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					Solar Water Heating and Cooking

<p>This article is on a subject that I think is very underutilized in the
world and that is solar energy - and I'm not talking about expensive
solar panels either. I'm talking about practically FREE solar heat. I
can't tell you how many emails I get from people complaining about their
high energy bills. Someone emailed me a couple of weeks ago and said they
were thinking about switching from natural gas water heating to electric
water heating (they had a radiant floor heating system). That was a
"first" for me! Natural gas has always been less expensive than electric
(at least in Georgia anyway). I emailed them back and told them they
could heat their hot water inexpensively using the sun as I describe in
my book "Electricity - Make it, Don't Buy it".</p><p>When I was a Boy
Scout, a friend of mine and I got tired of taking cold showers at Camp
Straughn in Savannah so we decided to take on a little "project"... my
friend found a huge aluminum tank somewhere and all we did was mount the
tank on a stand about 4 feet off the ground. This is required for the
thermosiphon effect to take place as described in the book. The next
thing we did was build a simple frame out of 2x4's and plywood. If I
remember correctly we only used one sheet of plywood. We then ran a black
hose serpentine style back and forth horizontally on the frame. I know
everyone reading this article has turned their garden hose on after it
has been sitting in the sun for a while and noticed how hot the water
gets. Down here in the South it will scald you if you're not careful. One
end of the hose was connected to the right/bottom of the water tank and
entered the lower part of the frame - this was the cold water in
connection. The hot water output side came out of the top of the frame
and into the left side of the tank. There was also a "cold water in" line
going into the tank and a "hot water out" line coming out of the top part
of the tank (where the hot water rises) and went to the
showers.</p><p>That's all there was to it! The water was warm with this
setup and it heated the water absolutely free. It was very inexpensive
and all the Scouts and Leaders loved it. Anybody can do this. On Fontana
Lake in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll see big coils of black plastic tubing
(and maybe 50 gallon drums) on top of the houseboats - that’s their hot
water heaters! With a few improvements, you can easily make scalding hot
water with a system like this. Some improvements could be...</p><p>Making
the heating pipes or hose longer.</p><p>Painting the inside surface of
your frame black.</p><p>Insulating the outside of your
frame.</p><p>Putting a glass cover on the frame to trap the sun's thermal
energy inside the frame sort of like a solar oven.</p><p>Insulating your
input & output hoses.</p><p>Set up some solar reflectors to channel more
rays into your frame.</p><p>Insulate your holding tank.</p><p>Feed the
hot water from your holding tank into your existing hot water heater so
you always have hot water even on cloudy days.</p><p>You can also feed
the hot water into your radiant home heating system.</p><p>I can assure
you... a good chunk of your energy bill goes to heating water and
cooking. Nobody uses solar ovens and they are so simple to make and use
and they work like a charm! I encourage you to go to <a target="_new"
and get all the details on how to make your own solar oven. Doug Edwards
runs the site and it is absolutely free. Lots of great information there
that will definitely cut a big chunk out of your energy bill - not to
mention how useful a solar oven will be when the power goes
out.</p><p>And... don't forget about all the home heating principles as
described in "Electricity - Make it, Don't Buy it". I guarantee you,
solar home heating will save you some money by cutting your heating bill
dramatically. And it can be as simple as installing a solar room on your
house and channeling the heated air into and throughout your home. Not
only will it heat your home, but you will enjoy the extra space
too.</p><p>For more information on generating electricity, making
biodiesel, using solar energy, etc please visit Bill Anderson's web site
at <a target="_new"

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