Build A Solar Collector For Hot Water

What You'll Need
A 3 X 4 sheet of glass
A 1 X 1 pine boards
A black rubber floor mat
Aluminum foil
A heat exchanger from a used refrigerator
Brass fittings and hoses

With propane gas prices always fluctuating, many individuals look to build a solar collector for hot water. One collector alone can supply shower water for a family of four. Reducing dependency on traditional hot water heaters can help to lower the monthly utility costs operating a house. Adding more collectors produces more monthly savings.

Additionally, awareness has increased about environmental concerns that prompt people hoping to contribute to a healthy planet through solar energy research and implementation. This implementation can be seen through creating a solar collector that captures sunlight that heats up water. Cool water enters the exchange where sunlight, instead of a gas or oil generated heater warms he water. Building one is a relatively simple task as described below.

Step 1 – Frame

Build a collector frame by cutting two 3-foot and two 4-foot pine boards. Screw the 3s to the 4s at each end to create a rectangular frame. Apply aluminum foil to one side of the black rubber mat and then place the frame on top of the foil.

Step 2 – Heat Exchanger and Glass

Attach the rubber mat to the frame with screws and then place the heat exchanger inside the frame. Place the 3 X 4 sheet of glass on top of the frame sandwiching the heat exchanger inside. Caulk the glass to secure it to the frame.

Step 3 – Connect Water Pipe

The cold water pipe needs to connect to the heat exchanger hose inlet using the brass fittings and the hot water hose attaches to the heat exchanger hose outlet.

Step 4 - Angle the Collector

Locate the collector in an area where it gets direct sunlight like on top a roof. Now turn on the cold water at a slow-to-medium rate. As the collector sits soaking up the sun’s rays, the internal temperature of the collector begins to rise and as it does, the water of the outgoing water will get warmer.

Step 5 – Connect to the House

After you have sufficiently tested the new collector and it works, connect the outlet (hot) water to a bathroom or to your house hot water tank for storage.

A single collector built as described can supply hot water to a shower or a small bathroom. Build additional solar collectors to supply “green” produced hot water for other household uses such as laundry or kitchen needs.

Necessary caution needs to be observed in order to stay safe. Temperature for hot water produced by a solar collector can reach 110 degrees.

As more research is conducted about solar energy, more devices and plans become available for consumer use. A great way to stay up-to-date with solar energy information is to investigate sources available on the Internet