Easy Passive Solar Water Heater

easy passive solar water heater

We needed a way to have an easy passive solar water heater for our cargo trailer while on our adventure out west. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so Cornbread built exactly what we needed out of PVC, spray paint, and rubber!

Gluing PVC together to get the size we wanted.
Spray painting the PVC – the rubber wrap comes next!
Finished project looks (and works) great!

Cornbread used a 5′ piece of 4″ PVC, then added various connections to get down to about a 2″ cap. That was a good size that would allow for easy pouring (into our Reliance shower) and adding more water to the water storage tube. Cornbread did several tests once the project was done.

Testing It Out

First he filled it with water (about 3.2 gallons), then checked it a few days later for leaks (there were none!). Next, he set the water storage tube in the bed of the truck to see if it would roll around while driving (we didn’t want that) – it didn’t (at least it didn’t while the tube is full, so we’ll plan to keep it full while driving).

Finally, he checked the temperature of the water at about 3pm on a sunny day (when the tube had been in the bed of the truck all day). When he opened the tube it was definitely warm, so that was a good sign. Next, he used a thermometer to check the temperature of the water. It was about 110 F – that was great and certainly enough for taking showers while camping on the road!

Our easy passive solar water heater is working out great!

UPDATE: So we’ve been on the road for about 3 weeks at this point and the passive solar water heater is working great! We’re in western Colorado at the moment and temperatures at night are in the low 50s (June) while afternoon temps are about 85F. The water isn’t hot when we’re using it for showers, but it is warm enough to be comfortable while getting clean after a long hike.

The sun does all the heating and we don’t have to worry about a thing! Some of the spray paint has worn off (from taking it in/out of the truck), but other than that we haven’t had any issues!

If you have any questions or want to know more, watch our video below and leave a comment! Cornbread checks often, so he’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Thanks for stopping by!

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