Hot water from solar

Solar water heating systems have a good economic payoff, and are manageable systems to install or build as a DIY project.  Some of the solar water heating designs are simple and low cost.  You can save a great deal of money by building your own system — several thousand dollars.  There are dozens of free plans listed here that should meet just about any need.

Link to simple DIY “Bucket” Solar Batch Water Heater.  Add insulation for improved performance.

5 gallon bucket in an insulated box.

A simple solar batch hot water system can be created from a recycled hot water heater and recycled patio door glass to provide hot water.

Solar HW Batch Heater

Hot water from wood

Hot water from propane

A propane powered turkey cooker can heat 6 gallons of water (outside) quickly.  In about 6 minutes the water will be hot enough for an improvised shower.

There are two ways to take a shower. I have used both:

  • Use a helper to pour water for washing and rinsing.
  • Without a helper, use a 12 Volt battery and pump (I have used a solar powered 12 Volt DC Shurflow pump) and a dish washer sprayer.

Deep Fat Fry Turkey Cooker

The Eccotemp portable water heater for outdoor use has some great reviews on Amazon.com.  Sometimes on sale for less than $100.  Requires pressurized water and batteries.

EccoTemp Portable

Whole house sized, on demand propane water heaters

On demand propane powered hot water heaters have been made by Bosh, Aquastar, Eccotemp and others.  I have used an older Aquastar 125 (purchased by Bosh) 125,000 BTU demand water heater with some success.  Water should be filtered well before being input to the water heater.  My experience showed me that I needed a better filter to avoid a sudden loss of hot water before I was done.  Requires pressurized water.