Sandy's Solar Water Heating System On Prince Edward Island

Sandy has built a very nice $1K style solar water heating system for his home on Prince Edward Island, Canada.  The new solar water heater is part of his program to reduce energy use that also includes a much more efficient space heating boiler, home insulation, more efficient appliances, and a Prius -- quite a program!

Sandy has done a very nice job on the system, and has carefully documented it as well.

Download all the details from Sandy

All the details on designing and building the system...  (5 mb pdf)

Some additional pictures of the system...  (3 mb pdf)

NEW:  One year update from Sandy... (pdf)

If you have any comments or questions, use the Comments section at bottom of page.


Thanks very much to Sandy for taking the time to document the system!



Some Highlights -- see the pdfs above for full details

The collectors use an unusual horizontal "riser" arrangement, which worked out better for the wide, but not to tall space available. 

The collectors are mounted to the house wall using heavy duty hook eyes to support the collectors and braces from the bottom of the collector back to the house to maintain the desired tilt angle --  a nice arrangement that does not put too many holes in the wall.


The absorber half inch copper pipe grids
for the two collectors.

The collectors going in.



The tank generally follows the design of the $1K, system but is unique in that the heat exchanger uses a long coil of 3/4 inch PEX pipe that is wrapped on a form to improve the heat transfer between the PEX and the tank hot water.  While winding the heat exchanger pipe coil on a form to provide more spacing between the coils does involve some time, it undoubtedly improves the heat transfer efficiency.


The very nice looking heat storage tank.

Winding the PEX heat exchanger coil for
better heat transfer efficiency.


The other unique feature of the tank is that it has been finished in such a way as to look quite nice.  So, if you are putting your tank in an area where it has to look nice,  you can get some ideas form Sandy's tank.


While Sandy is still working to clear up some partial shading problems the system is performing well.



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September 23, 2010