Passive Solar Tank Heating

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Passive Solar Tank Heating

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  • Large passive solar heating panel

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    10-14-2013, 05:31 PM
Passive Solar Tank Heating

Has anyone done this? Any success with it if you did or was it a flop?
Solar Tank Instructions

I am really wanting to try it out this winter, cause the extra $80-$100 in electricity per month wasn't fun. Where I'm at it isn't TERRIBLY cold, relative to North Dakota or Canada, but we do regularly get into the teens at night and sometimes into the single digits. Usually highs in the upper 30's, though last winter we did stay below freezing for 9 days straight.
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    10-14-2013, 06:33 PM
If it doesn't freeze there, why bother at all? I wouldn't.
    10-14-2013, 07:07 PM
It does freeze regularly at night here (teens is freezing), hence why I had to run a tank heater most nights and some days last winter.
    10-14-2013, 07:09 PM
Just realized I should have explained my temps are in the goofy Fahrenheit scale :)
    10-14-2013, 07:12 PM
Green Broke
I know someone who had this for her horses, and yes, it works very well! Having never seen one, I was quite amazed at its simplicity and efficiency! Would like to have one someday for sure :)
    10-14-2013, 09:06 PM
Oh yes, of course. I forget about that Fahrenheit vs. Celcius thing all the time... Whoops.
    10-25-2013, 11:07 AM
I made a version of that and haven't used a tank heater in 2 years (Colorado). Anything you do to limit exposure to outside temps is going to improve it's performance. First put the tank on insulated OSB board, cardboard, straw... anything to get it up off the cold ground. Build a large box that the tank fits into. I found that the panel they use was rather inefficient for solar gain. Just go completely enclosed on the sides for ease. Stuff the dead air space with more straw or foam peanuts. (I fill garbage bags with the peanuts and stuff them in the corners). Most important is cover the top. Even if it's the only thing you do. Make the drink spot as small as you can for your horse to comfortably fit it's head into. I go with a 20" opening. You can keep the tank heater in the tank if you want but it will be more efficient and run less just because you aren't getting the heat exchange with the air. Finally paint everything black. This will help absorb as much heat from the sun as possible.

I found some 2 1/2" foam insulated OSB board from a Resource Store (building seconds) for $8 a sheet. Need 4 for a 100 G tank. Piece the bottom with the off cuts. Used scrap 2x4, bought 1 G of black paint, an old torn stall mat (for the top around the drink hole where they dribble or I get ice build up on the top). Spent less than $75 or about the same as a new quality tank heater.
Lockwood and karliejaye like this.
    10-25-2013, 02:40 PM
Super Moderator
That's a really interesting idea and sounds as if it does work - keeping water thawed outside here is a massive problem for me in the winter (or a massive expense!!)
Thanks for posting
    10-28-2013, 07:48 PM
I went to a habitat for humanity restore and got a 10 foot long section of 4 inch wide insulation with plywood already attached for $15!!!! I think this weekend we will start building since the temps are quickly dropping (no frozen water just yet, luckily). Thanks all for the encouragement!
And left hand percherons, great idea with the stall mat around the top opening! I have 1 guy who tends to get a drink, then just open his mouth and let it all dribble out.
Northernstar likes this.
    11-03-2013, 03:12 PM
I'm glad I don't have to worry about that stuff. Just go out in the morning a few days a week with a hammer and bust up the inch of ice on the top.

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