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Thread: DIY solar hot water (we need an off-topic forum!)

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    804

    Re: DIY solar hot water (we need an off-topic forum!)

    I don't see why not. The only problem I see is that you're supposed to get a registered plumber to do any work that involves mains pressure water, which is one of the things holding me back from doing something myself.

    But perhaps you can do everything but the final connection yourself and get a plumber to do that and inspect it. Or just not tell anyone!

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bargo NSW
    Posts
    311

    Re: DIY solar hot water (we need an off-topic forum!)

    Quote Originally Posted by pangit View Post
    But perhaps you can do everything but the final connection yourself and get a plumber to do that and inspect it. Or just not tell anyone!


    Either way the MOST important thing you could put in place at this connection point between mains and yoursetup would be a non-return valve. Most important that what ever is done on your property does not get back into the mains system.
    Dave


  3. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tasmania
    Posts
    538

    Re: DIY solar hot water (we need an off-topic forum!)

    Many years ago, I made a solar hot water heater in the Snowy mountains using poly pipe and a couple of 12 gallon drums. I made a small sided long box and nailed flattened out 5 gallon drums(20lt) in it, then painted it all with brushable hydroseal, a bituminous paint. Then we laid half inch poly in it and covered it with the hydroseal, we were able to get a large flat piece of clear perspex and put that over the lot, sealing it with a vent in the top. In those days the drums were pretty thick so we cut out the tops and gas welded them together, putting an inlet in the bottom of one end and the top of the other. Then we wrapped it in insulation and put corrugated iron round it and riveted it together. Luckily I had a friend who was a boiler maker advising me and he arrived one day just before I was going to connect it all up and put a relief valve in it. We used a small 12v pressure pump from a boat to give the house water system pressure, a non return valve before the heater and one after it. We set it up on a roof with the relief valve on top and a high overflow pipe. It worked wonderfully and is still being used on the house more then 25 years later, with a few repairs and updates.

    During our first winter we had constant hot water and it was lovely. However when the summer came along, we suddenly had a steam generator which by lunchtime was going off. So I put in a another box with inch poly and only painted the inside black, that reduced the heat and we had manageable hot water in summer and could switch over in winter. The winter one in summer was covered in old carpet, during winter we ended u leaving the summer on connected before the winter one that gave us more area to heat the water and get it hotter. We also insulated the outlets.

    The place I have now is almost fully self-sufficient for power, fuel and food. But as this place had a electric hot water service I've been slack. So this is what I intend to do, I'm going to use a few of the large number of 20lt drums we have and join them together, If I can't MIG them, I will epoxy them together, make another box using the method above, but have controllable vents in it and use half inch ( no snow here)poly. Put it on top of the glass house on the north wall and we will have hot water and shade in the summer.

    I'm sure there are many ways to do this, cheaply. If you have a large compost heap, you can put coils of poly in it and use that heat as well. There's also the quantum solar hot water heater, which extracts the heat from the air like a fridge and uses that to heat water, by only working when you want hot water, it reduces your power bills by a lot. With a bit of ingenuity, you could run one on solar or a biodiesel powered generator.

    Great how you've evolved the site Robert, it gets more interesting each day. If anyone's interested, I have some plans for making a wind generators using 20lt drums.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Zimbabwe
    Posts
    1

    Re: DIY solar hot water (we need an off-topic forum!)

    Here in Zimbabwe we experience constant electrical power cuts (and, very often, water cuts). I am looking to make a closed system solar hot water unit which will enable me to take showers in our winter as cold water is a bit too much for old bones. I've been looking on the internet and there are numerous systems, but they all call for copper piping and sheeting, which is scarce and expensive.
    Can anyone suggest a very simple, practical way of heating water by solar - we have plenty of sun?
    I did think of a 200 l. drum, painted black and wrapped in black plastic and covered with clear plastic sheet, joined to another insulated drum to carry the hot water.
    Any suggestions would be most welcome.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Tasmania
    Posts
    538

    Re: DIY solar hot water (we need an off-topic forum!)

    Get yourself a roll of 2 inch poly pipe, don't unroll it, just sit in the sun and tie the roll so it doesn't unravel. Stakes of some sort around and inside the coil will help stabilise. Connect cold water to the bottom end and the outlet from the top, using smaller diam poly. You can place sides around it and on top if you need to, using old windows to keep wind out and heat in. Then you not only have a hot water system, but the 2 inch poly pipe acts as a storage tank. A small solar powered pump would make it a self contained and self sufficient.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Telegraph Point NSW
    Posts
    305

    Re: DIY solar hot water (we need an off-topic forum!)

    Quote Originally Posted by george130 View Post
    Ok those who have built a solar system or played with their hot water. Is there any reason why you can't use the extra plumbing points in the tank? ie my hot water tank has two connectors at the top and botton of which only one of ech is in use.
    Pressurised system? Make sure the pressure relief valves work. if the panels can be lower then the tank thermosiphon will work fine.

    If tank is on the ground and panels on the roof you will need a pump to circulate water.
    ****************
    Telegraph Point NSW
    Landcruiser GXL '96 - 80:20 blends
    Pug 1.6 HDi - 308 Touring Wagon - definitely not game :-)
    ****************

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