A Homemade Solar Thermal Siphon In Operation

   

A Homemade Solar Thermal Siphon – A What?

There are many ways on how to efficiently transfer heat from a solar collector to a container of cold water. A few of these can be done at home in a smaller scale which allows households to come up with a heating system the only energy source of which is the sun.

 

A solar powered heat siphon moves water without the need for pumps

A solar powered heat siphon moves water without the need for pumps

One of these simple processes involves creating a solar thermal siphon to heat water using solar thermos tubes. There are two ways on how to transfer heat from the solar collector to the water. The first one is by directly circulating the cold water through the collector. The second one makes use of a heat exchanger which utilizes an anti-freeze solution to transfer heat from collector to water. The process that we are going to focus on will be the direct process because it’s simpler and can be easily copied in homes.

Before you start building your own homemade solar thermal siphon, make sure that you have all the materials and equipment needed for it to work. The most important materials that you need to procure are the solar thermos tubes. Without these tubes, you have no way of capturing the heat from the sun. The number of tubes that you purchase depends on how much water you aim to heat. To help you out, 10 tubes will be enough to heat around two gallons of cold water. If you plan on heating a larger amount of water, then you need to increase and scale the number of solar thermos tubes that you are going to purchase. As to the two inlets that will connect the container of water to the thermos tubes, it’s best that you make use of PVC pipes.

The greatest advantage of tapping into the thermosiphon effect to heat water is that you are not going to need pumps or controllers. The technology relies on the scientific fact that warm or hot water always rise over colder water. As water warms up, it becomes less dense thus causing it to rise to the surface. With that said, you need to build your water container in a way that the inlet for warm water is above the inlet for cold water. This creates an endless cycle wherein as warm water leaves the container, cold water goes in. The cycle repeats itself until all the water in the container gets warm or hot.

A very important thing to remember is that all the materials you use in building the water heater should be good heat conductors. The container or tank should be made of a material that absorbs heat very well thus helping the solar thermos tubes in circulating the heat. As to thermos tubes, it can be difficult to find them in a regular hardware store. Your best option will be to purchase them online from solar equipment sellers or retailers.

The best place to install a solar thermal siphon heater would be on the rooftop of your house. Not only will it be more exposed to sunlight, it will also be easier to manage the circulation of the water being heated through pipes and inlets.