DIY Solar Water Heater Made Easy

DIY Water Heater Illustration

Think you have what it takes to complete a DIY solar water heater? Awesome! Having made something that allows you to reclaim your energy independence is a good feeling. A homemade solar water heater will allow you to save on the costs of keeping your home warm, while helping you do your part in keeping CO2 emissions low.

 

The average American spends between $930 and $1,437 to keeping their home warm during the winter months. A DIY solar water heater project will cost you around one-third of this amount, and, once installed, it will allow you to harvest solar power to heat water for years ... at zero cost.

 

Here's how to make a solar water heater quickly and affordably:

 

The basic concept behind a solar water heater is quite simple. You need an insulated box, called a "collector" with pipes running inside it. These pipes carry water that is gradually heated thanks to the thermal energy trapped inside the collector.

 

You can play around with the materials needed to keep the costs low. The simplest way for you to make a DIY solar water heater is to use the thermo-siphon effect, in which the water flows through the collector without the aid of any pumps. As the water heats up inside the solar collector, it becomes slightly lighter, causing the colder, heavier water flowing into the collector from the bottom to push it out.

 

In order to make this work, you must place the tank of water on top of the collector, which should be mounted at an inclined angle.

 

The collector/panel: You will need a good absorber plate sitting at the base of the solar water heater; sheet aluminum is a good choice. On top of the absorber plate sit pipes through which water flows. Copper pipes are typically used inside a collector for best effect. You will need to cover the collector with a sheet of glass in order to insulate it.

 

The copper pipes themselves can be arranged in a "runner and riser" configuration where individual pipes are arranged vertically (risers) with two horizontal pipes (runners) one each on the top and the bottom connecting them. The runner at the bottom feeds cold water into the collector, while the second one at the top allows the hot water to exit. 

 

The "serpentine" configuration is also quite popular, as it only requires one single long copper pipe bent into back and forth shape along the collector's length.

 

Be sure to exercise due diligence when deciding how much material you require. Keep your location and hot water consumption into perspective in order to minimize waste.

 

Also, it's easier to install multiple collectors down the line as needed instead of making one giant one. This presents the added advantage of heated water from one collector flowing into the adjoining, which heats it up even further, a real advantage for those colder winter months.

 

Water tanks: You will require one large water tank to store the water. However you can also use two, one that holds the cold water at the top of the collector, and the second that holds the heated water as it flows out of the collector. Any tank can do the trick, but make sure they are clean and not too small.

 

Assembling the homemade solar water heater: The construction of your DIY solar water heater will depend on your water requirements and what materials are immediately available.

 

While DIY solar projects are fun, you can also get a fully functional, state-of-the-art solar power system for your home today at no upfront cost. Interested in finding out more? Start by getting a free quote.

 

Related:

What Can You Save With Solar?

With no end in sight for soaring electricity rates, your switch to solar will secure affordable power for your home & family for years to come.