Hot water in the winter?

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Unrestricted_Together, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. Hey guys thanks for your help! My wife and I just moved off grid about a month ago and we are just getting things going.

    Right now we have no hot water, which is not that bad because it is summer. We have very limited power and don't want to have to use propane to heat our water. I have looked into making a solar water heater, but before I did so I was curious if anyone had any experience with these in the winter. I am not sure if they work all that well (or at all) when it gets below freezing outside.

    It would be great help if anyone can point me in the direction of a design of one that works well in the winter or let me know if I am headed in the wrong direction all together with a solar water heater.

    Thanks again.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    chelloveck likes this.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    If you find Solar doesn't meet your needs, there are other opportunities to make Domestic Hot Water, using waste heat from your Cabin's Heat Source. I have been using a Thermal-Syphan Design that uses Waste Heat from my Open Pot Burning, Oil Fired, Cookstove, for 30+ Years. It has NO Moving Parts, and just makes Hot Water, for the Cabin. There are also some really Good Designs, posted here on the Monkey, done by our Resident Plumber/SteamFitter @ColtCarbine .... A search on "Potable Water" should get you more information, than you likely ever wanted to know..... A system like I use, can be adapted to ANY Wood, Coal, or Petroleum, fired Heating Source.
    VisuTrac likes this.
  4. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    There are some good ideas and systems on the website. As I recall (maybe incorrectly) from a couple years ago there are links to plans to make 4x8 foot collectors that are about 94% as efficient as commercial collectors. Now that was by the creator's own measurements of btu output from his system. The thermal gain of those systems inside boxes seems to not be as good in very cold ambient temps as the ones with glass tubes with a vacuum inside which greatly reduces convective and conductive heat loss.

    Take a look and see if you find the plans that go with this design for rolling sheet aluminum (flashing or gutter metal) into a u shaped channel to be stapled around copper tubing to improved thermal conduction into the copper flowing water. If not let us know and I'll look if I have links saved somewhere.

  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

  6. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    If freezing is an issue, you may wish to modify the system linked by ghrit. What you may want is a solar heating system, using the liquid running through the solar collector as the medium for transferring heat to a heat exchanger which in turn heats the water you want to use for washing and laundering and so forth. The liquid running through the solar collector would be a water/glycol solution (the ratio will differ somewhat according to the expected temperatures below freezing) which should minimise the risk of pipes freezing and damaging the conduit system.

    I'll try and see if I can find a reference to the source I am referring to.

    As BT indicated....a combustion stove can be a primary source of hot water heating...

    A combustion stove can also be a good means of boost heating a solar system where overcast and cloudy conditions reduce the solar gain.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  7. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

  8. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Doing it like grandma and grandpa did. Big old pots on the wood stove.
    their cottage built in the 20's didn't have running water until 2009 (now you get to pump it by hand) and still heat up some big ass pots on the wood stove for dishes, bathing (prefer sauna and jump in lake or roll in snow after anyway), and cooking.

    Sauna stove has beer keg with loop of stainless pipe running into fire box to thermosiphon heat the water, but being that it's unregulated .. be careful .. boiling water sucks if you don't temper it first .. but we all learned that at an early age .. like 3 or 4 .
    Yard Dart, kellory and BTPost like this.
  9. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    I have a solar hot water collector (summer with sun) propane supply on demand (summer when sun is above clouds) Electric DHW tank when power is running (gen sets for 10HP air comp , Lifts , splitters , mig/tig/plasma ,air arc gouge ) Still summer ,And I have major work to be done ..... but Wet Winter I use wood heat , I built a DHW SS jacket to pick up the heat from the Airtight stove . Never a Shrinking time when the airtight is on :)

    You need to be creative & combine all systems to work separately but with the same basic components of the system . were just heating water to 105 max summer , 140 Winter here.

    Yard Dart and kellory like this.
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