where to find instructions for DIY solar hot water

naplesgardenerFebruary 20, 2007

OK I'm want to install solar hot water to replace our electric unit. Several issues:

1.No one locally (100 miles) installs them-only pool heaters (I live in Naples FL)

2.We are not capable of DIY

3. Electric backup is only choice-no gas or LP possible.

So what I'm thinking is getting our handyman who is licensed plumber to do it after we have a primer in hand to guide him/us through it. Or should we use an electrician as the primary rather than a plumber?

We seem to be in the perfect climate (sunny/mild) to take advantage of solar but there is VERY little solar in South Florida. Not because electric is cheap, it's not.

Nor is it reliable. Even in non-hurricane season we have short-term interruption to electric service.

Reasons for lack of installers I can think of are that the rich are here only 2-3 months a year (or less) and don't see solar cost benefit and there aren't enough year-round upper-middle spenders. Bulk of population is young family types and older retired with less disposable income.

Where can I get nuts and bolts HOW TO manual? If we can't explain how to do it it won't be done.

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thank you for the website direction. there's a lot there and reading it makes me think OUR handyman cannot do it. The Florida example given shows an asphalt roof and ours is tile (as many are here) which will complicate matters.
I'll wait until my husband is in a receptive mood and let him look it over.
Or maybe we'll just move to California where "solar" is not a foreign word.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 4:46PM
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The collectors can also go on the ground as long as you have a spot that gets good sun.

Here are some pictures of an evacutuated tube collector going on a tile roof:


    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 11:09PM
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Mother Earth News has had some good articles the past two-three months on DIY water heaters

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 11:20PM
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thanks for the suggestion. I've never been able to find that mag in any store here (lol) so I'm going to get a subscription.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 8:26AM
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Not that I would in any way discourage you from subscribing to MEN -- its a fine magazine, but if you want a preview, all of the articles in each issue are available on their website.

They are in the middle of doing some updates to their website, so not everything may be up right now.


Here is a link that might be useful: Mother Earth New

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 10:10AM
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Here is another website which may be helpfull. It shows simple diagrams for the basic system, not too complicated.

Hope that helps,

Dan Martyn

Here is a link that might be useful: US DOE Solar Water Heating

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 3:54PM
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Being in south Florida, You'll find a heat recovery unit for your A/C much more cost-effective than solar hot water....Rather than 'hot water for free', a HRU is cost-negative...r.e. the more hot water that's used, the lower the A/C bill goes.

In hot climates a proven strategy that works well is a heat recovery unit attached to your AC unit. It provides free hot water and also increases the efficiency of the AC a couple of SEER points by reducing head pressure (and electricity draw) on the compressor. You're paying for your A/C to move a great deal of heat out of your house, you might as well use that heat to provide you with hot water. Adding one of these to an older AC unit that still runs well is a good way to cut $30-$50 off your monthly power bill during AC season (which here in cent Fl can be about 9 months). The neatest thing about this solution is that it's cost-negative. In addition to being free hot water as opposed to other 'high efficiency' heaters that still consume energy, it actually lowers your cost of air conditioning. Here is a manufacturer's site for two of these and a power company document about it as well. The second mfg site has a neat calculator for your savings...but my experience shows it to be somewhat under-optimistic. I don't think it's taking into account how a hru will improve your AC's efficiency. There are claims that they don't work with higher efficiency unit, but I have two HRU connected to 13 SEER heat pumps that provide plenty of hot water.





    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 3:18AM
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