Build a Solar Water Heater

For a total investment of $30, Doyle Akers and his family now have a solar water heater supplying them with water seven months of the year.

| May/June 1978

Learn how to build a solar water heater using these tips from this successful low-cost solar design.

Build a Solar Water Heater

"The little fellow seldom slays the giant," says north Texas resident Doyle Akers. "Not really. Not since David laid it on Goliath anyway. But it sure is fun when we little guys (MOTHER-type homesteaders) get to tweak the giants' (the big power companies) toes from time to time."

My wife Georgia and I moved out to our little homestead ten years ago because we value an independent way of life. We've found, however — as so many others have — that life (independent or not) carries an increasingly large price tag these days.

So we've learned to scrounge and barter for many of the things we need . . . and to use our own country ingenuity to provide much of the rest.

We patch our clothes and turn out the lights when they aren't needed. We swap for used tools and other items, and then repair them. We carry home the smashed 2 by 4's we find alongside the road, cut out the good parts, and use the lumber in various ways around the place. And we notice the blistering-hot water which comes out of a plastic hose that's been left lying in the sun . . . and wonder if we can't use the idea to help at least one David (our little homestead) tweak the toes of at least one Goliath (by lessening our mini-farm's consumption of the local big power company's high-priced electricity).

Well, we can. And we know because Georgia and I have been doing just that for over a year now. Not all the time and not in a polished, state-of-the-art fashion. But — for a total investment of only $30 and a week of slow going — we now have a solar water heater which supplies us with almost all the hot water we can use seven months of the year. (And if we really wanted to, I don't think it'd be too hard to modify the setup so it'd operate on a year-round basis.)

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