Passive Solar

I have learned more about windows than I ever thought. I wish the experts who built our "extreme green" home had considered that it was passive solar in the purchase of windows for the south side of our house. I have learned too late to not have to replace windows about the U factor and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. Our "low e" windows have a U factor of .30 and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient of .26 (when Solar Heat Gain Coefficient it needs to be close to .7). I have also learned that we are all told to replace single pane windows with dual pane windows when it would be more cost effective and better r value to make window quilts and add storm windows in the winter. I have also learned that standard curtains that are open at the top and bottom are more of a detriment to the heating and cooling of the room when we close them instead of saving energy like we thought. Due to heat rising and cold air sinking, this actually helps to circulate the temperature of the glass into the room. I have also run across research that says that even glass filters out too much of the UV rays to keep us healthy if we rarely go outside, and the more panes, air or argon we put in, the worse it gets. Turns out that is only good to keep the furniture and carpet from fading. Please learn from my mistakes.

Hot Water Heater

Our hot water heater is in the basement and it's electric.  We were having a problem with the second person taking a shower not having enough hot water.  The first thing we did was look for insulation for the hot water heater.  We live in a small town, so no one had a hot water heater blanket for us to buy.  I then started looking around on the internet for options, and one that I ran across was a radiant barrier for the hot water heater.  While I can't really understand the concept, I decided to try it anyway.  I went to the local Dollar tree and bought five of the reflective windshield barriers for cars ($5 plus tax).  I came home and wrapped them and taped them around the hot water heater sides and top and connected it with duct tape.  I followed online directions that the reflective surface needs to be next to air space, and so put it facing out-words, even though my brain was saying, "shouldn't you be reflecting the heat back to the tank?"  Amazingly, it works.  Why?  It still seems hoky. I can't tell if it helped with the cost of electricity, as this was heading into winter and we have electric heat.

The other thing I did was bought some low flow shower heads and some new aerators for our sinks to conserve on hot water.  Now, even when I am the third person in the shower, I find myself adjusting the water temperature down (and I LOVE a hot shower.)
Inside parts of hot water heater
In progress
Our solar water heater so far. . . Our solar water heater is finished! Here is the cost breakdown: Water Heater Duda Diesel $664.57 Collector, heat exchanger S & J Plumbing $95.51 Expansion Tank, etc. Water Heater $75.00 Water Tank US Solar $143.00 2 dc pumps S & J Plumbing $24.02 pipe parts, wiring S & J Plumbing $262.38 pipe parts Radio Shack $12.79 2 capacitors Lowes $11.17 plumbing parts Lowes $15.79 plumbing parts Siler City Hardware $4.74 pipe dope paypal $23.10 pinch clamps Wal-mart $10.00 Anti-freeze S & J $16.54 copper pipe fittings Lowes $25.68 copper pipe fittings $1,384.29 Put in service May 20, 2014
Completed collector with solar panel


  1. Hi I so wanna go Solar all the way I'm confused you said your hot water tank is electric does that mean it's running off of some power grid not solar?

    1. So our original hot water heater was electric. When we set up the solar water heater, the water goes to a different tank. Then when we use hot water, the old electric tank pulls in hot water from the solar tank. It still has the capability of coming on if the water gets cool enough, but judging by our power bill, it doesn't come on much, if any.

  2. nice bLog! its interesting. thank you for sharing.... solpaneler norrtälje