Thursday, September 5, 2013

Spring Abundance: Two winters with a solar geyser

We're just finishing our second winter with a solar geyser, and spring never felt better than a hot shower.

We are a little unusual in that we don't use the backup electricity to heat up our geyser. While the geyser/water heater is great, the backup element is inefficient so in winter when the sun is low... well... we don't have too much hot water. This isn't such a big deal after two winters. We adjusted.

I'm ok with the fact that the solar geyser has presented us with natural limitations on our hot water use. We shower less when it's colder, and we stagger our hot water use at other times of the year. But it feels lovely to have hot water. We know spring is coming and with it, trips to the beach, visits from friends from far away, and a new rhythm.

Our sense of abundance includes other things: we bought a new camera!:


Sadly, our neighbours are moving to the U.S. But with their move- the inverse of ours- we received many strange and wonderful gifts of stuff they decided not to ship. A coffee table, a rug, a tree, and lots of other stuff we can pass on.We also got some flowers, which I discovered work really well as paintbrushes for the kids:




Extra picture.

6 comments:

Tanyth said...

What a wonderful idea to paint with flowers! I think I'm going to try it.

Jo Hunter Adams said...

Thanks Tanyth! I really liked that even Eli felt like he could make something beautiful.

Jo Hunter Adams said...

Also, I'd love to see pictures of your creations when you try it!

D said...

Hey, just stumbled across your blog. I've been involved in sustainable tech through work, often in off-grid situations. Not sure what your setup is, but if you angle your solar collector to approx 45degrees from horizontal, it will greatly extend the useful heat gain into colder months in Cape Town, as low winter sun will be be closer to perpendicular to collector. Summer gain should still be more than adequate. Most installers place collectors at roof pitch of 30 degrees or lower, which will improve theoretical solar gain over entire year, but will actually usually result in excess hot water in summer and little in winter.

Jo Hunter Adams said...

thanks very much D. I think our solar geyser has a relatively steep pitch (closer to 45 degrees) because we are in a very old two story semi in Obs. Which may be why we're able to never switch on the electric backup, because even in winter if there's a couple hours of sun we're able to get at least one hot shower.

I'd be interested to hear more about the off-grid contexts, as we're dreaming of one day building an earthship outside of Cape Town...

Tanyth said...

Most definitely - I'll send pics through!