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  1. #1
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    Hot Water,whats the Best Method

    Just been sat thinking about what method to use for heating Water for Showers,and Running Hot Water in the Kitchen and Bathrooms.I know that I could use Electric Showers,but what about the Various Hot Taps that will be in the House?.Is there a way of heating water using a Solar Panel coupled to some kind of Storage System?Also does Anyone use or know about installing Solar Panels to provide Electricity in Thailand?

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Don't know about the solar panels but we have two hot water systems (one tank upstairs, another one down) as opposed to the water heaters you get here.

    Basically it means that we have hot running water through the house. Before we brought this place we rented the exact same model house (same number of bathrooms etc) and the costs for water and electricity were no higher (although there is the additional cost of installing the system/tanks etc).

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    Cheers AntRobertson for your reply,but can you give me some idea of how the System is made up

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    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Sorry, I'm a bit clueless on it to be honest as it was in the house installed when we brought it. All I know is that there's an 80ltr (heated) tank for the upstairs (bathrooms and showers) and a 30ltr (heated also) tank for the downstairs (kitchen and laundry). They are plumbed through the mains pipes so you have hot water right to the tap/showers etc.

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    I only know the basics about solar generated electricity, so here goes.
    One panel of approx 1 square metre will give you 75 watts of electricity - when it is light. That is not a lot, when you understand that to boil a kettle needs something like 2 thousand watts.
    But it is enough to keep 2 leisure batteries topped up, which can then run low energy (12 volt) light bulbs, and/or a 12 volt water pump. At my place (in France) I run the bathroom, kitchen and cellar lights from one 75 watt panel with 2 gel batteries. Never had a problem with the battery running flat. I also have a 12 volt pump connected to the underground water storage tanks, which is used to pump water from there to a holding tank in the roof for flushing the toilet, also for watering the garden. So it works.

    With regard to hot water, there are systems around which can collect heat from the sun and transfer it to an immersion heating coil in a well insulated copper tank. In northern European countries, even in winter, this is quite effective and can heat the water up to over 60 celsius. But I can't see the need for anything sophisticated in Thailand, because the sun is so hot. All you need is a matrix of small bore copper pipe, attach it to a large backing plate (corrugated iron or something like that). Surface area should be around 2 square metres. Then paint it all black. Connect it to your water cylinder's second input, fill up the loop and close it off. Make sure the heat collector (the panel_ is below the cylinder so that gravity will send the hot water from the collector to the water tank. Hey presto - hot water.
    Obviously this is a very simplified version of what you need to do. For safety reasons you need to talk to a plumber about pressure release valves and expansion vessels etc. And if you don't think you can get a good enough temperature from this, you can always use it to preheat the water going into your main water tank.

    Googole it. There are some diagrams and explanations of what to make and how to do it.

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    lotr of fucking around too.
    I did want hot water in kitchen to wash/rinse dishes and in bathrooms for showers, so I just bought 3 electric fired water heaters odf the brand I felt was a good one with enough watts to be able to heat water either warm summer water or cold winter water from tanks/mains, and when we use either one of em we just pop on the safety breaker and use the hot water and then open the breakers when not in use.
    We did leave the safety breakers on all the time and then during a lightening/thunder storm so wild current went thru the breaker and fried a heater and knocked the shit out of me in the shower, so now we close the breaker, use the water and always open the breaker when done.

    stops a lot of fucking around and in 6 years we have only had to replace 1 heater, the one the lightening got to.. have found it is easier and less stress to just go the simple route when dealing with the simple unqualified people here.

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackgang
    have found it is easier and less stress to just go the simple route when dealing with the simple unqualified people here.
    Agreed. Keep it simple. Cheaper in the long run. Oh, and safer.

  8. #8
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    Isaan Man, what you are suggesting is possible. At the moment, however, it is very expensive to buy in LOS. You would need a formidable array of solar panels to generate enough power to heat all your water. An evacuated tube type heat exchanger is another option, but again, a bit pricey.

    If you are the DIY sort of chap, you could knock up a simple heat exchanger using black pipe, with a solar pump to circulate the water, and some form of tank to store the hot water. As you may have guessed, I have done a little reserch on this already. There is a big Company in China that makes all kinds of solar stuff and if you give me a while, I could find the link.

    Which ever way you go with this, it will take a bit of planning, so that it can be incorporated into your build.

    Start here and have a good look around. Real English pages http://kino.en.alibaba.com/product/0/200176511/Solar_water_pump.html

    Heat exchangers here, English pages
    http://www.alibaba.com/catalogs/1007/Solar_and_Recycling_Energy.html

    Background to solar systems here, American site.
    http://www.backwoodssolar.com/

    Expensive water features, but some nice ideas here.
    http://www.primrose-london.co.uk/water-features-solar-water-features-c-1_108.html

    I use solar power for path edges and steps and although many things are possible, and available, it all comes down to budget. If you need anything else, just ask.
    Last edited by Loombucket; 08-11-2008 at 04:36 PM. Reason: Links added

  9. #9
    Newbie jedsez's Avatar
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    The best method

    1st: this is thailand. you don't need hot water.
    2d: the best method for you? for the planet?

    it seems to me that storing 30, 60 ,120 liters of hot water and then running hot water pipes around your thai house. in the middle of thailand. is difficult to imagine as the best solution. for anybody.

    i luxuriate in the comfort of a wall mounted localized hot water delivery system. it only makes what i need when i need it. storage and backups are solar dependent. if it's hot outside i will have a cool shower.

    so, the best soultion? the one that appeases your sense of self worth or the one that recognizes your participation in the community of life?

    perhaps there are others.

  10. #10
    Cacoethes scribendi
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    Quote Originally Posted by jedsez
    I luxuriate in the comfort of a wall mounted localized hot water delivery system. it only makes what i need when i need it. storage and backups are solar dependent. if it's hot outside i will have a cool shower.
    A very good point Jedsays, and you don't need hot water to wash clothes like you did in the old days. Great for soaking your feet though.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jedsez View Post
    1st: this is thailand. you don't need hot water.
    There speaks a man that hasn't ever been up and in the shower at 6am on a winters morning in Chiang Mai.

    For me I've never been a fan of cool showers generally really, irrespective of the weather. I just don't feel clean unless I've had a nice hot shower.

  12. #12
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    Having the availability of hot water in the house is a convienience that we Westerners have grown acustomed to and additionally can very well be a sanitation issue when talking about it's use in the kitchen to wash dishes.

    I like the idea of on demand hot water that the electric water heaters in the shower or under the sink provide however, in my house here in Thailand, I went with a 70 or so liter water tank that is stationed under the sink in the guest bathroom and provides hot water to the bathrooms and Western and Thai kitchens. There are various temp settings on the water heater so based on usage you have some options. I maintain the temp setting very low as the need and frequency for very hot water is rare but I do like something to take the edge off the cold water, especially for shaving and early morning showers. It is a preference and one needs to decide whaqt is best for them.

    Personally, I like the choice I made and it has worked fine for me. No complaints...
    "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff....and it is all small stuff"

  13. #13
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    I have used a PALOMA gas fired water heater for years on my sailboats and in my mountain remote cabins, no wasted water as what is in the pipe between the heater and the tap is very little and no wasted energy to maintain a tank of water at temp because the Paloma is tank less just like we use here and also in China, except in China they were also gas fired because of the electrical shortage problems.
    I have seen gas fired tank less ones here in town as well as all the electric models.
    Also Home Mart has a solar heater for your roof on display in the shop here in Phetchabun, but more expense and a pain in the ass to get a Thai to do a professional job of anything.

    Like I said we have 3 electric tank less in our home, 1 for kitchen sink hot water, no Hep for us, 2 in the showers, and we have no well as we also harvest roof rain water as it is impossible to drill a wet well in out area and a 4 meter well surrounded by cess pits and dry wells of that same depth just don't do it for me.

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    Member HINO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Issan Man View Post
    Just been sat thinking about what method to use for heating Water for Showers,and Running Hot Water in the Kitchen and Bathrooms.I know that I could use Electric Showers,but what about the Various Hot Taps that will be in the House?.Is there a way of heating water using a Solar Panel coupled to some kind of Storage System?Also does Anyone use or know about installing Solar Panels to provide Electricity in Thailand?
    There are solar systems around. Your choice if that suits your budget and fits your needs. I have no experience with them but for me the instant on electric units are Ok.

    Here is one link to a site that can answer your questions and if I was inclined in that direction I would consider this company.

    SIAM GREEN POWER International Co.,Ltd.


    If you take the time to do the job right the first time you won't need to "find" the time to go back a second time

    HINO

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    Quote Originally Posted by jedsez View Post
    1st: this is thailand. you don't need hot water.
    2d: the best method for you? for the planet?

    it seems to me that storing 30, 60 ,120 liters of hot water and then running hot water pipes around your thai house. in the middle of thailand. is difficult to imagine as the best solution. for anybody.

    i luxuriate in the comfort of a wall mounted localized hot water delivery system. it only makes what i need when i need it. storage and backups are solar dependent. if it's hot outside i will have a cool shower.

    so, the best soultion? the one that appeases your sense of self worth or the one that recognizes your participation in the community of life?

    perhaps there are others.
    Thanks for all of your replys,and a specail thanks to LoomB and Hino for the Links,a lot to be considered.I know that it's Thailand,but I want to have Hot water,and don't consider it to be a luxury but a necsesity.when me and the Wife were first together she used to think I was strange because I always had a hot Shower,but after living here in Blighty,she understands why,infact it's the Wife who is insisting on it

  16. #16
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    I have played around with solar powered hot water at our resort. One main problem? It gets to be to damn hot out of the tap!

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat Texpat's Avatar
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    We have a 150 liter (I think) water heater. The house is plumbed for hot water in the main bathroom upstairs and kitchen and laundry. Copper pipes carry the hot water.

    The heating element is turned on and off with a switch upstairs -- so can turn it off if not needed.

  18. #18
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    store you water in a tank up high, so that it naturally heats the water when its hot, which is in most areas more so then not. Thats if you want cheap and cheerful, if you just want cheap then an electric heated tank, of course!!!!!!!!!

  19. #19
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    But an electric heated tank is not really cheap,,You have to pay for electricity to heat the tank of water, then every so often the thermo kicks in and heats the water because it cooled off, then you run a few liters of cold water out of the pipe between the tank and the tap so you have hot at the tap and then the heating cycle goes on again.

    Use a lot more electricity and waste a lot of water with tank compared to tankless at the spot heaters which heats it as you use it and then shuts down when you are thru.

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat gusG's Avatar
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    My advice, for what it's worth, is to go with the "hot water on demand" type , stuck on the the shower wall.
    No extra plumbing, no extra electricity for storage, just turn on the tap and you've got a hot shower, turn it down , you have a warm shower, turn it off, you have whatever.
    Easy.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackgang View Post
    Use a lot more electricity and waste a lot of water with tank compared to tankless at the spot heaters which heats it as you use it and then shuts down when you are thru.
    Dunno about that - we rented a house with spot heaters (same design, size etc) as the one we eventually purchased with the tanks/plumbed hot-water and electricity bills are about the same.

  22. #22
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    For your shower, only one way to go! Instant electric heater on the shower wall (7Kw if you can get it in Thailand) Make sure it has it's own supply from the consumer unit and backed up with an RCD. If you have more than one shower and need more than one heater, they should have the own electrical supply.
    Instant gas water heaters or OK for the kitchen sink or for filling a bath but not reliable for constant temp requirement of a shower.
    Both systems are very easy to fit by any good DIY guy.
    If you fit either system and want any further advice on electric cable,plumbing etc. send me a PM.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Instant gas water heaters or OK for the kitchen sink or for filling a bath but not reliable for constant temp requirement of a shower.
    Again, not so sure about that. The showers in our house are brilliant; high-pressure and constant temp. Honestly the best showers I've encountered in Thailand save for a few hotels.

    Nothing worse than a piss-weak, dribbling, shower with no pressure!

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat Texpat's Avatar
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    I would imagine point of use heaters at every spot I require hot water (two showers, two sinks, kitchen sink and laundry) is much more than a single hot water heater and tank.

    ^ Another good point. The hot water out of a tank can flow with great pressure and not turn chilly.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loombucket
    If you are the DIY sort of chap, you could knock up a simple heat exchanger using black pipe, with a solar pump to circulate the water, and some form of tank to store the hot water. As you may have guessed, I have done a little reserch on this already. There is a big Company in China that makes all kinds of solar stuff and if you give me a while, I could find the link.
    I hope the water side is copper and you are running black pipe on your treated H2O (Heat Exchanger) side other wise you'll run into rust problems!

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