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Old 09-30-2008, 12:21 AM   #1
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I am a recently retired Paramedic which really doesn't give me a lot of experience in DIY projects except for treating those who were not skilled at using power tools or found out that gravity is real and responsible for acceleration when on ladders and roofs.

But I am not without DIY experience.

I have been doing remodeling since I was 12 with my dad and later on as both a hobby and part time job.

I have experience in heavy construction, all aspects of remodeling including electrical (120/240 and low voltage DC, Ethernet, cable, speaker), plumbing (Pex, PVC/CPVC, copper and galvanized and combo systems), window instillation (both new and existing), different types of insulation, structural modifications and span tables, home automation (my homes are run by a computer), alternative energy (I have DIY solar electric, solar hot water, passive solar heating, wind generation and hydronic cooling at my vacation home), HVAC (just installed a high efficiency gas central furnace, gas tankless hot water heater and have worked with my brother in law who owns an HVAC company, I just redid the duct work in my home to increase the volume of air to all my rooms using flow calculations), I am well versed in the tax credits for alternative energy in most states, trim work, door instillation, flooring, skylight instillation (I just put in 4 more last week), and landscaping for energy conservation.

My weak points are concrete work and roofing.

I was a journeyman painter many years ago and know a lot about paint although I run a distant second to my wife in this area.

I hate working on sewers.

My whole house is wired with Cat 6 Ethernet, coax and speaker wire and have whole house stereo with volume controls in every room. I have tubing access and can add fiber later if needed. I even have it run to my shop/garage just in case I ever need it out there.

Most of my supplies I get on Craigslist as there are lots of used items there that I can make work on my homes. I have made my own solar hot water and hydronic cooling from supplies collected off Craigslist. I heat and cool my vacation home for nothing. The heat is free from the sun, the cooling is free from the ground and it is all run by a pump that is run by electric solar panels. My electric bill is about $250 a year which is mostly my well pump when the wind is blowing and the sun isn't shining.

I store hot water in a well insulated 1000 gallon tank for heating when the sun doesn't shine. It will last about a week with temperatures at near 0. It only takes a few hours a week to keep it heated to 150 F. I have 11 sq meters of solar hot water panels and that give me access to 11 KW of sun power (1 KW per sq meter average if angled at the sun) which is over twice the power of the average water heater.

Well I am rambling now. Time for me to go.

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Old 09-30-2008, 12:46 AM   #2
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A good ramble is welcomed here. Welcome to DIY Chatroom!

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Old 09-30-2008, 09:27 AM   #3
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A good ramble is welcomed here. Welcome to DIY Chatroom!

....especially at my age.
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:40 AM   #4
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do you have any plans or links to them for what you've done solar-wise? i'm looking at solarwater soon and have seen many diff. plans online.

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Old 09-30-2008, 09:54 AM   #5
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do you have any plans or links to them for what you've done solar-wise? i'm looking at solarwater soon and have seen many diff. plans online.

DM
My system is very complex.

It is run by a computer with electronic valves and several pumps.

My A coils are converted air conditioning coils that I hacked to make into fluid coolers. I got them real cheap and they work really well.

The whole thing is connected together in a building I put up to be my energy center.

The valves control the flow of water. When it is hot out the valves allow the fluid to move through the heat panels and the water storage but not into the house. Only the hydronic cooling is open to the house. When it is cold out the process is reversed and the hot water is pumped into the house but only if needed. Otherwise the valves to the house are shut off and the hydronic cooling just sits there and the solar hot water moves only if the differential between the storage and panels is greater than 15 degrees.

There isn't much to see really. Just a bunch of valves on a wall, some pipes going into the ground and some hot water panels on a rack set at 45 degrees towards the sun. My wife hates wires, pipes, and generally stuff that blocks her view of the desert. She puts up with it because she knows I love working on this stuff and it is saving us a boat load of money.

I will try to update my web site with some pictures down the road.
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:18 AM   #6
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i'm wanting to do something similar to this http://www.byexample.com/projects/cu...tor/index.html (special thanks to YerDulgliness)
wondering how and if i can get heat from the system to provide/supplement heating my home as well. possible?

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Old 09-30-2008, 02:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MdangermouseM View Post
i'm wanting to do something similar to this http://www.byexample.com/projects/cu...tor/index.html (special thanks to YerDulgliness)
wondering how and if i can get heat from the system to provide/supplement heating my home as well. possible?

DM
Very possible.

Make sure it is very well insulated.

Make sure you have reflective material in the back. I have used sheets of 26 g ducting material.

Use double glazed glass that is NON low E. This will hold in the heat longer once the sun stops shinning on it. Non low E double glazed glass is hard to find but it is our there. More than likely you will have to order it.

You will have to have a pressure bladder, pressure relief valve, and some way to move the water around.

The downside of this setup is that you have to have the sun shine on it for a long time versus the commercial panels that have very small tubing and will heat up quickly.

It's all about surface area touching the water. The more that is in contact with the hot media the faster it will heat.

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