Solar Electric Water Heater
by Mike Stratford
Solar electric water heater, it's not mine but that is more or less it
After much indecision and uncertainty I decided to get stuck and finally build my very DIY solar water heater. I set out to the hardware store with great determination and enthusiasm but when I arrived I turned around an went home again. Why? Because I realized I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, what to buy and how to put it together.
Upon arriving home, a little deflated I did a little percolating and sat down with my laptop in the garden (and solar battery charger) to try and find out what exactly I should be doing.
Well to be honest it is a bit of a minefield out there with so many options and decisions to be made. I spent hours and hours researching exactly what size system I would need, what type (passive, active bla bla), how I have connect it to the rest of the system and how much water, and of course money it would eventually save me. Perhaps the hardest bit about all of this was finding a good guide that I could follow and that would lead me through all of the steps.
So, I got back in my car, several weeks later that is, and went back to the store to pick up all of the supplies I needed including miles of plastic tubing, meters of hardwood, sealants, bolts and so on. The whole lot cost me about $160, not bad. I then proceeded to spend the next 7 days in the garage wasting a huge amount of time before finally completing an incredibly shaky looking solar electric water heater.
That was fours years ago and I have never looked back. To be honest I've made numerous upgrades and rebuilds of my system but now in the spring summer and Autumn it supplies me with all of the hot water I need for everything. In the depths of the winter it still works well but the water just doesn't get hot enough so it has to be reheated via a gas burner. Still, I do save a fortune on my heating bills.
The advantages of having a solar water heating system in your home are huge and if you bear the pain (actually I quite enjoyed my project) of building it yourself then it can also be done extremely cheaply. Take a look at this page about www.think-solar-power.com, for more information.
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