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.