How to Build a Solar Hot Water System Review

Building a solar hot water system is not straight forward. This article reviews three sites that have done it, but wouldn’t it be easier to go and buy one?

Nobody likes to take cold showers.  Dishwashers are impossible to operate without heat.  Water heaters come in many styles and sizes.  The majority of the heaters run on fossil fuels.  If you live in any climate, do you realize you could actually build a solar hot water system for your home or office? You will want to make sure it’s done properly, and to save a little on labor and supplies, you can in reality build your own system.

One source is, the site goes into good detail about what is needed to install your own system.  The author of the website claims their household has the potential of spending only £300 annually on electricity using the solar hot water system they installed.  This site will give you great detail, with step-by-step photographs, on how to build your own flat plate or evacuated tube solar collectors, panels and pipes.  The author explains the difference between the two systems, while providing diagrams as visual aids. There is also mention of a freeze-proof roof mounted water panel.

The El Paso Solar Energy Association ( has many tips on alternative energies, including using the suns energy for passive solar water heating.  Passive solar heating is the oldest form of commercial solar energy. Terms you might find familiar include PSWH, Batch heater and Bread Box – and these are the passive solar water heaters.  General descriptions are given for these systems on this site, as well as general information on how to build your own.  For instance, you can paint your water heaters a flat black to retain more heat for longer periods of time.  Small diagram drawings are provided to show you some of the final products that you can build alongside verbal instructions on the build.

Several different types of solar water heaters are covered on  Whether you are interested in passive or active energy.   Diagrams are given to the readers for assistance in building their own solar hot water systems.    Minimal verbiage is provided to the public. The site does offer a lot of FAQs that should be able to answer most consumers’ questions about cost, how solar power works, and how the systems work.  Flow rate theory and flow dynamics are given their fair share of educational points.  This site gets into some of the nitty-gritty that engineers may be interested in knowing.  If you are to purchase the E-book that is available at the site, you will be given step-by-step instructions and a total list of supplies needed to build your own system.

Popular Mechanics has an article on their website regarding the "Energy Family" making their own solar water heater.  This family has piggybacked their solar system on with a propane system.  They are trying their best to retain a small carbon footprint.  There is a four-step method covered with matching photographs as the family put together their system.   Supplies are listed so that you know what you need to purchase to get started.  Some general information regarding savings and costs involved are also given to the reader.  A very informative comment section can be seen at the end of the article, allowing you to learn even more about the solar hot water systems.

The best recommendation that can be offered would be the first site.  It is the most informative of the bunch, and has photographs, diagrams, and verbal instructions so that most anyone can follow and be able to manufacture their own solar hot water system with a minimal amount of problems.  Ideas are complemented with suggested buys for the parts needed so that you can start your savings right away.


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