Batch solar water heater?

christian09christian09 Registered Users Posts: 22
I live in Florida, and I am thinking of building my own solar water heater using my existing tank. The only way I can a achieve a southern exposure to the panel, without having to move my current tank, is to put the panel on my roof over the tank. My first thought was to build a thermo syphon, but it seems the tank must be above the panel. (not possible for me, no sun on that wall). Is there a way to use a passive batch solar heater, which automatically stores the hot water in my insulated tank below(for use in the mornings)? I am hoping not to have to use a pump, but thought I could run my incoming water to the panel on the roof, then branch the incoming back down(using gravity) back into a my cold water line inside the house. The other branch (with the remaining incoming water)on the roof would go directly into my panel, get heated, then fall down into the tank, to be strored for later hot water use.
The only issue I can see is at the point of the branch , where the incoming water eithers falls south, or goes to the panel. I guess there would be way to compensate for this by making sure the inital pipe before the branch is ABOVE the branch and the panel???
I am very new to this, so I would appreciate anyone's help.


  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Batch solar water heater?

    Welcome to the forum.

    The concept of pressure-differential pumping comes to mind, but that could be difficult to execute.

    In addition to the more helpful answers that are bound to show up from members here, have a look at Build It Solar:
    There are so many great do-it-yourself projects there you may never leave your computer! Plenty about solar water heating; you may find something that fits the bill for you.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    Re: Batch solar water heater?

    Some more links:
    BB. wrote: »
    ...Solar Thermal can be a nice source for space heating and hot water... And usually is "cheaper" per kWhr/BTU vs Solar PV Electric. Also, Solar Thermal lends itself very well to do it yourself projects. Note, these are plumbing projects and have their own issues (leaks, pump failures, installation issues trapping air, anti-freeze, storage, heat exchangers, etc.):

    Solar Shed and other Solar Thermal Links

    A good place to start reading is Home Power Magazine... They have a free past issue online--and have a lot of articles you can read for free. I don't always agree with them and their reviews--but they are a fun and enlightening read:

    Home Power Mag

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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