Simple Solar Hot Water Solution

Heating water with the sun may seem like a challenge, but it is really quite simple.

We do not yet have a washing machine set up for use with our solar power system and in the meantime, I've been traveling to the closest laundromat which is a 35 minute drive each way. To my dismay, the laundromat recently raised their prices and shut off the hot water to their washing machines. Usually I wash with cold water and a modest amount of soap, but life on the farm has turned up some extra dirty laundry that needs a good soak in warm water to come clean.

I rigged up a quick solar hot water heating system to do the trick. It is four black hoses stretched across the yard. One end is attached to an outdoor farm pump and the other end of the hose goes straight into my utility sink. After about an hour on a hot day the water in the hose is almost scalding! It's great for soaking dirty laundry, but be careful not to burn yourself.

Solar hot water heating is one of the simplest ways to get started with alternative energy. You can devise any number of simple solutions for heating water with the sun and rely mostly on recycled materials that are available in your area. Plus, using solar hot water is a sure way to save you money on your electricity and gas bills.

More DIY Solar Hot Water Projects

Solar Hot Water Batch Heater
We built this solar hot water heater in 2005 and it served as our primary source of hot water until very recently. We are working on building a new one that we will hook to our instant hot water heater.
Solar Hot Water Upgrade for Summer
In the summer your solar hot water heater will need to be able to withstand the extra heat! We had to upgrade to copper pipes to prevent bursting and install a tempering valve to reduce the risk of scalding.
DIY Flat Panel Solar Water Heater
For information on how to build your own flat panel solar water collector read about our first solar hot water experiment. Flat panel water heaters work great in the summer...but ours couldn't take the freeze.
Homemade Solar Shower
After our batch water heater was complete we built an outdoor solar shower right next to the collector. We've posted a series of construction photos that show how we built our solar shower.

Another Simple Solar Solution

Even if you are not a do-it-yourselfer, you can still take get started with alternative energy and take advantage of the sun's powerful energy. With a portable solar shower you can harness heat from the sun simply by placing it outside on a sunny day. A camp shower is an affordable and easy way to get solar hot water -- without relying on the availability of electricity or gas.

Get started with solar! Click here to choose from a selection of portable solar showers at


Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Solar Shower

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