrant officer was a savvy mechanic, and he made us a great water heater out of a scrounged wing tank from a fighter plane. He painted the tank black and put it up on some posts. We pumped water up to the tank. During the day, the black tank absorbed sunshine and, through conduction, heated the water in the tank. We took hot showers in the evening, after the workday had ended and the convoys had come in. That wing-tank batch heater is emulated today in parts of Mexico. If you see a house with both a white and a black tank, chances are the black tank is a solar water preheater. In freeze-free climates, virtually nothing can go wrong with them the simplest of all solar water heaters except a lack of sunshine. Since the tanks are uninsulated and subject to ambient temperatures, after sunset these batch heaters tend to lose all the heat they gain during the day hence the evening, instead of...

Homebrew Hot Water

Dear Home Power Friends I met you at the Earth Day festivities in Mt. Shasta and took a picture of your booth (enclosed). I also built the solar water heater from Kathleen's plans (issue 11) and it works well except that I want to put it up on the flat roof where it will get sun all day, so I will need a slow flow pump to bring the water down to the tank. Can you recommend one Thanks for your great magazine and your help. Sincerely, Randy Bofinger, Mt. Shasta CA

The Spark

In addition to commercial booths selling RE equipment, the MREF Folks set up a model home. This model home demonstrated the latest in thermally efficient building techniques. It employed a solar hot water heater, a PV array, and also used power from the Fair's big 24 Volt Jacobs wind machine. The house was divided into four areas. A bathroom displayed a low flush toilet and low voltage water pumps. A living room, complete with TV, VCR running energy videos, a computer, and printer was powered from the system. A kitchen with a locally made 24 Volt super efficient refrigerator freezer. A power room full of all home power type goodies like batteries, inverters, controls and instruments. All rooms were lit by super-efficient fluorescent lamps. Hell, I wanted to ship the model home to Agate Flat and move in The model home's Head Worker was Kurt Nelson

Thermosyphon Systems

Thermosyphon System

Another relatively simple, passive system, and the most popular solar water heater worldwide is the thermosyphon. Common in Japan, Australia, India, and Israel, they are easily recognizable by the fact that the tank must be located directly above the collector. Backup Water Heater Backup Water Heater

Caca Ao Sasi Charge

This is in reply to Clyde Gress and others who wrote letters regarding wood-burning water heaters in issue 12. In 1979 I founded Appropriate Technology Importers, Inc. for the purpose of importing wood-burning water heaters ( Calentadors ) from Mexico. It was a good idea that over time evolved into a not-so-good- idea. My only ambition was to support myself and family with a reasonable income while providing a valuable product at a fair price. However, Mexico's runaway inflation soon made each shipment cost more than the previous one, and it became extremely difficult for me to maintain stable prices from month to month. Finally it reached the point where I couldn't earn a living without pricing the product higher than I felt was reasonable. These were great little heaters, but by the time we got them trucked from Mexico City, through customs, into a warehouse, and finally shipped to their destination, the price was more than most people wanted to pay. I sold the company in 1981 to...

Heat transfer

This book uses a unified approach to heat transfer processes, by which several interrelated processes are analysed as one 'heat circuit'. For instance, the solar water heater of Figure 3.1 receives heat by solar radiation at about 1.0kWm-2 maximum intensity, producing surfaces about 50 C higher than the environment. Heat is lost from these surfaces by long wavelength radiation, by conduction and by convection. The useful heat is removed by mass transport. Our recommended method of analysis is to set up a heat transfer circuit of the interconnected processes, such as the one illustrated in Figure 3.2(c), and calculate each transfer process to an accuracy of about 50 .


Through a boiler mixer system and distributed to the multiple zones throughout the equipment bays. A propane fired Agua Star instantaneous hot water heater supplements the solar for heating during extra cold periods. SunFire, of Boulder Colorado, a company specializing in radiant heating systems and solar services, provided the system design, panels, heating controls, propane heater, materials and installation. Emergency services personnel waded through the setting cement to lay the tubing. The solar heating panels were purchased used to keep the system cost low. Total solar heating system cost, exclusive of the heater tubes was about 10,000. The solar portion of the system was designed to provide about 50 of the annual heating requirements for the equipment bay and the office area. It was determined that maintaining an ambient air temperature above 50 degrees F in the equipment bay would be adequate. Plans are presently underway to add a sixth panel in a month or so to provide...

Heliotex Llc Mail

Solar Water Heaters-Vacuum Tube Superb Quality, Super Performance 604 740 9864 Canada 417 818 6057 USA Dealer inquiries welcome Choosing a Backup Water Heater Solar water heating systems usually include some type of conventional water heater as a backup for cloudy weather or for when hot water demand is unusually high. But choosing the most cost- and fuel-efficient backup can be challenging, since the fuel types and efficiencies are like apples and oranges. Here's an easy method for figuring out your best choice. Electric water heaters are easy to compare since they all use the same fuel source. Tank-style electric water heaters have an efficiency of about 90 because of the standby loss through the tank insulation, while on-demand (tankless) electric water Because of heat loss through the uninsulated flue pipe, tank-style fossil-fuel water heaters have lower efficiencies, ranging from 60 to 65 . On-demand gas water heaters offer more efficiency (at about 80 ), and high-efficiency (HE)...


Homemade Turgo Wheel Generator

In a typical AC system, an electronic controller keeps voltage and frequency within certain limits. The hydro's output is monitored and any unused power is transferred to a shunt load, such as a hot water heater. The controller acts like an automatic dimmer switch that monitors the generator output frequency cycle by cycle and diverts power to the shunt load(s) in order to maintain a constant speed or load balance on the generator. There is almost always enough excess power from this type of system to heat domestic hot water and provide some, if not all, of a home's space heating. Examples of AC-direct systems are described in Home Power 25 and 33.

Solar Water Systems

Yes, says University of Oregon researcher Steve Baker. In the 1980s, Baker monitored 37 solar water heating systems, both single tank and two tank, for the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE), using common electric water heaters as a standard of comparison. Oregon enacted a solar energy tax credit in the late 1970s, and ODOE wanted to find out how the systems were performing. The monitoring study found that the typical total energy use for household water heating was about 5,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Several SHW systems in the sunnier parts of the state were able to meet more than 80 of the yearly hot water loads. The study also found that single-tank solar water heaters often saved more energy than a comparable two-tank system. Most single-tank solar water heaters feature a 240-volt electric element in the top half of the tank. A typical timer used for electric water heater elements has adjustable setpoints. Single-tank systems performed better for two reasons related to the two...

Powerstar Pow200

We started off with two propane lights, a propane refrigerator and water heater. Within 15 years we increased our propane consumption to three refrigerators (Servel, Dometic, and Consul), a water heater, and a clothes dryer. The efficient electric SunFrost refrigerator and Copper Cricket solar hot water heater are planned for the future. We no longer use propane for lighting. We use eight Osram 120 vac compact fluorescent lights and other fluorescent lights.

Solar Pathfinder

The Solar Pathfinder's patented relective principle of operation makes this the only instrument available that can provide a full year of accurate solar data in a single reflected image. One siting takes only minutes and requires no special skills or technical know-how. One simple tracing does the job. One quick reading with the Solar Pathfinder takes all the guesswork out of predicting exactly how much sunshine your array or water heater will receive throughout the year. Profiled in HP 16, Things that Work , and again in HP 21, Site Survey , the Solar Pathfinder is now available from


The thermosyphon solar water heater is one of the simplest, most economical, and, I believe, the best type of solar water heater. It's a passive system, meaning that it has no mechanical or electrical devices that make it work. Only the sun's energy is needed to heat the water in the solar collector and circulate that water through the holding tank. The most basic principal we're using here is that heat rises. By carefully following the rules and instructions provided here, you will be able to design and build your own thermosyphon solar water heater to suit your particular hot water needs. The solar collector in a solar water heater works the same way, but produces much higher temperatures. The sun's energy passes through the glass cover plates and heats the water that's in the piping inside the collector. The water is passing through the solar collector very slowly, is heated, then flows to the holding tank which stores the water until you use it. Water must circulate from the tank,...

Mild Climate Systems

Passive ICS systems (batch water heaters) are the simplest solar water heater. Cold water flows under normal water pressure to the bottom of the tank, and hot water is taken off the top. Whenever there's a call for hot water, hot water moves from the top of the solar batch heater as cold water is pushed into the bottom. Most of the ICS units produced in the United States today are progressive-tube-type heaters as opposed to single-tank units. Although the storage tank(s) of ICS systems are freeze-tolerant in normal operation, the weak point in the system is the potable water pipes running to and from the units. These systems are climate limited and are included in the mild-climate listings. (For more information on ICS systems, see HP93 & HP108.)

Jonathan Hill

After space heating and cooling, the largest user of home energy is usually the hot water heater. Fortunately this energy drain can easily be reduced with only moderate expense. Some people seem to think that solar hot water was a 70's fad, and faded with the times. Not true Solar hot water was very popular in the Los Angeles area in the early 1900's, and disappeared only when the hot water heater manufacturers gave people free gas and electric hot water heaters in exchange for their old-fashioned solar units, assuring a perpetual market for their supplies of then cheap gas and electricity. Well, it may have made sense back then, but one quick glance at our utility bill tells us that we've been had. A family of four often spends 50 per month or more to operate their electric hot water heater. Solar energy is presently making hot water for thousands of people all over the world, many in climates where sunshine is limited. Solar hot water does not have to be complicated or expensive. A...

Heat Exchanger

Heat exchangers are used in both closed loop antifreeze and drainback type SDHW systems. I have also used them in wood-fired heating systems, radiant floor house heating systems with a domestic water heater, and custom-built spas. For more information on all types of heat exchangers and their use in solar domestic hot water systems, refer to HP92, Heat Exchangers for Solar Water Heating.

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