The house is totally off the grid, so no electricity or delivered gas. We do have small propane gas cylinders for a cooker and of course the active solar panels on the house for electricity. A wood stove provides the heat for the house, cooking and hot water. In Summer you don’t really want to put the stove on, so the house was carefully designed to have a passive solar panel for hot water. Redirect the water to and from the hot water tank, from the stove to the outside solar panel and the sun will warm the water. You can see the piping in the photograph below.
Unfortunately this year when we came to connect the water to and from the panel for our first time, we discovered the panel leaked. Somehow the panel had got damage, either from snow or a little water left in the panel that froze and cracked the inside. This rendered it useless and needing repair or replacement. Our neighbour, Frank, who built the house gave us his best opinion and a new one was ordered. His company will install the new one today, in a slightly lower position (for better flow and draining) and on a wooden frame.
We will post pictures of the new one and talk about its operation in another post. Here it is in its packing.
Trees and shrubs had grown around the old panel and so to give the new one the best chance of catching sunlight a lot of bush was cleared. This was a lot of manual work (there was a lot of young sumac) but now there is a good clearing around the panel.