For most people when they think about Solar Power they immediately think about the solar panels that you currently see being used on people roofs to create electricity, but the power of the sun can be harnessed in another way. The suns energy can be used to heat water for your home, and you made be surprised that you can build a DIY Solar Water Heater, and that it really isn’t that hard to do.
This basic idea really isn’t a new one, the ancient Greeks used crude mirrors and lenses that used direct sunlight to heat water. Then in 1920s some communities had a fully functional solar water heating systems that provided water to their homes.
The solar heated water has direct uses in your home for example for showering or for washing the dishes. Once the water has been heated, nothing more has to be done to the water other than simply make it available. That’s typically done by storing the heated water in essentially the same way as with ordinary water heaters, in a large insulated water tank.
How does it work?
The way the water is heated is really the same as what happens is a greenhouse. A solar water heater panel is like a large, thin and double-paned windows, that contain a series of channels, tubes and pipes. The water is pumped through these channels and heated by the suns energy, and this heated water is then stored in an insulated water tank.
In the ordinary hot water system the water heater storage unit, heats the water. With a solar-powered water heating system there’s no need to, since the water that enters the tank is usually between 95F-150F (35C-66C). The storage tank acts like a big thermos bottle. It’s double-lined and/or made of well-insulated material so the heat doesn’t dissipate much out the walls of the tank.
The temperature range of such systems is fully adequate for bathing, cleaning clothes and other ordinary applications. The only difficulties are ensuring enough sunlight to generate enough heat, and minimal loss of heat through the panels and pipes. So you really have to think about where you place your panels.
In the average home the cost of heating water is roughly a third of the total energy bill. By building your own solar heating panels you not only be saving money on the building of the panels but also on your energy bills. The process of actually building the panels is relatively easy, but it is recommended to learn as much as you can before starting to build. On the internet you will find a wealth manuals and information that will take you right through the whole process from start to finish.
You should be able to find the majority of materials you need to build the panels in your local hardware store, and if not you can also have a look on the internet.
Building a solar water heater one of the easier ways you could save money on your utility bill, but you will also be doing your bit to help the environment.