Saturday, May 23, 2009

Getting Into Hot Water 3

Thanks to a generous anonymous donation, at least I think it was supposed to be an anonymous donation it might just be that I have trouble figuring out my paypal account, I can start building my solar hot water heater.

The $10 in my paypal was enough to buy a key part to my solar panel.


With this key part I had to take apart the Mark III and get it down to just the frame.

I added some dowels to hold the hose.

Then I built the back out of particleboard. Not my first choice for building material, but I had some laying around from when I built my home office a few years ago and messed up the order.
As you can see I cut some holes for the hose to go into.

I took some foam insulation that I had left over from when I first moved into my house and was using it as room dividers (long story).

I painted it butterscotch chocolate brown. Purists are going to tell me I should have painted it flat black. My response is if someone donates enough for me to buy a gallon of flat black paint I will take my solar panel apart and paint it that color, until then I need to go with the stuff I have.

I carefully measured out the legs for it to sit on. This seemed like a good idea at the time.

After that it was a simple matter of wrapping the hose back and forth around the dowels I put in the solar panel.

I say simple in a satirical way as wrapping hose around anything is like herding cats. No matter how straight you get the hose in the beginning, it gets a mind of its own and tries to get kinky. Kinky is a great quality in a mate, not so much in a hose.

After finally getting the hose installed, I just had to move it to the roof.

The move to the roof had two casualties, The legs that I carefully measured.

I ended up propping it up on the old water heater chimney, that actually gave it almost the perfect angle.

After installing it on the roof I connected it to the house water supply to check for leaks.

When I repaired the damage from the old hot water heater exploding I set it up so that it was simple to connect a new source of hot water.

After seeing that there were no leaks, I re-installed the storm window.

I can’t wait until tomorrow when I get to see if my hard work paid off.

Like always no kittens were harmed in the making of this solar panel.

5/24/09 Update: My first day to try out my solar hot water heater and it was overcast all day.
I was hoping it would clear up so I could give it a real test but mother nature can sometimes be a mother.
At around 3 pm I stopped waiting for the clouds to clear and grabbed a couple of bottles from my Mark I solar heater (the foam insulation box with a window over it).
I washed my hair with the lukewarm water from the Mark I and got in the shower ready to use the other bottles if necessary.
To my pleasant surprise the water was cold, but not painfully cold. A little colder than what I would call a "cold shower" but not painfully cold.
Taking a sailor shower, rinsing turning off the water lathering up then rinsing again, I had enough heated water (can't really say hot) to shower better than I have for the last week.
If that's the coldest it gets I could probably tolerate not having a hot water heater until September.
Just in case I'm planning on adding another 4 square foot heater next weekend.
I can't wait to try it out under sunny conditions.

4 comments:

FreakSmack said...

I don't know where You are but where I am this time of year it's hot in the attic even on cloudy days. I think if you take your bottles of water and just leave them in the attic. Then when you need hot water on cloudy days it should be pretty hot.

Project Savior said...

I'm pretty sure they would be, unfortunately the previous owners of my house drywalled over the enterance to the attic.
I've been meaning to open it up to add insulation but have always been sidetracked with other projects.

LLnL said...

I'm all about DYI and I feel inspired when I am around green thinking. I say it that way because I don't recycle and I use a lot of paper towel. I guess I'm a little lazy but respect anyone who actually puts forth efforts that will make this world last longer. I'm impressed, keep up the good work.

Project Savior said...

I've become super green late in life I'm afraid.
I was a VP of an oil company and my carbon footprint was huge.
I've taken a huge pay cut from 6 figures to minimum wage & food stamps. So I need to turn green to survive.
Having a monthly food budget that is smaller than what my weekly food budget used to be really opened my eyes as to how wasteful I used to be.
My ultimate goal is to drop my electric bill down from the $150 - $200 a month it used to be, to about $60.
Last month I was down to $80 so I believe I've set a reasonable goal.