How To Build a Solar Power DIY Off Grid Hot Water Heater

in ecoTrain2 years ago

I have been living off grid for one year now, and I have learned to live without a lot of the modern niceties we are used to having. But, I will not live without hot water!

Of course, I could live without hot water, but I sure don't want to. What I have learned to do is live with less hot water than I used to.


Heating things off grid is a very energy intensive system, especially if you are using electricity. Propane heating is not as energy consuming, but you must rely on a private business to deliver your energy, and that costs money.

There are better ways to heat water off grid, and one of the best and cheapest ways is to harness the power of the sun.

Solar powered water heating makes piping hot water that you can plumb into your current hot water heater. It works super good and it is so cheap and easy to set up.

Instructions for DIY Solar Hot water Heater

The method is quite simple:

  1. Find a used, broken traditional water heater. You can find one for free at landfills, building supply stores, and local appliance shops. They can't even give these things away!

  2. Strip away all the bits and pieces until you are left with a bare tank.

  3. Paint that tank completely black.

  4. Place the tank in a wooden frame, lined with reflectix. Place a pane of glass on top, you can salvage one from an old window, or sliding glass door.

  5. Connect a hose into the tank and fill it with water. You can connect an output hose that gets pumped into your pre-existing hot water heater.

  6. Let that baby bake in the sun, and you will have piping hot water!


This makes seriously hot water, to the point of scalding, so be really careful when using this method that you don't burn yourself in the shower!

You can attach a water pump that only runs on when you open the hot water faucet, like this Remco water pump that is used to pump from the fresh water tank of an RV.


You can take an even easier route and place coiled copper or black tubing in the sun and fill the coils with water. The sun is so effective at heating things up!


The con of a solar powered hot water heater system is that if the sun isn't out, you don't have hot water.

If you would like to learn more off grid water heater ideas, please visit my full length article on Maximum Off Grid.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed my content.


Regina Cal.


 2 years ago  

thank you for this! we love to see these kinds of posts on the ecoTrain community! These are one of the easier DIY projects and today with the price of electricity to heat water, SO important!

You are very welcome :) I have TONS of knowledge and ideas that I think the community will really love and benefit from. More to come!