Do It Yourself Solar Water Heater

I’ve gotten an overwhelmingly positive response for my article on a homemade geothermal cooling system. In the spirit of that post, I want to share another frugal do it yourself alternative energy project that can generate hot water for a bath, shower, cleaning dishes, or other uses.

A few weeks ago, I was filling up my daughters small splash pool with a garden hose. Unfortunately, the water that comes out of our garden hose is a chilly 58deg and much too cold for her to enjoy splashing about in her pool.

I needed a relatively quick way to heat the water. Naturally, the first thought was to boil a large pot of water and dump in the pool to bring the average temperature of the 35-40 gallon pool to a more tolerable temperature. We were heading back into the house to fire up the stove when I had another thought…

In the past when I left the water hose uncoiled in the daylight, I noticed that the first few gallons in the hose were warm from the suns heat. I thought to myself, “hey, I can use this to my advantage here and heat the water in the pool with solar energy”!

Here is how I did it. First I had to maximize the volume of water inside the garden hose. I happened to have an extra hose in my garage that I connected to the single hose that I already had in use. Now I had about 125 feet of harden hose with an internal volume of just under 4 gallons.
To maximize the effect of the suns heat, I stretched the hose out across the black tarred driveway in front of my house. I made sure that the hose was filled with water and then I closed the spigot valve.

Every 5 minutes or so I would test the water with my hand to gauge the temperature. After about 20 minutes the water felt “hot” and a quick test with our instant thermometer confirmed that the water was a “scorching” 112 degrees.

Now that I had 4 gallons of warm water I simply turned the spigot valve back on and sprayed the hot water into the kiddie pool to warm it up to a more comfortable temperature.

This experiment offers more possibilities than just warming water in a kiddie pool. 4 Gallons of warm water is more than enough to wash a dishwasher full of dishes. The most “frugal” of families could even run the hose up into their shower and use the hot water to shower with.

Connect even more hoses and you could generate enough water to fill up a bathtub!

Like my geothermal cooling system, this project isn’t going to change the world but it is a fun experiment to undertake with your family, and every little bit of energy savings help!

Related Articles:
An Explanation of how Geothermal Heat Pump Systems Work
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF): Green Building Technology
Do It Yourself (DIY) Geothermal Cooling System
Should You Pre-Buy Your Home Heating Oil This Year?
Do It Yourself Home Energy Audits
36 Ways to Reduce Your Home’s Energy Use

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6 Responses

  1. Until Debt do Us Part 9 years ago
  2. minus273degrees 9 years ago
  3. Frenchie 9 years ago
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