How to Convert an Old Water Heater to a Solar Water Heater?

Convert of an electric water heater to solar

The second largest user of energy out of all home appliances is water heaters. Home water heaters are average ranks in second in consumption of energy. It is a good idea to convert an electric water heater to solar. It will cut your energy bill and is good for the budget. We all know solar water heaters are tremendously better for the environment. In ancient time people use to heat water with the sun. But it is daunting to integrate solar power into a home water heater. Your new hot water system will be ready if you follow the steps with research and patience. The proper information will help in converting an electric water heater to solar.

Lets us follow some necessary steps-

Step: 1

A user needs to determine if there is any other spout on the top or not of the water heater. When you find the second spout, it will be the input of the new water heater. But if there is no spout in that case you need to buy a water heater conversion component. The conversion component will be attached to the cold input line located at the bottom side of the heater.

Step: 2

You have to find a space where sunlight is good enough. The solar heater has to installed on the roof or other areas which gets a right amount of solar power. Solar water heaters are available, and you determine by yourself which will fulfill your requirements. Batch heaters are simple to operate. It is not a complicated unit. There is a problem with batch heaters as it may create an issue with freezing weather. The most common is the flat plate collectors. They quickly adapt to any climate. Many users like evacuated tube collectors for its high level of efficiency. It is also expensive. In multi-unit buildings and industrial appliances, this type of heaters typically used.

Step: 3

At first, connect the solar heater to the water heater carefully. You reroute the cold supply through the pump. Its input situated on the lower side of the solar heater. Then you have to connect the hot water output from the top of the solar water heating system to the new input of the water heater in a particular position. A sensor controls the pump. It triggers the pump based on different temperatures in the unit.

Step: 4

he temperature and pressure relief valves need to installed appropriately. It is connected at the top side of the solar heater and on the output of the water heater. The old water heater uses the same spout. So the old water heater will remain on the same spout of the production. You will need to fill the solar heater with antifreeze system if your area has a freezing temperature. Antifreeze system connected to the heat exchanger. Route the water supply carefully through the heat exchanger. You have to be cautious that the route of water supply should not connect through the solar water heater. At last, the rest of the connections will remain the same in the system.

Convert of an Old LP Hot-Water Heater to a Solar Hot-Water Heater

Solar water heating system comes with different types of panels, storage tank, and pump. In the solar heater, water circulating process is expensive. It is also challenging to maintain regularly. But many people prefer to convert old propane water heater into a solar heater. It is a fantastic idea. You can save lots of money, time and effort by turning the unit into the solar heater. Sun needed for solar power. So your area should be in such a place where there is lots of sunlight. You do not need to mount the panel on the roofs. You locate the panel on the ground near the house. Solar has no moving parts. Thus it is easy to maintain. It will supply all your hot water needs.

Phase: 1

You have to turn off the gas to the propane water heater. You also disconnect it carefully. At first, disconnect the supply hose from the gas valve and screw a cap onto the valve. Therefore no one will be able to turn on the gas.

Phase: 2

In the second phase, you strip the outer lining of the heater. Then you need to remove the insulation. The insulation is removed to reveal the metal liner. Sand the metal with 120-grit sandpaper. Carefully, paint the sandpaper using flat black enamel. In this way, it will protect the metal. At last, the black enamel improves the absorption of sunlight to heat the water.

Phase: 3

The water heater should e moved to a sunny location outside of the house. The user has to place the heater on an energetic level platform. It requires you also pour a concrete pad for the heater. Again set the heater on paving blocks according to your choice.

Phase: 4

A box should built around the heater. It will be two by 4-inch limber and ½ inch of plywood. Box protects the radiator in many ways. It also provides the space for insulation and maximizes the collection of solar heat.

Phase: 5

The box is to e constructed of about 3 inches wider than the heater. The front part of the box which faces the sun needs to be 3 inches taller than the heater. The back part of the box has to be 6 inches taller than the heater. In this way, a glass plate is installed to focus the sun ray. Glass plate s placed at an angle on the top of the box.
At last cut the sides of the box. You have to cut the box at an angle so that it can slope down from the back to the front segment.

Phase: 6

Reflective insulation must be attached to the inside surfaces of the plywood. Then the user can assemble the box. Insulation will help to focus on sunlight. The sun will shine through the glass plate onto the tank. Thus the heat loss is minimized when there is no sun.

Phase: 7

After assembling, caulk the seam of the box. You have to paint it nicely. The user needs to paint it black for better absorption of sunlight. If you want you can paint it; according to the color of your house.

Phase: 8

In phase eight reroute the hot and cold water supply lines. You have to take it from the old location of the heater to the new one. The box drill would be ¾ inch as a hole. Then pass the pipe and connect with the ports on the radiator.

Phase: 9

For better insulation make the lid from double –panned glass. You cut the lens in such a way that it fits on the top of the box. A frame has to be constructed for it by one by 2-inch lumber. The glass is to provide in the structure. Silicone caulk is used to seal the edges. Top of the box attached with hinges. It will help the user to open when there is any need of servicing the heater.

Things Needed For Conversion

  • Propane water heater
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Flat black enamel
  • Concrete or paving blocks
  • 2-by 4-inch lumber
  • 1/2-inch plywood
  • Reflective insulation
  • Caulk
  • Paint
  • Drill
  • 3/4-inch drill bit
  • Double-pane glass
  • 1-by 2-inch lumber
  • Silicone caulk
  • Hinges

Final verdict with some essential techniques and tips

  • It is highly recommended to install a pressure relief valve on the tank if it is not there in the unit. The lid is to connect to a pipe. It drops within a few inches of the ground. The main benefit of the relief valve location is that if the tank gets overheated and the valve opens up, it will spray onto the field and not into the air. Therefore there is no risk of scalding.
  • In cloudy weather; you can heat the water by connecting a five-gallon propane tank to the heater if the propane controls on the tank are intact. The pilot is light by cutting an access door into the box. During the use of propane, you have to keep the glass door on the top of the box. As a result, the box will help to open the vent.
  • Water is boiling from a solar heater. The temperature control valve is to e installed between the heater and the house. It will prevent scalding. On the other hand, its valve will keep the temperature within a safe range by mixing the hot water from the heater with cold water according to its requirement.
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