How To Build a Solar Hot Water Heater
Searching for ways to save money on your energy
bill? You can achieve this if you build a solar hot
water heater. These water heaters are easy to build
and there are even versions that work well in colder
If you live in a climate where you get a lot of
steady sunlight, then it may be a good idea to build a solar
hot water heater in order to use that sunlight to your
advantage. The biggest question will be: just how much hot
water do you need, and which hot
water heater project is the best for you?
There are several different options out there and the projects
are of differing degrees of difficulty. I can give you a
general idea of how to build a solar hot water heater, but
you’ll need to decide which option is best for you before you
can get more specific instructions.
The most common type of solar hot water heater
is called a “batch water heater”. This is definitely the
easiest way to build a solar hot water heater, which explains
how common it is. The basic mechanics of a batch hot water
heater is a water tank that is placed outside or in a glass
container so that sunlight can heat the container and the water
The best way to make a batch water heater is to
paint the water tank with matte black paint so that it absorbs
as much sunlight as possible, and then to stick that water tank
inside of a glass box. This glass box will trap the heat from
any sunlight that is not immediately absorbed by the water tank
in a method similar to a greenhouse.
The disadvantage of a batch water heater is
that it needs to be emptied in climates where the weather
regularly drops below freezing during the winter. Otherwise,
freezing pipes are likely to burst.
If you live in a colder climate and still want
to build a solar hot water heater, then you should probably try
one of the other options, even though they are more difficult
to put together.
These hot water heaters are called the “closed
loop” and “drainback” systems. These allow you to have a solar
powered hot water system in areas where you can expect the
weather to drop below freezing during the winter - if you don’t
want to go through the trouble of draining your batch water
heater each year.
Closed loop or drainback systems are safe in
colder climates because the water does not sit outside for long
periods of time. Instead, water is circulated through a loop up
to the solar collector panels and then back to the hot water
heater. Since only a small amount of water is being heated at
one time, the water heater can usually stay heated longer than
a batch water heater.
Most closed loop systems cost between $900 and
$2000 to make. Although some basic carpentry and plumbing
experience will be needed to make these solar hot water
heaters, there are several different versions out there that
can all be made at home. It is estimated that most people will
make back the money they spent to make the water heater within
the first year of use.
The closed loop system may also require more
than one water tank, depending on which kind of loop system
you’re thinking about building.
Whether you’re looking to decrease your carbon
footprint or you just want to save some money on electricity or
gas costs, you should build a solar hot water heater for your
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