Monday, May 31, 2010

The Sun Heats My Water

As we took care of the Ugly in the last post, I guess it's time for the Good and the Bad. The bad first (that's always my preference). On Saturday, the fox came around again, in broad daylight, while J was mowing. I chased it off of two chickens, but it had already gotten one hen. So, we were up before light yesterday, moving the chicks in with the big hens, as the transition is easiest that way. If they wake up together, they sort of think it's always been that way. We'd been holding off on consolidating them, to give the chicks time to grow enough to hold their own, but they were outgrowing their coop, and their yard was not as secure as the big hens. They've adjusted with a minimum of discord, thank goodness.

There are lots of good things, including the solar hot water system. We had another leak, this time larger, but J quickly remedied it, and it seems to be humming along just fine now. J cut the last of the trees for the pond, the bean & winter squash poles are up & stringed, we got cardboard down on the newest garden paths, and many other assorted homestead chores got done. Thank goodness it started raining. Now we get to rest!

Another good thing has been that we've eaten quite well this holiday weekend. Fresh Pea Soup from the last harvest of the season, 2 types of broccoli salad (we had lots of broccoli ready to harvest at the same time), and my first tortillas. They were so easy and good, I'll be making them again. This post will be long, so I won't include any recipes. If there are specific ones you'd like to know about, let me know, and I'll include them in a future post.

The first picture shows J securing the cover on the unit. I bought this unit used, and the cover, which is a corrugated plastic roofing panel, needed replacing. The unit is 8' X 2', and encloses several runs of copper tubing. The water in the tubing is heated by the sun. It is an active system, which means that anytime the water in the collector reaches 145 degrees, a pump circulates it to a storage tank. It is an open system, meaning the water that is heated in the collector is the same water I'll use in my shower.

Joseph created some metal brackets, to secure it on the roof.

The thermometer registered in the 180's just a few minutes after setting it up. A little while later, it was off the charts, so at least 220 degrees.

The unit was placed on the roof of the house, facing south.

Since being set up on the roof, we haven't had a full day's sun. Even so, we've seen it register in the 180's. We've turned our water heater down to 125, to keep it running at bare minimum. We're making hot water from the sun. Another of my longtime dreams come true!


cookingwithgas said...

Wow! that is good! the water not the fox.
I AM impressed!

MJunaid said...

I am impressed the way you have shared the posts with us. keep it up buddy.
Roof Leaks

Lesley Austin said...

I am really loving seeing these little looks into the details of your homestead life, Laurie. Thank you for taking the time to write about it all.

Could you tell me about using cardboard on garden paths? We are about to finally mulch ours with straw and my husband is thinking of using landscape fabric, which I am pretty sure is made of some kind of plastic...I would much rather avoid that if there is another alternative!

kriips said...

Awesome, you guys!