The goal: Build a passive solar water heater to make the frigid water in the public bathroom less shocking to the human body. It needs to be a closed loop system because it freezes where we are a few times a year. Having water run through the collector will freeze the sitting water in the winter month nights and apparently scald hands in the summer months.
The background: We know a solar water heater can be made, but making it work everyday without requiring constant adjustment and fiddling is the tricky part. I'm lucky, my mother owns a hardware store (awesome place to grow up) and she decided to fund the project. She let me build it at the store and agreed to deal with the ridiculous time line I often fall into on pet projects like this. This will be installed to provide warmer than ice cold water to the hardware store bathroom and will only really be used for washing hands and cleaning etc...
I've broken the project into three phases:
1- The Collector: A heat exchanger that will collect the sun heat energy and efficiently transfer it to whatever fluid media we end up using to carry the heat to our desired location.
2- The Emitter: Yet another heat exchanger that will deliver the heat from my carry fluid to the water the end user will come into contact with.
3- The Install: making it all work as maintenance free as possible... probably the hardest part.
This 'ible covers Phase 1. I will not be as long winded in the steps as I was here.