How To Build A Solar Powered Water Heater That’s Simple, And Economical

solar water heater

This is a great DIY solar powered water heater. This simple design for a batch type water heater that makes use of a thermosiphon loop to transport water between a thermal collector, and a storage barrel.

The Drawbacks To This:

It’s most likely not the most effective, or efficient way to heat water via solar power. It also is not real fast, however it does a good job of showing how a thermosiphon, and its connection to storing hot water.

Be sure to check out the video below for another option for a solar powered water heater.

The Positives Of This Solar Powered Water Heater:

This solar water heater will give you ample amounts of hot water that can be used for whatever it is needed for including keeping a bio gas generator warm.

Okay, let’s take a look at the parts list, and the directions to build your solar powered water heater.

Written by Brandon Garrett

Here’s the parts list and the step by step directions for building your solar powered water heater.

The parts list includes recommended materials and temperature ratings. Use materials that can withstand temperatures up to 180°F, such as metal, CPVC, or polypropylene fittings, as well as high-temperature water hose material, such as EPDM rubber. Black-colored hose will assist in absorbing solar heat. If you can’t find what you need at your local hardware store, plumbing supplier, or home center, shop online through industrial supply companies (such as Grainger or McMaster-Carr).

• Four 8-foot 2x4s
• Five 8-foot 1x4s
• 2 1/2″ deck screws
• 3/4″ roofing screws or galvanized sheet metal screws
• Two 2 x 8-foot corrugated metal roofing panels
• High-temperature, flat black spray paint
• One 100-foot, black EPDM rubber garden hose, 3/4″
• I.D. (inner diameter), rated for 200°F
• One hundred 8″ black plastic cable ties, UV-resistant, heat-stabilized, rated for over 200°F
• One 55-gallon barrel, black plastic, preferably with wide-mouth top
• Two 3/4″ NPT (National Pipe Thread) /GHT (garden hose thread) brass faucets, rated for 180°F
• Teflon tape
• Two 3/4″ polypropylene bulkhead fittings, rated for 180°F
• Two 3/4″ brass garden hose-to-tubing adapters
• Two hose clamps
• One 36″ length foam pipe insulation

1. Build the collector structure
Construct two A-frame supports using 2x4s and 2 1/2″ deck screws: Position the front leg of each support at the desired tilt angle for the collector panel (your latitude angle is a good starting point), and attach the rear leg at an opposing angle for stability. Join the two legs (front and back) of each side with a horizontal cross piece.

Space the A-frame supports about 6 feet apart, and join the two back legs with two diagonal 1x4s to keep the frame from racking. Install three 8-foot pieces of 1×4 horizontally across the supports. Locate one piece at the tops of the supports, one 24″ down from the tops, and one with its bottom edge 48″ from the tops. Fasten the 1x4s to the supports with the deck screws.

Mount the roofing panels to the wood frame, using 3/4″ roofing screws or sheet metal screws. Install the lower panel first, fastening it to the bottom 1×4. Install the upper panel so it overlaps the lower panel, then fasten through both panels into the center 1×4. Fasten the upper panel to the top 1×4.

Paint the top surface of the roofing panels with high-temperature, flat black spray paint (the kind used for painting wood stoves). Let the paint dry completely.

2. Install the collector hose
Lay out and mark the hose path on the collector panel, using full-length horizontal runs back and forth, working from the bottom of the panel to the top. Do not exceed the bending radius of the hose at the ends, as kinks in the hose will stop the flow and can lead to trapped air bubbles. A 3/4″ I.D. hose should allow for eight horizontal runs across the 4-foot-tall panel. Be sure to leave extra hose at the beginning and end for connecting both ends to the storage barrel.

Note: As the water in the hose heats up, air will be released from it. Keeping the hose runs reasonably level, with no kinks or sags, allows the thermosiphon to work effectively, eliminates trapped air bubbles, and facilitates draining the collector.

Secure the hose by drilling pairs of holes through the collector panel, one above and one below the hose, then loosely fastening the hose with a plastic cable tie (zip tie). Add a tie about every 12″ along the entire path of the hose. Make sure the hose is in full contact with the collector panel for best heat transfer. You will tighten the ties later, after the hose is connected to the barrel and all fits well.

To see the final 3 steps to build your solar water heater see the full original article at:

Image by Chinneeb  

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1 Comment

  • Steven

    I need glycol because it freezes where I am. I am working on making copper coils in plastic barrel then circulating water to my hot tub. So I will have the glycol loop warming the water.

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