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bennelson 02-25-10 03:30 PM

Old hot water panels to refurbish.
Here is one panel that I have that I got from my cousin.

He has nine more. The panels need some TLC, but I was surprised at how warm it got just propped up in my garage on a sunny cold day!

YouTube - Solar hot water panel to refurbish

I am going to play around with what it takes to fix this panel up, and then decide what to do with the other ones he has. (They are frozen up against the outside of his garage right now...)

Daox 02-26-10 08:34 AM

Are all the panels from your cousin that size? I thought they were bigger?

What were you thinking of using for glazing? I don't know how they'd fit, but I still have all those thermalpane windows laying around not doing anything...

gasstingy 02-26-10 12:59 PM

Mother Earth News had an article on a family from Minnesota who made their own solar hot water system in an outbuilding and piped the water to their two story house to heat it with hydronic radiant floors. It showed how they built their own water storage tank using plywood, a pond liner to prevent leaks, a few fittings and some extruded polystyrene insulation. The tank held the solar heated water and they ran copper tubing into the lower part of their reservoir (using a fitting to go through the plywood and pond liner material) and made quite a few loops inside the tank and back out near the top of the tank). It was an inexpensive, but large capacity reservoir. They used 2x4's to frame the bottom and top of the tank to prevent the weight of the water from blowing the sides out. It might be worth considering if you are going to need a fairly substantial storage tank.

I belive that with ten solar water panels, you could likely heat your entire house with your only expense being to run a small circulation pump (after the system is set up). I'm sure your small PV setup could handle that small load.

Anyway, congratulations on the free SHW panel(s) and I'm looking forward to seeing how you use it/them.

Daox 02-26-10 01:14 PM

You'd be talking about Gary (owner of Hes a member here and posts occasionally. Very knowledgeable and willing to share info. His solar shed is an amazing project. I've read it many times.


gasstingy 02-26-10 02:06 PM

That's the one! I couldn't find it quickly enough, but that is the system that caused me to completely rethink the garage/workshop I am in the process of building. I've already poured the slab (with perimeter insulation as well as insulation beneath it) with my radiant heat manifold and PEX tubing. I plan to be comfy working in the garage with solar radiant floor and PV electricity.

Xringer 02-26-10 06:24 PM

Depending of the size of the space you want to heat, you might be in luck with 10 of those.

I'm kicking myself for giving away my three Novan collectors. I'll bet those could put
out 3,000 BTUh, even on a bad day..

In my house, I think a hot-water-to-forced-air would be the solution. (no ducts).

bennelson 02-26-10 08:51 PM

The panels I can get are not huge. They can be easily moved and installed by one person though.

I have a different panel, which I bought used, which is 4'x10' - that one will be used on my house for my solar hot water system.

I don't have fantastic solar access at my house, so it would be difficult to set up all these panels for heating my house. However, I might be able to mount a number of them on my detatched garage roof to help make the garage into heated space.

These panels have the glazing - it appears to be tempered low-iron glass. I have one of the "gaskets" - a rubber strip that goes around the outside edge of the glass and seals up the space between the glass and the aluminum frame.

I did have this solar panel just leaned up against the side of my garage. I had to chip away a lot of ice to get the gasket...

bennelson 02-28-10 08:50 PM

I went over to see Tim (Doax) today and brought the solar panel to refurbish.

In one day, we cleaned it up, soldered on new connections to replace the ones that were hacked off, and hooked it up with a pump and a barrel of water!

Here's what it looked like when we were done.

This was inside in an upstairs spare bedroom. That way we don't have to worry about the panel freezing, or climb around on a roof. The panel is basically mounted up against the inside of a window.

See all the photos we took of fixing this up at:
MobileMe Gallery

Xringer 02-28-10 09:25 PM

Nice job! When I first looked at the pics, one stood out instantly

I said, they didn't have it in the hole! But then I saw the whole flat plate was movable. :)

When I installed my Novan collectors on the roof, I soldered on 3/4" screw on couplings.
looked like these..

They connected the collectors to each other and to the up-down pipes.
And they made for a good leak-free install. It made taking them down easier too.

The hard part was using low-lead solder! :mad:

Daox 03-01-10 06:21 AM

Yeah, the panels aren't the highest quality out there, but they will definitely get the job done, and of course the price is right! We just have to find a good way to refurbish the rest of the panels.

Ben, I was thinking about the panels a bit more last night. We were talking about using C channel for side pieces. We don't have to use one long piece. We could cut out right around where the header pipes stick out and replace just that small area with C channel or re-bent aluminum sheet. We would just screw the C channel to the sheet aluminum frame. This would allow us to use whatever end connections we want since we could drop the collector straight down.

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