Solar water heaters have been steadily gaining popularity all over the world in the recent years. These water heaters are certainly a great way to completely eliminate gas or electricity cost for heating water. Solar panels are placed on the roofs, to absorb sunlight, and this solar energy is transformed into heat energy by the solar panels. Building a solar water heater at home can be extremely useful. Moreover, it will definitely be an exciting experience for you.
Solar panels consist of a series of glass lined aluminum panes. Glass lined surface helps more efficient reflection of the incident rays from the sun. These panels also comprise of small tubes carrying water. As a result, water gets heated and is circulated throughout the panel in a way so that the hot water is always at the top. This ensures that there is a continuous supply of hot water. Passive and active are the two types of solar water heaters. Active solar water heaters are equipped with circulating pumps and different types of control. Whereas, the passive heaters, do not have any of those. Solar water heaters are now used in several homes, bungalows, hospitals, hotels, flats, dormitories, and industries.
Building a solar water heater is not a very expensive affair because your only investment is the purchase of required materials. These materials are available for a nominal price at any hardware store in your locality. Make it a point not to opt for a fabricated system because these systems can be heavily priced.
The very first step for you is to select the location for your solar water heater. To ensure maximum exposure to sun’s radiations, it is always advisable to install the heater on a corner of your house with the maximum southern exposure. You may also install it at the ground level.
Use a good quality black paint to paint your water tank so that your tank is able to absorb the maximum amount of solar energy from the sun rays. Your next task is to construct an inclined plywood box for your water tank. The incline will make it possible for you to position the heater upright so that heating is more efficient. To minimize the loss of energy, insulate the box interior with fiberglass lining. Now it is time to place the water tank inside the box and connect all pipes and plumbing fittings towards the lower end of the tank. Water from your house will be transported to the water heater through these pipes. Another set of pipes are to be connected to the upper end of the heater, and they will also connect to your house’s regular water heater. Your house’s regular water heater acts here as the backup, and keeps the water hot. Finally, all exposed pipes must be protected from cold weather by proper insulation. Wrapping fiberglass or insulating foam can be used for this purpose.