Let the sun shine!

 free heat – well almost free – probably a 3 year pay back where I live

I know I don’t strike many of my new acquaintances as being much of an environmentalist – especially since over half of my wardrobe is camo – but I do believe in doing what I can to make things a little easier on our planet.

I will have to, at some point, trade in that big diesel burner I drive – but it was a necessity in my past life and I can’t afford to part with it quite yet – the book value is about $12 and I doubt that I can buy a hybrid (even a used hybrid) in that price range yet.

So instead I make a difference in other ways. One of our vices is a swimming pool that came with the house we bought. One of the biggest costs of running the pool was getting it up to a temperature that everyone in the family thought was appropriate – somewhere between poaching eggs and boiling lobsters – and although I am more of the luke warm type of guy, I was overruled and we paid the piper in terms of a large gas bill.

A cursory exam of solar systems led me to believe that not only could we cut down on the greenhouse gases, we could also cut down on our expenses and I set about researching systems that would work for us. I shied away from plastic components as I knew they would not weather well in the sun and was worried about the freeze and thaw cycles of Kamloops. I settled on glass vacuum tubes that were relatively inexpensive and could be installed without a lot of fuss or muss.

I tracked down a dealer in Kelowna Okanagan Home Center – and was quickly a fan of the proprietors Dave and Cheryl Kelly (email: okanaganhomecenter@shaw.ca). Dave and Cheryl are good people to deal with and seem truly concerned about your satisfaction as a customer. They are committed to the solar industry and have tons of experience with pools and spas and had lots of good advice for a neophyte plumber such as myself.

It took me only two days to construct all of the panels (there is of course – some assembly required) and to plumb them into my water system. The system is incredibly efficient. I will post a video of how you can take water at about 10 degrees Celsius and raise it to the boiling point in about 35 minutes. Because ours is a large pool and we are high on the mountain where the nights get cool we need a fair number of solar panels to get the pool up to the temperature we want. Right now I have 5 panels and will probably add another 2 to get us into that slow boil range that is so soothing on old bones. Homes in the valley would probably get away with about 2/3rds of the panels that I need.

Check out the WSE Technologies website – that’s where the stuff comes from and then give Dave or Kelly a call and they can get it out here before you can say “Al Gore was right”.

One thought on “Let the sun shine!”

  1. Way to go on the solar heating,Frank & Raven. I don't run a pool but I think it's a great way to go. And the moose-feeding photo………………..priceless!
    Rob Hunter

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