My solar systems save me money.
- Robert Karl Skoglund/ The humble Farmer
- 785 River Road, St. George, ME 04860
- 1,000 sq ft
- Event Participation:
- NESEA Green Buildings Open House 2012 Host
- NESEA Green Buildings Open House 2013 Host
- Solar Hot Water
- January 2012
- Size of System:
- To heat hot water
- For space heating
What You Need to Know
I have 8 flat plate solar hot water heaters that heat my domestic hot water. At present it is also heating my cellar floor. I'm presently building four more flat plate solar hot water heaters that will face east and only be used to heat the cellar floor. I also have around 1380 watts of Photo Voltaic panels on my henhouse that is on the grid. I saw no place to mention this above as in my first read it looked like I had to choose between mentioning one system or another. I applaud your work in getting people to know more about the advantages of utilizing solar power, but I doubt if the person who designed your web pages knows much about old Maine men who walk about with their feet on the ground.
I put water in the hot water system in April because I was told that water is 30 % more efficient than the anti-freeze. I plan to put the anti-freeze back in in October, but instead of using it full strength, I understand that it will not freeze if I use a 50% mix. I plan to get the tool that allows me to measure the efficacy of the anti-freeze. We had such a thing to test radiators when I worked in a garage in 1951 and imagine that they must have a version of the same thing today.
I was motivated by greed. I wanted to save money. I knew that with George W. Bush in the White House, the price of gas and oil was going to skyrocket, so I immediately started building Photo Voltaic panels and solar hot water heaters. And I haven't looked back. The only thing that concerns me is that corporate America is likely to tax these things if enough of us get them.
Advice for the neophyte. Ask every person you can before you start to build these things. Visit every person within 80 miles of your home who has these things. Ask them questions. Video or tape record each visit --- what the units look like --- what the owners say about them. Do not be distressed when rich kids tell you that they cost thousands of dollars, because they don't if you build them yourself. Seek out master solar gurus. Cling to their coattails and worship. Beware of so-called professional, licensed installers until you have talked with them several times. Just because they might know how to set up a great system doesn't mean that they aren't hootie owl crazy. You want to spend as much time doing research before you begin as you will actually spend building your collectors.
Experience with Installer:
Some are top notch wonderful professionals. Some are right out of their tree mentally unbalanced. Find out who they are long before you make any decisions.
You are lucky if your house faces south. Mine faces east and west and I don't have all that much surface on which to place hot water heaters.
Open House Info:
I welcome visitors and would be glad to share what little I have learned with anyone who had the patience to work with me.
View Other Case Studies
Single-Family Residence|Solar PV
Single-Family Residence|Solar PV
The EnergySage Marketplace