Solar Water Heating and Cooking

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					Solar Water Heating and Cooking
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".
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.
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...
Making the heating pipes or hose longer.
Painting the inside surface of your frame black.
Insulating the outside of your frame.
Putting a glass cover on the frame to trap the sun's thermal energy
inside the frame sort of like a solar oven.
Insulating your input & output hoses.
Set up some solar reflectors to channel more rays into your frame.
Insulate your holding tank.
Feed the hot water from your holding tank into your existing hot water
heater so you always have hot water even on cloudy days.
You can also feed the hot water into your radiant home heating system.
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 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.
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.
For more information on generating electricity, making biodiesel, using
solar energy, etc please visit Bill Anderson's web site at