10 DIY Solar Water Heater Plans That Cut Down Your Electricity Bills

If you’re looking for an efficient way to heat your water using solar, there are several DIY plans to consider.

These DIY hacks’ beauty is that they will save you from high energy bills even as you enjoy a warm shower.

Some of these hacks don’t need glue or soldering. For others, you don’t need technical know-how to do them.

Try These DIY Water Heater Plans

1. Beginner’s Solar Water Heater Plan

If you don’t have much electrical know-how and you’re a first-time DIY-er, this water heater could be the place to start.

The items you need:

  • Hose
  • Plywood
  • Tubing

All you have to do is coil the tubing and attach it to the plywood. The length of the hose can be 100 feet or more.

Place the whole ensemble in a strategic place for maximum sunlight at a slanting angle.

The water can heat up to 133 degrees Fahrenheit after 30 minutes of sun.

If you allow the hoses to get up to 90 minutes of sunlight, the water can heat up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can have one part of the tubing running to the house and the other coming out through a garden hose.


2. Solar Water Heater for Public Bathroom

diy solar hot water heater

Usually, the water in a public bathroom can be chillingly cold. But, this heater ensures you have some warm water trickling on your hands in a public bathroom.

The materials you need:

  • Wooden box
  • Coil
  • Primer
  • Paint

The first step is to build the collector, which absorbs the sun’s heat and warms the fluid. You can use any type of wooden box to build a collector. Prime the box and then paint it.

diy solar hotwater

Next, solder the coils onto the collector.

For efficiency, use glass to cover the collector box.

Check out the plan here.


3. Plastic bottles water heater

diy solar heater

Ever wonder what to do with your plastic bottles once you empty them?

One thing you can do is set up a water heater. Three people can comfortably use this water heater to shower.

What you need:

  • 20 plastic beer bottles
  • Hose pipes

How does it work? The beer bottles are joined to hose pipes. The sun heats the water from the hose pipes as it passes through the bottles into the shower.


4. Batch Solar Water Heater Plan

diy solar water heating

This solar water heater looks like a giant bathtub, and it does the job.

What you’ll need:

  • The core of a gas water heater (you can buy a used one)
  • Cattle trough
  • Frame
  • Pipes
  • Mirror

Make a frame inside the trough.

Place the core inside the frame so that it does not touch the sides of the trough. Drill three holes through which the pipes will run.

Fasten a big mirror onto the side of the trough so that it can reflect light as necessary. You can attach the mirror to plywood. However, handle the mirror carefully to avoid cracks.

To get maximum sunlight, you can tilt the whole heater and support it underneath with a car jack.

diy solar water heaters

If you want to increase the temperatures to about 210 degrees Fahrenheit, you can cover the trough with foil paper.

The batch option is a passive water heater. Passive water heaters are cheaper than most conventional types.

The only downside to a passive water heater is that it might not be as efficient as an active one. However, a passive heater is more reliable.

Check out the plan here.


5. Homemade Flat Panel Solar Water Heater

homemade solar hot water heater

This water heater option offers a solar-thermal copper coil option.

The materials:

  • Plywood
  • Board
  • Wooden rods
  • Copper pipes
  • Glass
  • Copper tubings
  • Flatheads
  • Pipe to garden hose adapters
  • Nails
  • Dowels
  • Zip ties

You first arrange the copper wire on the board in a circular way. Drill holes around the board and fasten the cable onto these holes using zip ties.

Next, build the frame using dowels and plywood.

Then insert the board carrying the coils inside the frame. Drill holes through which the pipes will pass.

You then cover the frame with glass. You can use standard window glass or whatever works, depending on the frame size. Next, add the pipe to garden hose adapters to the pipes for a neat finish.

Lastly, paint the collector box black.

You can add a handle if you want to carry it around easily.

It can heat water up to 171 degrees Fahrenheit.


6. Thermosyphon Water Heating System

homemade solar water heater

For this water heating system, all you need is the sun and gravity. It works without a pump.

What you’ll need:

  • A collector box
  • Collector manifold
  • Copper grid
  • Aluminum roll
  • Insulation sheet

Once you’ve built the collector, make sure it’s connected to the storage tank in a sloping direction for efficiency.

As the sun rays hit the solar panel, the water in there heats up.

Now dense, the water rises to the storage tank.

Cool water then moves from the storage tank to the panel through the collector.

how to make a solar water heater

The upside of this option is that the water flow stops when the temperature in the collector is lower than in the tank.

The disadvantage of this water heater is that you can only use it in areas that do not freeze. Why? It doesn’t have freeze protection.

Here is all you need to know about this DIY hack.


7. Plastic Bottles Solar Water Heater

solar heaters diy

With this DIY hack, you can hit two birds with one stone. One, have a heating system for your home. Two, recycle plastic waste.

Besides, this system does not use pumps.

So, what do you need?

  • Plastic bottles
  • Cartons
  • 100mm PVC pipe and one of 20mm
  • PVC glue
  • PVC connectors, elbows, and end caps
  • Paint
  • Tape

Cut off the bottom of the bottles and run the pipes through them, creating a series.

The panels can be placed below the tank on a roof that is exposed to maximum sunlight.

For maximum efficiency, replace the bottles after every five years. Why? The bottles are likely to become opaque over the years preventing maximum heat absorption.

Check out more details here.


8. Barrel Solar Water Heater Plan

diy solar water heater

You can easily convert a 45-gallon barrel into a water heater.

What you’ll need:

  • A barrel
  • Polycarbonate sheet
  • 5 inch PVC pipe
  • 2 caps
  • 2 reducer caps
  • Black paint
  • Bungs

build your own solar water heater

Fix two bungs at the top and bottom of the barrel to attach to the solar panel.

Attach the PVC pipes to the top and bottom of the barrel. Fix the panel between the two PVC pipes. Seal the PVC type with a silicon bead.

Always ensure the water level in the barrel is higher than the top bung.

The polycarbonate allows water to flow to the top of the barrel.

Follow this plan to make your own barrel solar heater.


9. Solar Water Heater (Using an Old Fridge)

solar hot water heater diy

You probably didn’t know that you can use parts of your old fridge to make a solar water heater.

The materials you require:

  • Old fridge parts
  • Dowels
  • Glass
  • Aluminum foil
  • Rubber doormat
  • Hoses
  • Some tape

The back of a fridge absorbs a lot of heat because it is painted black, making it a perfect collector box for your water heater. You’ll need to cut out the grill before your start working.

Create a frame using dowels.

Do the pipework, cover the collector with the glass, and seal the cracks using caulk or tape if you don’t have caulk. Use the doormat as the backing material.

Fix the hose to the end and entry ports.

This system can heat your water up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can use this DIY hack to make a water heater using old fridge parts.


10. Portable Solar Water Heater

Portable Solar Water Heater

If you’re always on the move and often find yourself off-grid, a portable solar heater might come in handy.

Here are the materials you’ll need:

  • Five-gallon bucket
  • Hose spit
  • Clear hose
  • Brass fitting
  • PVC fitting
  • Temperature gauge

Make a hole on the lid to avoid air locking.
Fix the temperature gauge on the lid.
Make holes in the bucket and fix the gasket on one of the holes.
Attach the clear hose on the outside of the bucket.
Screw a cord to the bucket from your solar panel.
Make your own portable solar water heater using these steps.

Final Thoughts

DIY solar water heater plans are fun to build and save you the high costs of paying for hot water through electricity bills.

If you have never done a DIY, you can settle on the beginner’s solar plan.

But if you’re looking to build a bigger plan, go for the batch solar water heater.

Should you be working on a budget, create a solar water heater using plastic bottles, an old barrel, or parts of a discarded fridge.

How hot the water will be, depends on how long the sun will shine and the capacity of your system.

It’s time to cut down those energy bills and enjoy a free shower.

1 thought on “10 DIY Solar Water Heater Plans That Cut Down Your Electricity Bills”

  1. Great article. Most folks have to learn this the hard way. Substantially, solar water heaters won’t merely lessen my monthly energy bills, but they will also provide several perks in a more cost-effective approach


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