Do-It-Yourself Tips for Solar Hot Water Success: Page 3 of 4

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Bob and Carol Inouye in front of their Solar Hot Water Collectors
Bob and Carol Inouye in front of their Solar Hot Water Collectors
Backfilling the support posts.
Backfilling the support posts.
Drilling holes for bolts that will secure the crossbeams
Drilling holes for bolts that will secure the crossbeams and add rigidity to the posts.
The floor is stoutly framed to support the solar hot water storage tank.
The floor is stoutly framed to support the solar hot water storage tank.
The framework—ready for insulation and a roof.
The framework—ready for insulation and a roof.
The well-insulated shed was sized just large enough
The well-insulated shed was sized just large enough to accommodate the tank and mechanicals.
The almost-complete closed-loop plumbing
The almost-complete closed-loop plumbing. The original spring-type check valve was replaced.
The completed plumbing, wrapped with high-temperature insulation
The completed plumbing, wrapped with high-temperature insulation and equipped with a swing-type check valve.
The flat-plate collectors in place, but not yet plumbed.
The flat-plate collectors in place, but not yet plumbed. The collectors were canted slightly to the right to facilitate drainage and thermosiphoning.
Bob and Carol Inouye in front of their Solar Hot Water Collectors
Backfilling the support posts.
Drilling holes for bolts that will secure the crossbeams
The floor is stoutly framed to support the solar hot water storage tank.
The framework—ready for insulation and a roof.
The well-insulated shed was sized just large enough
The almost-complete closed-loop plumbing
The completed plumbing, wrapped with high-temperature insulation
The flat-plate collectors in place, but not yet plumbed.

Prepare for high heat. The hot closed-loop exchange pipes between the collectors and the solar storage tank call for special insulation that can withstand high temperatures. Ordinary foam insulation sleeves are not designed to hold up against the higher temperatures produced by solar collectors. UV-resistant rubber pipe insulation rated up to 220ºF works well but can be difficult to find locally.  The piping coming out of the storage tanks is not subjected to the high temperatures present in the closed loop, and ordinary pipe insulation works well.

Comments (2)

cassandraortiz's picture

Those DIY tips are quite helpful and informative for individuals who wish to do tasks in order to save money and learn a lot including electrical and many more.

Richard Thomson's picture

Great story, sounds like some system. I took the lazy route and installed a Sunward Solar HW Kit. ( http://www.gosunward.com/ ) It was easy to install and I feel fair priced, OG-300 Certified. What ever you choose, I agree that having solar hot water seems to feel better.
Dick T

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