DIY solar collector boost your hot water system

This home is heated by a wood stove in the winter, which also produces hot water. But the other three seasons it’s an electric water heater that does the work. This latest hack is a solar collector meant to take over the hot water production work for the house. it uses basic building materials and rudimentary construction skills, making it much more approachable than trying to make electricity from the sun.

It’s really just a wood box with a glass lid. The inside has been painted black, and the black tubing that snakes through it holds the water. A three-way valve lets the homeowner patch into the hot water reservoir. The collector is lower than the reservoir, so the heated water makes its way back into the tank as cooler water takes its place. Not bad for an entirely passive system!

[Thanks Minde]

Composting to create hot water

Want nature to supply you with 130-150 degree hot water? [Onestraw] shows you how to get just that by building a compost heap that heats water. Finding himself the proud owner of a dump truck of green wood chips [Onestraw] went about building his own version of Jean Pain’s thermal compost pile. The idea is to produce and store methane generated from the compost pile but in order to do so, the temperature must be kept fairly low. The microorganisms in the compost generate a lot of heat trying to break down that matter and running water through the system will keep the temperature low enough for the methane-producers to be happy. The side effect of this cooling system is hot water coming out the other end. [Onestraw] even has plans to use salvaged car radiators to turn the hot water into a heating system for his home. Granted you’re not going to add this to your apartment, but if you have space and waste plant matter and need hot water this is a great way to get it.

[Thanks Joel]

Cold climate solar water heater

Here’s a solar water heater setup that augments your home’s water heater instead of replacing it. The system monitors a solar collector panel on the roof for temperature. If the temperature is warm enough, a photo voltaic cell powered pump circulates cold water through the system. The heated water returns to the top of the home’s water heater. Unlike the warm-climate solar heater we saw earlier, this one can withstand freezing because it uses silicone tubing in the collector.

[Thanks Marius]

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