A Double-Duty Solar Solution: How to Build a Solar Water Heater

You can build your own space and solar water heater for just a fraction of what you would pay for a commercial solar water heating system.



Gary Reysa's House
The author’s solar water and space heater at his home in Montana.
PHOTO: GARY REYSA
Copper Pipe Frame
To construct the solar collectors, Gary Reysa started with copper pipes.
GARY REYSA
Solar Space and Water Heating System
This DIY system collects heat from the sun and uses it to heat water and provide home heat.
GARY REYSA
Aluminum Fins Painted Black
Painting the whole assembly black helps it absorb more heat.
GARY REYSA
Aluminum Fins
The next step of building the collector is to install aluminum fins to collect heat.
GARY REYSA
PEX Tubing
The potable water flows through a long length of PEX tubing submerged within the tank.
GARY REYSA
Twin-Wall Polycarbonate Glazing
The top layer of the collector is a twin-wall polycarbonate glazing.
GARY REYSA
Storing Solar Heat
This solid, insulated water tank stores solar heat.
GARY REYSA
Heating Efficiency
The author attaches heat spreaders to his subfloor to improve the heating efficiency.
GARY REYSA











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