Kids Solar Water Heater





Introduction: Kids Solar Water Heater

About: Science Geek! Been to Space Camp 3 times and want to go again!!

This is an excellent way for kids to learn about the power of the sun. By adding water through the tubes the black tubes absorbs energy from the sun and heats up the water. We wanted a cost efficient way to demonstrate this so we used black garden tubing, scrape cardboard, some glue, and a template. The template was necessary for the age group we were work with. Add water and the sun = hot water!

Step 1: Materials

The materials you will need are

- Zip Ties

- Glue or Tape

- 3Ft Black Gardening Tube

- Sharp Pencil

- Water Dropper or Pipet

- Water

- Water Collector - We used a Pringles can lid

- Thick Cardboard

- Optional Template

Step 2: Step 1 Glue

Add glue to back of template and stick on to cardboard.

Step 3: Step 2 Holes

Poke holes to get the zip ties through easily.

Step 4: Step 3 Zip Ties!

Add zip ties through the holes and tighten down the tube.

Do not over tighten. Over tightening rips the cardboard

Zip ties need to be connected on the top or the heater will not sit flat on the ground

Step 5: Step 4 Add Water

Using the pipet, slowly add water to tube.

Step 6: Step 5 Add Sun

Place in direct sun light. Angle cardboard so that there are no shadows.

Step 7: Step 6 Collect Water

Allow time for the water to sit in the tube. After 5 min in direct sun the water will be hot (be careful). Lift the heater up and allow gravity to force the water out the bottom or force water out using the pipet. Collect water but be careful, hot water can burn.

Use a thermometer to measure the before and after temperature of the water.

Step 8: What If?

I am sure many of you have great suggestions on making this better. We would love to hear form you!

We thought about painting the cardboard black, we also thought about black aluminum for the backing. We chose not to use these for time and cost purposes. A class could experiment with different colored backgrounds to see what and if there were any differences.

We also tried a coil but the age group we were working with had a very hard time with keeping the coil in place.

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    1 Questions

    Did the project actually work? I'm thinking of doing this for a science project at school but I don't want to do it if it doesn't actually work.

    Hi! Happy to hear you want to try this activity. There was a measurable difference in temperature. They actually got really hot. So, yes they work well.


    you, can put silver paper ( aluminium folie ) under the coils.

    Then there will be some reflecting sunrays more on the coil !

    Nice project !

    Thank you for the comments and suggestions. I believe the tube was a 1/4 inch tube.

    Great !

    Add more coils in serie, or parallel !

    well done !

    Cover the coil with a plastic or glass plate !

    Nice project !

    As pump, you can use, a small solar fountain pump ( small pump and a small solar panel ) The solar panel is low voltage. Safety !

    Awesome project!!! I wish I had a few teachers like you as a youngster!!

    I will do this with my kids, Just showed them your instructable and they were excited to try it.


    1 reply

    We hope you do try it. Send pics and temps if you do, please.

    What a great science project. Thank you for sharing how to make these. I kind of want to make one. :)

    The temperatures varied from kid to kid and the amount of time allowed to sit in the tubes. We recorded results but I did not save the information and I do not want to guess. Sorry.

    That's a nice little experiment and perfect for the age group.

    1 reply

    Good science experiment and learning for kids.

    1 reply

    Thanks! The kids did learn and wanted to learn more.