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How to Build Your Own Solar Water Heater

Kanika Khara Nov 22, 2018
A homemade solar water heater (SWH), as the name suggests, is used to heat water and can be used in any climate. Building your own SWH system can be fun and extremely useful too.
A solar water heater is a great and innovative way of heating water, as it eliminates the cost of electric heaters or gas. It has solar panels that utilize solar energy to heat the water. These panels are usually set on the roofs of the houses for better absorption of the sun's rays.
It comprises of many aluminum panels lined with glass, which causes a better reflection of the incident sunrays. It contains tubes that carry water which gets heated due to these rays. This water is circulated continuously in a manner such that the hot water rises up and the cold water comes down. Due to this, the water remains hot all the time.
There are mainly two types of solar water heaters, viz., active and passive. The active heaters have circulating pumps and controls, whereas the passive heaters do not. The solar heaters are being used for both domestic and commercial purposes, like in homes, apartments, bungalows, hotels, hospitals, hostels, dormitories, and even in industries.

How to build a solar water heater

The only investment one has to make for building an SWH is the material required for its construction. These materials are easily available at any hardware shop at an affordable prices. Avoid splurging on expensive fabricated ones.
Here is how you can build a solar water heater:

Select a location for the heater on a side of the house that gets adequate southern exposure for maximum sun radiations. Installing the water heater at the ground level will also do.
Paint the water tank black. This will help the it absorb maximum energy of the sun, as dark colors absorb more heat as compared to light ones.

Construct a plywood box for the tank and make an incline in the box so that the heater can be positioned upright to produce hotter water. Insulate the interior of the box with fiberglass to minimize energy losses.
Place the water tank in the box, and connect the plumbing fittings and pipes to the lower side of it. These pipes carry the water from the house, which usually goes into the regular heater, to the solar water heater.
Connect one more set of pipes from the top of the heater that will go back to the regular heater in the house, which acts as a backup unit and maintains the water warm until needed.
Insulate the exposed pipes to protect them from freezing in cold weather. Insulating foam can be used for this purpose, or a wrapping fiberglass insulation around the pipes will also be highly effective. Cover the box with window glass or clear plastic to maintain the heat within.
This is one of the simplest and most cost-effective methods of constructing a solar water heater. These heaters will slash down your electricity bills to minimum and will also help in saving the Earth's store of fossil fuels.