You don’t have to solar power your entire electrify supply for your home. You can build your own DIY solar water heating panels just to provide your home with cheap hot water. A solar water heating system is made up of solar panels and a tank for storing the heated water. Depending on the climate a solar hot water system can reduce the cost of heating water by up to 85%.
There are two kinds of residential solar water heating systems. They can be passive or active. The main difference is that an active system will also contain a pump to distribute the heated water. The water in the tank will be heated by the DIY solar water heating panels. However if there is insufficient sunlight mains electricity is generally used if the water temperature drops below a minimum setting. Hot water is therefore available all around the clock.
In order to build a solar heating system you would build a solar collector which is made from your DIY solar water heating panels. Water will flow through the collector where it is heated. In the case of an active system the water will be pumped through the collector otherwise it will flow through natural convection (passive system).
DIY solar water heating panels are easy to make. The collector is an insulated box that is covered in glass that has a sheet metal solar absorber that is attached to black painted copper pipes. A parabolic mirror can also be used to concentrate the sunlight before it is absorbed. The heated water will then flow back to a collection tank where it is ready to be used by the household.
It is important to be aware that in periods of prolonged sunshine the water can reach very high temperatures and therefore steam pressure will build up. A well designed system will allow the pressure to be released or excess heat to be absorbed through a heat dump.
With the popularity of DIY, environmental concerns and increasing electricity prices, many people have been building their own DIY solar water heating panels. These can either be built from scratch using designs and materials in a manual such as Earth 4 Energy. It is also possible to buy kits that contain that contain all of the components you need and are easy to install. DIY solar water heating panels are much cheaper to produce that commercially available ones. The installation costs of a commercial system are often quite expensive and this cost can be avoided if you do it yourself. The plumbing and electrical installation is often easy and can be done without the help of a plumber or electrician.