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Old 15-06-2015, 16:43   #1
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Solar hot water

Hi. I have a Isotherm Basic hot water heater 240v with engine heat exchanger that works great at dock or when motoring BUT useless when sailing or at anchor/mooring. I am thinking (uh-oh) about solar collector up on deck (black tubing in a clear enclosure) hoses going down to engine and T'd into heat exchanger hoses filled with anti-freeze and a small circulation pump that is connected to solar controller load output so it would only run when the panels are producing and the solar collector is heated. I would need a very small pump that could take the heat and have at least a 10 foot head. Anyone ever heard of such a thing?
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Old 15-06-2015, 17:39   #2
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Re: Solar hot water

Look on the internet for solar pool heating. There is a lot of DIY advice that should spec out everything you need.
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Old 15-06-2015, 19:00   #3
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Re: Solar hot water

We have 6 pool panels (2'X10' each) on our 60,000 litre pool in Northern Ontario. They heat the water by over 3 degrees each day. So one panel would raise 1000 litres by 30 degrees Celsius in a day.
My point, don't fiddle with home made stuff out of poly pipe, etc. Just buy a panel for less than $100 and you'll have more than enough hot water. just add a recirculating pump and your good to go.
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Old 16-06-2015, 06:41   #4
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Re: Solar hot water

Thanks.I did research the pool systems and they look adequate for land. I should have mentioned that I have a sailboat and those panels are huge and not applicable. But thanks. I am leaning towards fabricating a vertical solar collector mounted on the front of the mizzon mast to keep clear of the sail. Looking for someone that has done something similar...

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Old 16-06-2015, 18:12   #5
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Re: Solar hot water

I too will be watching your project with interest. We are full time living onboard a 3-cabin Lagoon 440 and I have often thought about a small array on the back deck behind the helm station. No need for a storage tank as the 60 ltr tank on our Quick water heater under the master cabin bed would be adequate. I agree a small 12V circulating pump would help and would be easy to instal and power on a thermostat. Have you looked at 40mm poly pipe glued together with poly pipe cement and 90 degree bends and all painted matt black. I'm thinking 4 or 5 lengths X 1.0M would be all that was needed.
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Old 16-06-2015, 18:29   #6
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Re: Solar hot water

Why not go with these.
Heliatos Solar
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Old 09-07-2015, 18:41   #7
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Re: Solar hot water

Hi all,
To follow up on that thread, I was actually interested in the Heliatos products, namely their panel and pump kits to retrofit on existing electric heaters. Their panels seem tough and could fit the bill just nicely in terms of size etc... But that's a promo video so I'm keen to hear from people who have experienced them and can comment on their performance?
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Old 09-07-2015, 18:59   #8
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Re: Solar hot water

At one time I pondered building one for the boat. For a 6 gallon/25 liter water heater you would need five SF(0.5 square meter) of panel for a typical summer day. That was for a coil of copper tubing and some flashing painted black under a glass frame. Copper being far more efficient at transferring heat then pex/plastic pipe. Add a small 12V DC pump and a 5 watt PV panel for 0.5 gpm and your in business.

I of course decided to use a 2 gallon garden sprayer painted black as a solar deck shower. I aks have a 8 quart pot with glass lid to heat water for dish washing when at anchor.
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Old 09-07-2015, 20:27   #9
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Re: Solar hot water

The camping solar bags come in various sizes, require 0 commitment and are dirt cheap.

Great for cockpit showers


------------------------------
Looking for another pretty place to work on the boat.
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Old 09-07-2015, 21:27   #10
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Re: Solar hot water

Now that we have our solar panels, LED lights, etc. in order, the only reason for running our engine at anchor is for hot water. Most solutions I've found are too bulky for permanent or even temporary installation. I stumbled on and just ordered one of these things: Inflatable Solar Heater. I plan to pump the water from the solar heater through the water heater. We'll see...
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Old 09-07-2015, 22:06   #11
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Re: Solar hot water

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cap Erict3 View Post
The camping solar bags come in various sizes, require 0 commitment and are dirt cheap.

Great for cockpit showers


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Looking for another pretty place to work on the boat.
That is what I did, but I think the OP wants a bit more and what NB2013 suggested probably fills the bill. Plenty of hot water from just (2) 24" X 24" panels, includes a circulation pump and a 10 watt solar panel to power the motor, all fittings ready to install for $470.
2 Panel SW Kit
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Old 10-07-2015, 01:01   #12
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Re: Solar hot water

I wrote an article for April 2015 cruising helmsman magazine on the install of Heliatos panels I did on our lipari. If you want to read it pm me and I can send you a copy


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Old 12-07-2015, 15:50   #13
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Re: Solar hot water

Here is the article
Attached Files
File Type: pdf SolarArticle.pdf (494.3 KB, 337 views)
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Old 12-07-2015, 20:40   #14
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Re: Solar hot water

The inflatable solar heater is kinda cool, but it's too expensive. For $10 less, you can buy a black 50' hose, and have a hose + a heat exchanger.

I've been rolling around the idea of having a water pump and some deck fittings so I could just attach a black hose and run it around the deck.
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Old 12-07-2015, 23:44   #15
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Re: Solar hot water

In another forum, a sailor who installed the Heliatos system had this to say:
"After about 4 weeks of cruising in the Med I can say that this solar hot water system works very well, hot water at the tap is obviously a joy both for showering and washing up. The circulating pump is plugged in to my 12V boat power supply (I do have solar panels), the quite silent circulating pump does not use much electricity and is connected to a 12V timer which in summer I set for 12 hours operation. Obviously the placing of the panel/panels is crucial and on an arch (which I don't have) would be close to perfect but anything on a boat is a compromise in some way."
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