To fend off any questions about why I’m doing it this way, consider that my water heater for most of the past fourteen years has been this…
…so I’m not hard to please when it comes to a better source of hot water. I’ve been aware for virtually all that time that I’m throwing away a great power source. Anybody who leaves a garden hose out in the sun can’t be unaware of it. But I never roused myself to do something organized about it until this Spring when Neighbor S wanted to get rid of this. A real, built-for-the-purpose heat exchanger box. Even comes with a big thick heavy sheet of glass.
Right away the scope of the project became daunting: For one thing, where was I supposed to get enough pipe to make use of all that space? If I mounted it in the logical place, which is that spare bit of racking on my solar panel ground mount, I’d have to rebuild one whole side of the thing to take the weight. Then there’s all that re-plumbing and insulation on the cabin: So much crawling around under low floor joists. My heart sank. I couldn’t even be sure any of this would work, and one freezing incident could undo an awful lot of work and expense. Maybe this was just a bad idea.
But Big Brother sent me 2 50’* black hoses, and I got to thinking maybe this should be more of an incremental thing, starting with a pilot project.
It turns out there’s space on the powershed for the box. What about wind? Well, I can fasten it down to the roof almost as easily as I can to the panel rack but right now I’m living in hope that the weight of the water will hold it down against anything but a direct dust devil attack.
No big plumbing deal until I see whether and how well this will even work. If it gives good hot water but not enough, no problem: Add more hose. Going outdoors to fill a bucket is still less time and effort than serially boiling pans of water.
I’m stuck on one fitting to mount the faucet, and a couple of brackets of the right size to hold the pipe against the wall. I’ll get that Monday. Other than that, this thing is ready to rock. And we’ll see how well it works.
ETA: BB texted to correct me on a point of information: He sent 2 50-foot hoses, not one.