Tuesday, January 1, 2013


It’s deployment day for the solar water heater. It’s taken longer than I expected, but I got a lot done, including some painting help from the kids yesterday. There’s more I want to do, but it needs to go out.

This morning when Tia went out to feed, I got going myself, and started up the tractor, bringing it over to the house. I didn’t have my phone, so no pictures of the insulated base going out, but there’s not much to that. Two sheets of foam insulation sandwiched in between two sheets of OSB. I piled bricks on top and drove out to the pasture. Tia helped me set the base up, leveling it (somewhat) with bricks below, and then adding a bunch on the South side of the platform for a thermal mass.

Then it was back for the cover (and my phone). I loaded them up the tractor and drove out

Photo Jan 01, 11 36 55 AM

It’s not heavy, just a little unwieldy. Above is the bottom, standing on it’s side. You can see the solar plastic which will face South on the left.

Photo Jan 01, 11 37 35 AM

I was worried it wouldn’t fit on the forks, but it did fine. I drove out and Tia and I lifted it onto the base. It actually went on fairly smoothly, which was nice. Delaney and I struggled a bit the other day, since the cover fits around the base, not on top.

Photo Jan 01, 11 47 36 AM

A few bricks sticking out, but mostly it was looking good. Tia started filling it and we could feel sunlight and heat building up inside. I don’t think that it will be enough without a top, but she wanted to give it a try, so we will.

Photo Jan 01, 11 51 45 AM

There are just three pieces of insulation around the sides, and I’m hesitant to add more right now. I think we need a more straight sized bucket inside, but we’ll monitor how this works for a week or two and then decide.

Photo Jan 01, 11 55 31 AM

I’m hoping the 20 bricks in front heat up today and provide a nice thermal mass tonight, keeping things warm. We’ll see tomorrow when Tia goes out.

I did cut out the top larger, and add the trim I got the other day to it.

Photo Jan 01, 2 29 11 PM

I added a brace piece of wood on the bottom, and then screwed the metal trim to each side. A little elbow grease bent the metal around the wood to keep the horses from hitting it with their noses.

Photo Jan 01, 2 42 43 PM

I think we’ll need the top, but for now it’s in the garage. I gave the bottom some paint to try and preserve it in the weather, though I’m not too confident it will last a long time. We’ll see how it survives the winter.

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