Heating water for your home is an expensive proposition. Using solar power to heat your water, however, is a good way to cut down on your energy bills. Making your own solar water heater reduces your expenses even further. This article takes a look of some of the key considerations involved in this do-it-yourself project.
First, you must decide which type of system you want to use. The best plan for the typical homeowner is to use a batch system. This system has the collection and storage functions in the same package, which is easier to create and install. Batch systems also involve the least expense in most cases.
The most important component of the batch system is the tank. You can buy a new water heater tank, of course, but this is usually not necessary. A used hot water tank generally works fine, as long as it's in good shape. Before selecting a tank, check it carefully for any cracks or holes. Also, inspect the interior. Reject any tank that has signs of corrosion on the inside. You will need a tank that is the proper size for your home's hot water consumption. Consult a heating and cooling professional like Avalon Plumbing & Heating Ltd to determine the proper size tank for your family.
Painting your water heater tank is a great way to improve its effectiveness. The black paint helps the tank absorb the sun's rays rather than reflecting the heat away.
Another component of the batch system is the container that holds the water tank. This element of the system is sometimes called a "breadbox," because it has a similar shape. The breadbox is typically made out of plywood, although you can also use the shell of an old refrigerator or freezer if you prefer. Most breadbox containers have a glass covering on top to prevent heat loss. You will also need to insulate the interior.
The placement of the container and tank is crucial. The system must be placed in a sunny spot to receive as much sunlight as possible. Generally, the best spot will be in a location that faces south. If you need help finding the sunniest spot, consider purchasing a sunlight calculator. These devices are used by home gardeners to find the best spot for their plants, but work well for determining water heater placement also.
Building your own solar water heater is definitely possible for a handy homeowner. If you are not confident of your do-it-yourself abilities, however, contact a local heating and cooling professional for assistance.