Solar Water Heater Building Instructions

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Solar Water Heater Building Instructions
The size of this panel is 1M x1M. This is an arbitrary size and can be adjusted to suit individual applications. All quantities, dimensions and lengths will have to be adjusted accordingly. Where glue is specified, silicone can be substituted.

7 x 44mm cover strip to secure glazing 7 x 22mm rail (A) to support 4mm glazing 4mm sheet glass

15mm Copper tubing

7 x 22mm rail (B) to support Collector Plate

4.5mm Aluminium Collector Plate 12mm exterior/marine ply backboard

2 x 7 x 22mm rail (C) to support backboard

50mm insulation 144 x 22 SAP PAR

Refer to materials and cutting lists in Appendix A

Cut the 144mm x 22mm SAP into 2 x 1000mm (Sides D & E) and 2 x 1045mm (Top & Bottom). Cut the 44mm x 7mm coverstrip into 16 x 950mm x 22mm x 7mm and then cut lengthwise into 32 x22mm x 7mm. Mark Sides D & E and Top & Bottom to position rail (A) 4mm (thickness of Glass) from top. Center, glue & nail the 950mm x 22mm x 7mm rail (A) in place. Mark Sides D & E and Top & Bottom to position rail (B) approximately in the centre. Center, glue and nail the 950mm x 22mm x 7mm rail (B) in place. The rail (C) to secure the backboard is made up of 2 x 950mm x 22mm x 7mm strips glued and nailed one over the other. Mark Sides D & E and Top & Bottom to position rail (A) 12mm (thickness of Backboard) from bottom. Center, glue and nail 2 x 950mm x 22mm x 7mm rail (C) in place. Finish with 1 coat of universal primer/undercoat; allow to dry for 2 days and then apply 2 coats of black roof paint or black Exterior PVA.

Cut the 15mm copper tubing into 15 x 850mm and 28 x 45mm lengths. Using a pipe Fig bending 1 spring or a blowtorch bend a small angle 75mm from both ends of the 850mm lengths of pipe so that both ends are deflected in the same plane approx 15°. (Fig 1) Fix the “T” couplings to both ends of the 850mm pipes and couple them together with the 45mm lengths of pipe. Don’t tighten beyond finger tight until assembly is complete. (Fig 2)
45mm pipe

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Hot water OUT

“T” couplings

Down pipes


Elbows Cold


IN The bottom left hand and top right hand joints will be elbow joints. The bottom right will be the inlet and the top left will be the outlet. These positions are reversible depending on the application.

Assembling the Collector
Lay the completed piping assembly on the collector plate and centralise by eye. Mark the position of each down pipe with a felt tip pen. Measure 50cm from the top of the plate and mark a horizontal line across the down pipe markings. Draw similar lines 30cm from top and bottom of plate.
Fig 3

30 cm from end

50 cm from end

Drill 3mm holes where horizontal lines cross vertical lines ( in Fig 3) Clean pipework and plate with methylated spirits.

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Spray pipework and plate with gray primer and then 2 coats of matt black spray paint. When properly dry, lay the pipework back on the collector plate lining up with the holes previously drilled and the “T” joints not in contact with the plate. Thread 2 strands of wire down though the left hand hole and back up the right hand hole secure the pipework to the plate with a twist.

Final Assembly
Make up the basic frame by gluing and screwing one of the sides inside the top and bottom assemblies (Fig 4). Screw and glue the backboard into Backboar Glue & screw d position. Test-fit the Collector Plate assembly and locate and drill holes to accommodate inlet and outlet pipes. Remove Collector Plate Fig 4 assembly. Place the insulation on the backboard. Slide the Collector plate assembly back into position on the middle rail (B) and secure with 19mm screws. Fix the remaining side of the frame in position and attach to the backboard and collector plate. Locate and tighten the inlet and outlet pipes. Apply a bead of silicone around the rebate formed by the top rail (A) and fit the sheet glass. Secure the glass in place with suitably mitred coverstrips sealed with silicone and secured with panel pins. Counter sink all panel pins and screws and fill the holes with plastic wood or silicon to stop them rusting. Pipe a bead of silicone around the joint between the coverstrip and the glass to ensure waterproofing. Apply a final coat of paint to match your roof, paying special attention to joints and the covering of the screws and panel pins.

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Appendix A
Paint Brushes Black EXT PVA Turps Pink Primer Clear Silicon Cold Glue Matt Black Spray Paint Grey Metal primer Set of 4 500ml 750ml 1l 300ml 250ml 300ml 300ml 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2


Panel Pins Screws Coil Wire Glass 49g x 25mm 20 x 4.0 x 38mm 0.9mm x 500g 1M x 1M x 4mm 1 3 1 1

Plumbing Hardware
Straight Conex Coupling Copper Tubing Equal Tee Conex Coupling 90 Elbow Coupling 15mm 5.5M x 5mm 15mm 15mm 2 3 28 2

SAP PAR Pine Coverstrip Exterior Plywood 2.4M x 142 x 22 40 x 9mm 1M x 1M x 12mm 2 4 1

Aluminium Plate

1M x 1M x 4.5mm


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15mm Copper Tube 15mm Copper Tube 15mm Copper Tube 860mm 45mm 300mm 15 54 2

142 x 22 SAP 142 x 22 SAP 40 x 9 Coversrip 40 x 9 coverstrip mitred

1045mm 1000mm 20 x 9 x 950mm 40 x 9 x 1000mm

2 2 16 4

Tools and Equipment
Pipe Cutter 15Mmm Pipe Bender spring Jig Saw Electric Drill & bits Screw Driver 30cm Shifting Spanner Vice Grip Pliers Std Pliers Wire Cutters Sander Hammer Set Square Pencil Tape Measure

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