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Solar Water Heating Options
mikeg
#1 Posted : Wednesday, June 25, 2003 4:34:44 PM
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Just put 2 "T''s" with a valve between them in your hot water supply line. In the T before the valve run the line to your black hose on the roof or porch this line will need an easy access shut off valve and a valved drain line to drain it in the winter. Run your hose in an across and back fashon so that it will drain naturaly to the down leg. In the down leg you also need a conveniently located valved drain leg and a shut off valve to keep the water from filling the line when not in use and then run into the supply line to your hot water heater at the T between the valve and the water heater. Have all of your lines pitched to drain by gravity and have no traps in the system, it is best to have all the valves in one location if possible to make the switch more convenient. If you have trouble with draining the hose on the roof you may need a bleed valve at the high point of the loop to relieve any suction in the line. Winter operation you shut off the valve to and from the the roof line and open both of the drain valves, open the valve in the supply line between the "T''s" for the roof loop. Summer operation would reverse this sequence. Your regular water pressure will force water thru the loop and preheating the water before it gets to your hot water heater and in some situations you water heater will not be needed till night fall. Hope this helps some times in my descriptions I know exactly what my mind is saying but the descriptions are hard for others to follow or visualize.
andydufresne
#2 Posted : Wednesday, June 25, 2003 8:40:42 PM
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OK Mike...I get what you are saying BUT I was thinking of having a way of putting the Preheated water in the water heater itself. Here''s why. Currently It''s just me in the house. At 4 in the morning when there is very little electircal load the water heater comes on and heats the 30 gallon tank. At 6 when the heating system starts to bring things back up to a temp for living in rathter than sleeping in (Or the A/C kicks in to make it cooler) the water heater shuts off. I have PLENTY of hot water. I think that if I was able to heat the water and store it in the tank it would stay warm like my friend''s did. He was just circulating his through the hose and into a cattle watering tank that he had insulated and made a lid for. After his afternoon cycle with the pump he had water that he was just barely able to sit in the next morning it was so hot.

mikeg
#3 Posted : Wednesday, June 25, 2003 10:40:58 PM
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I must have missed something the idea was to run all of this thru your hot water heater thus saving the cost of heating it all the way up. All of this work goes in the supply line to your hot water heater so it does go thru your hot water heater. If you have your hwh on a timer as well as a thermostat and well insulated you should have it made. No matter what conditions prevail during the summer months the hot water heating costs will be drasticly reduced, and if you do all of your hot water work before 6pm who knows.
andydufresne
#4 Posted : Wednesday, June 25, 2003 11:03:55 PM
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I get that part...what I''m THNKING is that when I turn on hot water the water in the TANK will come out first. That''s 30 gallons....OH WAIT...you are saying that the water I replace the water in the tank with will be pre-heated. Perhaps I need to also have a tank in the recirculating system so that I can pre heat 20 or 30 gallons.

Does that make sense?
mikeg
#5 Posted : Thursday, June 26, 2003 4:42:52 PM
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No, I think you are making this to complicated. I had a hot water heater on a timer and it would come on at 5:00AM in time to have hot water to shower when I got up and then again in the evening both times for about an hour. I had all the hot water I needed all day without any assistance. If you preheat with a plane black hose no glass shadow box the water that comes out of a 100 ft black hose is probably 40 degrees hotter than a water heater is set at. If your hot water heater is well insulated it would probably not come on with the thermostat unless you use a lot of hot water at night or very early in the mourning. An additional tank would not be necessary as it would not buy you any thing it would cool down faster than your hot water heater would and then you would have that much more water to go thru before the heated hose water would kick in. As far as recirculation is concerned you would maintain the higher temp. in the hot water heater all day long but would have to shut it off at nite or install a timer on it and the supply to the hose loop would have to come off the hot water heater discharge line. Paying for the energy used on the recirculation pump would eat into the gains you make with the hose. I personaly don''t feel there would be that much of a return from a recirculation type loop.
andydufresne
#6 Posted : Thursday, July 10, 2003 3:41:02 AM
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HEre is what my friend had going. THe water in the hot tub circulated through the black hose that was under glass for about 3 hours when the sun was at it''s best for that roof. The water was held in the tub which was insulated and covered. It stayed warm until morning. I think what I was getting at was, is there a way to pull the water OUT of the water heater and putting it back in. THat way I''d circulate ALL 30 gallons of it for a couple of hours, it would be preheated and use less energy to heat it.
skruzich
#7 Posted : Thursday, July 10, 2003 4:35:08 AM
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I used to live out in colorado on the black mesa with no power or running water. I had hot showers year round including the wintertime. What i did was to take a 55 gallon drum paint it black, place it on a platform on my trailer roof, and pipe the hose down to my shower in the house. I also had a nozzle for showering outside during summer. The water was hauled in from town in a 500 gallon tank that we used to fill up at a tap in town. I would hand pump the water from that tank to the 55 gallon drum to use. NOw if we actually got rain, i had 4 more drums at each corner of my trailer with gutters that ran the water into the drums. i would hand pump them up to the 55 gallon drum that i used to heat water during the day. It was a good system. Water would get way too hot to use. I think i remember it getting up to 140 degrees. Had to add cold to take the shower.
on that i would take some of the 55 gallon drums at the corners and ran it into the cold water inlet. they were elevated higher using gravity flow.
Worked for me ;)
steve
Penagashea
#8 Posted : Tuesday, July 22, 2003 11:45:31 PM
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Hey! I''ve been wondering how could heat water cheaply! The commercial solar heater systems I''ve seen have been waay to expensive and I''ve not been able to find an easy way to build my own. How cold did winters get in your area when you used this system? I''m moving to an area where the winter can get below 0. What would suggest for an eaasy backup in that kind of temp? Also how could a sytem like this be improved for cloudy days? Would using an old water heater tank painted black help?
andydufresne
#9 Posted : Friday, July 25, 2003 12:50:02 AM
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I think I have found the solution to my situation...the water heater I have will be worn in in 2-5 years. When it is time to place it I will do so with an on demand propane water heater. THEN I will use the space that the water heater HAD taken up to put in an insulated storeage tank. I will preheat that water. THINK that will do what I am trying to accomplish.
skruzich
#10 Posted : Friday, July 25, 2003 2:45:38 AM
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Penagashea, You can take a thick plastic container (Only use plastic for water you won''t drink as i still believe plastic leaches chemicals) use a black one, I would say about 1/4 - 1/2" thick. Put it on top of the roof or in a surface that the sun will hit. I have used such a setup in 17 degree weather and the water was about 100 degrees.
But you know, the on demand heater is a good idea, use propane if you don''t have electric, or if your using a wood stove for heat, make yourself a coil that will run inside of your stovepipe going to the flue. Use enough to go a foot and a half up the pipe, and leaving only 1/4" between the coils. Drill a hole through the stovepipe, one for entry and one for exit. Insert the coil through and kinda force the ends through the holes. You should have only about 1 - 2" of pipe that fits through the holes. Use jb weld around the holes where the copper goes through to seal and prevent smoke leak. Then take and solder a fitting(Use silver solder only NO TIN NO LEAD) and solder a fitting that you can screw on and off. Take from that point and run pvc pipe or copper or whatever you want, from the water supply to the lower fitting, and then one from the top fitting back to the ho(system edited)er line. Ok, now heres the neat trick to make it heat while running through the pipe. If you do not get hot enough water, take and add reducers to the outflow fitting til you get the desired water temperature. Another easier way is to use a brass t-handle shutoff valve. You can adjust the waterflow so that it will heat as it flows up the pipe.

Hope this gives ya ideas. ;)
steve
mikeg
#11 Posted : Friday, July 25, 2003 4:04:21 PM
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If you didn''t want to get inside the pipe you could get nearly the same effect by adding more tubing and coil it around the outside of the the stove pipe. You could add an outer cover over it like a section larger stove pipe to contain more heat.
skruzich
#12 Posted : Friday, July 25, 2003 5:31:37 PM
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Mikeg i have tried that too, just found that it never got the water warm enough with it moving through the pipeline. The absolute best way is to get a water jacketed, wood stove and tap into it. I know monarch makes a good wood stove, and at one time they used to make a trashburner for the kitchen that had the water jacket and it would fit in a corner. It was a 2 burner heater/cooking/waterheating stove.
Not sure where you could get one nowadays. I have looked and cannot find one.
Now on a larger scale, if you wanted to heat with those outside wood burners you see for sale in the back of the MEN mag, you could tap into that for water heating capabilities.
Solar heating is ok, but when the temp drops down below the teens, you won''t heat much water with passive solar, Not enough to use for showers or bathing or even dishwashing.

Best thing that I have seen though, Is the on demand water heaters you can buy and install yourself. The propane ones are the best IMO, as if you have a solar or battery operated pump, you can have hot and cold running water even in powerfailures.

Steve
Penagashea
#13 Posted : Saturday, July 26, 2003 2:57:01 AM
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Oh yea! water jackets n a wood stove was one of things I''ve kept in mind. I totally forgot about rhe wood burning H20 heaters in the back of MEN!!! DUH!! I want to use slaor when I can and when I can''t I''ll use wood or dung. Thanx for reminding of the commercial ones MEN advertises!! I''ve seen some that are 3 fuel modles too!
andydufresne
#14 Posted : Thursday, September 25, 2003 3:59:48 PM
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I HAVE FOUND WHAT I WAS AFTER! [8D]

There is an ad in #200 for something that does what I was trying to do. What I wanted was to be able to PRE-HEAT the water and return it to the tank to then be heated by electric as much as necessary.

The item in MOTHER doesnt'' do EXACTLY that but is similar. I will put Antifreeze in my loop that goes onto the roof...pump it through and then it is pumped trough a heat exchanger that is insterted into the regular water heater.

NOW if someone knows how to build that we will be in business.
Apemanevo
#15 Posted : Thursday, September 25, 2003 4:51:04 PM
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Use glycol antifreeze. Check Thomas Elpel''s book Living Homes. He has a description of what you are trying to do here, with plans I believe. Also might be available on his website www.hollowtop.com

http://www.hollowtop.com/hopsstore_html/livinghomes.htm

He has written for TMEN before.
andydufresne
#16 Posted : Thursday, September 25, 2003 5:07:35 PM
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THANKS!

I have bookemarked him. The article near the ad in MOTHER tells how to do it but uses some things I am not familiar with. Perhaps when I have longer to look at it I can ask some questions here and get an idea of what to do.
andydufresne
#17 Posted : Thursday, September 25, 2003 5:07:35 PM
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A buddy of mine had a unique way of heating his hot tub. For about 3 hours a day he (he had a timer on the pump that did this for him) He pumped the water from the tub through a garden hose to the roof of his shed....there it went into black plastic hose, 2 coils of 50 feet. They were in a wooden "shadow box" frame painted black and covered with glass. Only three hours of this a day and the water for his hot tub STILL hot enough the next morning to lessen his arthritis.

NOW to the question.


Could I take the OUTLET of my water heater PUMP that water onto the roof through a contraptin like Ole George's and pump it back into the water heater through the intake pipe? It seems like sense the water pump would be emptying and replacing at the same time the water pressure would not interfere. I replace my galvanized pipe with PVC as it breaks but I don't really know that much about plumbing other than if it leaks I've done someting wrong.

Thanks for any comments.
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