Solar energy is one way to heat water for using in a home; it saves on the cost of electricity and gas, and is also friendly to the atmosphere. In simple terms solar water heaters use the sun’s rays to heat the water inside the tubes which are located inside the solar panel, and this heated water is then transferred back to the household’s hot water tank for later use.
If you are thinking of a do it yourself water heating system of this type, you are going to need to know how to build a solar water heater. First you will need to purchase the materials required to do this, these are generally available from most hardware stores.
The next step is to select the most appropriate site for your solar water heater and this is usually somewhere on the southern side of the building. This can be on the ground, the roof or somewhere in between but locating a site which gets a maximum exposure throughout the day will give the best results.
One of the items you will purchase when going through the process of how to build a solar water heater is a storage or collection tank, this needs to be painted black to help it absorb a much of the sun’s energy as possible, dark colors absorb much more heat than do light colors.
You will need to line a strong box which is approximately the same size as the tank, with insulation of some kind perhaps fiberglass or something similar to reduce heat loss.
After you have completed the installation of the tank into the box, the main cold water supply into your house needs to be connected using a separate pipe and bypass valve, to the lower section of the collection tank with the appropriate fittings, the tank is also connected with piping to one end of the solar panel.
Next connect the other end of the solar panel with piping to the top of the collection tank which is also connected back to the main household water heater.
You have almost completed the method of how to build a solar water heater, and the next thing to do is to insulate all the piping where the hot water will be flowing, this will help maintain the heat and reduce any loss of temperature before it is collected in the main household water heater.
The top of the box can be covered with a clear plastic sheet or window glass which will also helps to insulate this part of the unit. Your main water heating unit for your house will act as a backup when the water from the solar water heater doesn’t reach the temperature of the normal household unit.
It will however help to reduce the cost of heating water as any water flowing in from the solar water heater will be already up to a certain temperature, and the normal hot water heater only has to continue heating till it reaches the appropriate temperature for the house.