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Thread: Solar Water Heater

  1. #1

    Default Solar Water Heater

    Well I am 99% finished with my solar water heater project. I purchased it from here: http://www.dudadiesel.com/choose_item.php?id=SHS400

    If anyone out there has ever considered adding solar to your home, a solar water heater is the most economical option out there. After federal and state tax credits the payback time on the project will be right around 2 years. That's hard to beat!

    For mounting I built a steel frame and welded it to a 21' stick of 6" sch 40 steel pipe. I'll try to post pictures tomorrow.

    Everything seems to be good except the cheap piece of crap "working station" more like "leaking station" almost every fitting leaked as they were glued together. so I had the bright idea to take it all apart and put it back together using Teflon tape... problem is the fittings used are crap and you can put 12 layers of tape and they are still loose. So for now I am debating on exactly what to do. I removed most of the fittings by removing the expansion tank but I figure the best solution would be to either braze the bronze or just replace the crap fittings with good quality fittings. I guess I always could just glue the crap back together... LOL
    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

  2. #2

    Default

    Years ago, in high school, I experimented with a passive thermosiphoning system solar hot water heater, in the dead of winter for a science project. It worked, and it won. For the collector, I used copper tubing bent into "S" shapes brazed to a piece of sheet metal. It was sprayed all black It was placed inside of a wooden black box with a hinged lid. The lid had a glass in it. The tank was a 5 gallon uninsulated steel tank. I kept a measure of the temperature of the water coming out of the tank and out of the collector. Both were outside. The water coming out of the collector during a 20 degree day was over 180.00 and the tank temp was close to 100. I have always wanted to have one installed at my house. I think it would cut on the power bill considerably. Just down the road, a guy is selling complete solar systems for hot water...but I think that would take the fun out of it.

  3. #3

    Default

    We picked up a free hot tub years ago. The hot water heater (electric) was broke. We had 75' of hose, black paint and a big sheet of glass and did the same thing. Put a pump and timer we already had on it and worked for month until I found there was a wire off on the electric heater tube. Amazing how hot the water can get with solar power.

    I want to fix our AC to/thru hot water heater value one day. It is so old I could not find one. But it takes the AC hot line through the hot water heater. The AC does all the work. And in Florida, it runs all but maybe a month or so a year.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneJackson View Post
    Well I am 99% finished with my solar water heater project. I purchased it from here: http://www.dudadiesel.com/choose_item.php?id=SHS400

    If anyone out there has ever considered adding solar to your home, a solar water heater is the most economical option out there. After federal and state tax credits the payback time on the project will be right around 2 years. That's hard to beat!

    For mounting I built a steel frame and welded it to a 21' stick of 6" sch 40 steel pipe. I'll try to post pictures tomorrow.

    Everything seems to be good except the cheap piece of crap "working station" more like "leaking station" almost every fitting leaked as they were glued together. so I had the bright idea to take it all apart and put it back together using Teflon tape... problem is the fittings used are crap and you can put 12 layers of tape and they are still loose. So for now I am debating on exactly what to do. I removed most of the fittings by removing the expansion tank but I figure the best solution would be to either braze the bronze or just replace the crap fittings with good quality fittings. I guess I always could just glue the crap back together... LOL
    Is that price that is shown there correct? $3350?

    Even with 30% off I don't see that having a 2 year ROI.
    Everlast 200DX
    Everlast PT185
    Shoptask 3-in-1 (not currently in my garage, but I own it...)

    Any day on a motorcycle like this that ends just needing parts and labor is a good day.
    4.82, 158.67mph 1/8th mile 7.350, 200.35mph 1/4 mile

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by performance View Post
    Years ago, in high school, I experimented with a passive thermosiphoning system solar hot water heater, in the dead of winter for a science project. It worked, and it won. For the collector, I used copper tubing bent into "S" shapes brazed to a piece of sheet metal. It was sprayed all black It was placed inside of a wooden black box with a hinged lid. The lid had a glass in it. The tank was a 5 gallon uninsulated steel tank. I kept a measure of the temperature of the water coming out of the tank and out of the collector. Both were outside. The water coming out of the collector during a 20 degree day was over 180.00 and the tank temp was close to 100. I have always wanted to have one installed at my house. I think it would cut on the power bill considerably. Just down the road, a guy is selling complete solar systems for hot water...but I think that would take the fun out of it.
    Yea I considered building my own but I really needed the tax break last year. Plus there isnt enough hours in the day for me.... notice I am up LATE (yea 5am and not to bed yet...)
    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    We picked up a free hot tub years ago. The hot water heater (electric) was broke. We had 75' of hose, black paint and a big sheet of glass and did the same thing. Put a pump and timer we already had on it and worked for month until I found there was a wire off on the electric heater tube. Amazing how hot the water can get with solar power.

    I want to fix our AC to/thru hot water heater value one day. It is so old I could not find one. But it takes the AC hot line through the hot water heater. The AC does all the work. And in Florida, it runs all but maybe a month or so a year.
    You mean something like this: http://www.acdirect.com/xcart/produc...productid=2174

    I looked at putting one of those on my house, but went with a tankless heater (gas) so I could not use on. After figuring out the tankless used about $50 of gas a month I started looking at solar....
    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sportbike View Post
    Is that price that is shown there correct? $3350?

    Even with 30% off I don't see that having a 2 year ROI.
    Yea it is but I did not buy the full kit from them. My total cost was $2842. Federal is 30% State is 35% so total credit of 65% or 1847.30 for a net cost of $994.70. My tankless uses roughly $50 a month of gas so that is a ROI of 19.89 months....
    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneJackson View Post
    You mean something like this: http://www.acdirect.com/xcart/produc...productid=2174

    I looked at putting one of those on my house, but went with a tankless heater (gas) so I could not use on. After figuring out the tankless used about $50 of gas a month I started looking at solar....
    Nothing near that fancy. But I will research the payback. Local Power Co did not have any rebates. But the savings would be nice. Under $400 and I know an AC guy that owes me
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  9. #9

    Default

    I have a problem with people thinking Teflon tape is used as filler for leak protection. It is a lube so the fittings can be tightened better that’s why pipes have a tapered shape to them. Two turns of Teflon tape on the threads does the job!!!
    have fun
    Tom

    Everlast PM256
    Millermatic 180
    Hypertherm PowerMax 65 with machine torch
    Longevity Force Cut 80I
    DIY CNC table for plasma/routing
    13" metal lathe
    Small Mill
    ect, ect.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    Nothing near that fancy. But I will research the payback. Local Power Co did not have any rebates. But the savings would be nice. Under $400 and I know an AC guy that owes me
    I'll tell you the same thing the AC guy will tell you, it's not worth it. At least right now. The main issue is you will have to cut into the line set and will loose your charge. If your unit is old, it's R22 and that stuff is getting very expensive. My guess is you will easily have over $1,000 in doing it.

    If you figure in your federal and state incentives, you are probably better if installing a solar water heater similar to the one I am doing.

    http://dsireusa.org/incentives/index...srp=1&state=FL
    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by acourtjester View Post
    I have a problem with people thinking Teflon tape is used as filler for leak protection. It is a lube so the fittings can be tightened better that’s why pipes have a tapered shape to them. Two turns of Teflon tape on the threads does the job!!!
    have fun
    Tom
    That may be true for good fittings, but this cheap chinese fittings are so crappy they will not seal no matter how tight without some sort of filler. I actually split one fitting tightening it trying to stop the leak. it bottomed out and then broke.

    What I ended up doing (and the reason I was up so late last night) was just rebuilding the whole top section of the work station out of copper. If I remember correctly I removed 13 connections (leaks). The top is leak free now, unfortunately the bottom is not. It is only a very small leak but a leak none the less. What I will probably do is move some of the fittings around on the bottom as the leak is where 2 of the crap fitting meet. There are no leaks on US (most likely made in china but to higher quality) to the crap fittings. I added a fill port on the bottom with a shutoff valve, so I can most likely just move it and not have the 2 crap fittings together.

    It has been a real pain and if I could do it all over again I would just buy the controller and pump and build the work station myself (which I ended up doing anyways!)
    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

  12. #12

    Default

    A long, long, time ago... a friend and I decided to sell a solar power clothes dryer in Reader Guide for $10.99. We sold 5 before we were sent an Important looking letter from an attourney informing us that we need to give back the money we made and stop selling two nails and a piece of string! Hey, we tried!!
    PowerTig 250EX
    Power I-MIG 200
    Power Plasma 50
    It's what you learn, After you know it all, that counts!

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CGCINC View Post
    A long, long, time ago... a friend and I decided to sell a solar power clothes dryer in Reader Guide for $10.99. We sold 5 before we were sent an Important looking letter from an attourney informing us that we need to give back the money we made and stop selling two nails and a piece of string! Hey, we tried!!
    That is too funny.
    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CGCINC View Post
    A long, long, time ago... a friend and I decided to sell a solar power clothes dryer in Reader Guide for $10.99. We sold 5 before we were sent an Important looking letter from an attourney informing us that we need to give back the money we made and stop selling two nails and a piece of string! Hey, we tried!!
    You were just just trying to keep yourself off the streets. Wonder what the law is on that. I mean that is pricy for two nails and string, even today. I would have saves that letter. It is funny.

    Wonder if one of the first 5 sales was not that attorney.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  15. #15

    Default

    Do you still have the original, non solar powered heater hooked up in case you want to take a shower in the morning? I assume the tank is insulated, but I would think you'd have to have it dangerously hot to stay hot enough for a first thing in the morning shower.
    Everlast 200DX
    Everlast PT185
    Shoptask 3-in-1 (not currently in my garage, but I own it...)

    Any day on a motorcycle like this that ends just needing parts and labor is a good day.
    4.82, 158.67mph 1/8th mile 7.350, 200.35mph 1/4 mile

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sportbike View Post
    Do you still have the original, non solar powered heater hooked up in case you want to take a shower in the morning? I assume the tank is insulated, but I would think you'd have to have it dangerously hot to stay hot enough for a first thing in the morning shower.
    Actually yes, however it is gas powered and oddly enough I ran out of gas yesterday! It has been cloudy/rainy ever since I have had it finished so no good full sunny day to tell how well it works... Luckily it also has backup electric heating on the solar tank so I just plugged it and have hot water.

    As for the heat of the tank, on electric backup I have it set to 130, I hope it gets to 170-180 off solar. As for safety I have a tempering valve installed on the hot water out of the tank so it mixes with cold water and is always 120.

    I'll see if I can snap a few pictures today.
    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

  17. #17

    Default

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    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

  18. #18

    Default

    The first picture is the tempering valve as mentioned in the post below. Not only is this a great safety feature but it also effectively increases the capacity of the tank by allowing you to have hotter water in the storage tank. This 100 gallon tank at 180deg will put out the same as a 200 gallon tank at 120 deg (assuming 60 deg inlet water). To me this should have been standard in a solar setup, but it was not!

    The 2-4 picture is of the solar collectors.

    The 5th is of the top portion of the workstation. A little work and copper but no more leaks.

    The 6th is showing how I mounted the collector to the 6" pole. The mount is made from scrap brick lentil (.250" thick) and 4 pieces of .125" 2" angle 12" long. I bolted it together in the ground and welded the angle to the .250 plate. Then unbolted it and welded the plate to the pole. The the fun part was lifting the frame up on the scaffolding and bolting it to the mount. Once that was done I welded it all together.

    The 7th picture how I stabilized the framework using 1/2" rebar.
    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

  19. #19

    Default

    Pretty cool. Not attached to the house is nice too. Assume you do not have to move/rotate it and get enough hot water? Does it work in the winter, or too new to tell? Did the rebar save you money or just best pick for the support?

    You can add the welder in the payback, just do not tell the wife
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    Pretty cool. Not attached to the house is nice too. Assume you do not have to move/rotate it and get enough hot water? Does it work in the winter, or too new to tell? Did the rebar save you money or just best pick for the support?

    You can add the welder in the payback, just do not tell the wife
    There are 2 reasons I did not mount on the roof, 1st is I did not want any possibility of roof leaks, and second (and probably the real reason) is the damn roof is steep and I don't like heights. The panels (tubes) are facing south so they do not need rotating. Also since they are tubes the surface area allows for better solar collection the entire day (different angles to the sun).

    It is fairly cloudy today but when I took the pictures the collectors were at 127 degrees with the lower portion of the tank at 118 degrees. So they seem to work fairly well even on a cloudy (but bright) day. They should work well in the winter also as the tubes are vacuum tubes and well insulated. Or at least that's what I have read. I will find out in a few months.

    As for the welder, I can defiantly take it off the taxes as a business expense, and if I had bought it last year when I bought all the solar stuff I would have included it in the cost of instillation. I still may this year.... I'll have to read the tax code to make sure doing so isn't specifically excluded (tools).
    Everlast PowerTig 200DX
    Everlast Supercut 50P
    I need a MIG.... which one to buy:
    I-Mig 160, I-Mig 200, or a MTS 160

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