Water heater use is one of the main reasons electric bills are so high these days. Yet we have no choice but to use warm water because hygiene is also an important factor for health and ultimately survival. In other words, heated water is a necessity that can be quite costly.
Self-sufficiency Simplified: Solar Water Heating
Solar power is nothing new, but it is quite sad how few are actually utilizing this incredibly efficient and virtually free energy system. The people who already use this renewable energy system will definitely fare better after the collapse or in the event of an outage or other disaster.
While the majority are enduring cold showers, those who use solar water heating will enjoy the benefits of free warm water even in three feet of snow.
Solar Water Heating Basics
In my life B.C. (Before Children), I received my master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis is renewable energy. After graduation, I worked for a company that operated the world’s largest flat plate collector solar water heating (SWH) system and did SWH installations.
When we built our current home, we added a solar water system shortly after the home was completed. It’s been providing us with hot water since 2006. (We also have passive solar heating in our current home.) Basically, I’ve had solar water heating in my life for over 20 years now, living in an area where you might least expect to see it (Wisconsin).
In this post, I’ll give you an overview of solar water heating basics so you can decide if this green home option is right for you.
Why use solar water heating?
After heating and cooling, water heating tends to be one of the areas where people use the most energy. Estimates range from around 15% to up to 40% of energy usage, with the high end coming from old, inefficient electric heaters.
With solar water heating, you use heat from the sun to heat some or all of your water. At its most basic, this can be done with a dark container left out in the sun. Friends of ours camped out on their property while building their home, and set up an outdoor shower with 50-gallon barrels painted black on a platform above their shower area.
Another variant of this is the solar camp shower bags that can be filled and hung in a sunny location to provide hot water while camping (or during an emergency situation).
In our case, our solar collectors preheat water for our domestic hot water and for our in-floor radiant heating. On sunny winter days, the passive and active solar cover the bulk of our heating load.
Now is the time when you should believe in the power of solar energy and its benefits. We never know what is going to happen in the future but we should always be ready for anything. It’s about time we stop depending too much on the grid, cut down on the bills, and go ‘green’ with solar water heaters. This is the best way to survive the cold season and whatever else could take place when SHTF. Apart from saving money, nature is also preserved.
The simplest form of water heater includes solar panels which are in charge of collecting energy to power the system, a reservoir for water, a heat exchanger for boiling water, a pump to transport water to the main shower output, a sensor for obtaining warmness, and a tank.
The principle of solar water heating system is the same as what you have in your homes, the only difference is that it is powered by energy coming from the sun. More importantly, it is free.
Whether you are dealing with the cold season or TEOTW, there is no need to depend on that power socket because solar water heating will help you live independently.
P.S. What else can solar do for you? You might be shocked to find out that the sun can and will provide you with just about everything you need to survive and thrive in the coming collapse.
Check out related articles from our website:
- Your Road Map To Self-Sufficiency
- Homesteading and Sustainability – How To Become Self-Reliant
- 17+ Ways To Become Self-Sufficient Before ‘The Crunch’
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on September 24, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.