I have a scheme.

A neighbor is cleaning out a packed long-term storage shed, which is always a dangerous time for me to come near. He had some sheets of clear acrylic and black plastic stuff, and I thought those would be two of the expensive bits of a heat exchanger for summer hot water, maybe even a built-in shower. When I mentioned the notion he showed me this…


4X8, with the glass. Already drilled for piping, it’s literally made to house the sort of heat exchanger I envision.

But it’s substantially more … substantial than I had in mind, and I need a few days to read and think and kind of grow into the idea so I didn’t commit to taking that box off his hands.

But I don’t have any big building project on tap for this summer. With that box and a couple of hundred feet of ABS or even black hose…

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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13 Responses to I have a scheme.

  1. Ben says:

    Would that fit on your present PBHS panel rack? I seem to recall that it had some extra room.

  2. Ben says:

    Urg, that was supposed to be “pv panel rack”.

  3. Phssthpok says:

    I’ve been wondering for a while why you hadn’t done something along these lines already (while holding my tongue in recognition of desert hermit restrictions on supplies/material).

    You may curse me now (rabbit hole warning): https://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/water_heating.htm

  4. TK421a says:

    Nice score and the box size should be good too.

    I helped a friend build a solar water heater a couple of years ago for his pool. We used 2-inch x 100 foot PVC Schedule 40 black ultra-flexible pipe laid out and mounted in a 4-foot by 8-foot frame. Then my friend sprayed everything black and we covered the frame with a clear plexiglass panel and mounted it on a stand facing south. So far, it’s worked pretty well.

    The only issue you may have is when it gets cold in the winter, if the water isn’t moving and the frame is covered with snow/ice, there’s a chance it could freeze overnight.

  5. M says:

    TK412a – we use this for water heater solar to avoid freezing. So far – never mind, I’m not going to jinx anything with Ol’ Man Murphy… http://bdicooling.com/vegetable-based-antifreeze

  6. free.and.true says:

    Nice score. Maybe you could use that box vertically, as a combo collector and privacy wall — possibly also for passive heating of living space and/or a greenhouse?

    Something along these lines: https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/home/solar-water-heater-zm0z12fmzphe.

  7. RCPete says:

    Back in the early ’80s, systems like that were set up so they could be drained during the winter. My wife’s apartment had a heating system like that for the pool, but the black pipe wasn’t enclosed. Milder climate; Silicon Valley

  8. TK421a says:

    @ – M very nice. My friend’s setup takes water from the pool, runs it through the black PVC where it gets heated then back to the pool. In the fall he drains the piping so there’s no risk of freezing. It doesn’t heat the water too much, just enough to let him open the pool a little early in spring and close it a little later in the fall.

    As for Joel, I thought he wanted this to heat the water he was going to shower with. I’m not sure how well showering with water that has antifreeze in it would work. Meh, I’m sure that he will be able to work something out for year-round use.

  9. M says:

    TK – Oops, we have a set of piping the AF runs through. Wasn’t thinking

  10. Zelda says:

    A solar shower in a hoop house/polytunnel would allow cleanliness, maybe a personal size soaking pool for arthritis and sore muscle relief, and a more temperate year ’round sheltered food (berries and veggies) growing space. But you have occasional high winds so a hoop house may be impractical. If you can score free cinderblocks or bricks you could use them around the base of a hoop house to stabilize it. Lots of ideas on the Internet. This could be a huge improvement in your comfort level and food production. Go Joel!!

  11. Take the box. Figure it out as you go along.

  12. John Brooks says:

    Friend of mine told me his parents and grandparents rigged a truck tire inter-tube on top of a shower stall in the Florida sun for hot showers in the evening back in the 1950s. The pump filled it up. Or a black plastic barrel? These are choices if weight is not a problem. The solar water heater with pipes is pricier but way lighter. Good luck!

  13. Ben says:

    Black hydromaxx schedule 40 tubing seems to be the way to go. Mind that it’s temperature rating is 167 degrees, which is much hotter than domestic hot water is supposed to get, but not as hot as the water could get in that box on a clear summer day without continuous circulation. Hydromaxx is available at HD and likely lots of other places.

To the stake with the heretic!