Hacked Gadgets Forum

February 7, 2008

DIY Solar Refrigerator Water Heater

at 11:29 am. Filed under Crazy Hacks, What Were They Thinking


With millions of people’s wallets being drained by household appliances and heating/cooling, energy saving mods are very popular these days. Mother Earth News .com and Miles Free elaborated with each other to develop a cheap but very awesome household mod.


"So the boys pulled the liner out of the Hotpoint’s door and replaced it with the heat exchanger. Then a couple of holes were drilled through one end of the door and a couple of pieces of scrap copper tubing (also scavenged from the refrigerator) were used to extend the exchanger’s coils through the insulated wall. (It was exceptionally easy to slip the recycled 3/8-inch tubing right over the ends of the 1/4-inch plumbing and solder the "splice" into a watertight junction.)

Next, six holes were drilled through both the exchanger plate and the "back" of the collector box (actually, through the main body of the old refrigerator door) and the two were fastened together with stove bolts. Some odd pieces of cardboard were then used to cover the insulation that was still exposed around the "rim" of the exchanger (this was done purely for appearances), and the heat exchanger and its surrounding paperboard trim were all painted flat black.

Finally, two pieces of glass were cut to fit as a "top" for the collector box. The panes were mounted just under the old door’s rubber gasket (how’s that for having just what you want just where you want it?) and seated in place on a bead of silicone caulking."


Link: Mother Eath News


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10 Responses to “DIY Solar Refrigerator Water Heater”

  1. BigD145 Says:

    That’s one way to do it. Pretty much anyone can find a free fridge in their city by checking Craigslist or Freecycle.

  2. Tom Says:

    Mother Earth News .com and Miles Free elaborated with each other

    Do you mean colaborated?

  3. servant74 Says:

    Just wish they could make a solar refrigerator. Heating water is good, but
    making keeping my stuff cool in the summer is much more of a challenge.

  4. Laura Says:

    Patrick Servello,

    Thank you for mentioning us on your Web site! We’re happy you enjoy Mother Earth News.

    Loved the post about energy saving mods. We’re glad we could help.

    Laura Evers
    Mother Earth News

    Check out this link to our Web site for more “Do It Yourself” projects!

  5. Hot Water Heater Says:

    Nice idea! I would try making one too. lol

  6. kay wong Says:

    good day!!!! I’d like to inquire about solar freezers sizes and prices.

  7. Total Solar Energy Says:

    neat idea. just goes to show that solar power doesn’t have to cost a load of money.

  8. Pat Says:

    Why not a solar fridge? My motorhome fridge runs on heat from propane, so heat can make cold.

  9. Jack Says:

    It can be done. But the task is a bit more convoluted than doing a water heater.
    Even the ones for a motor home typically run on an ‘ammonia cycle’. Yes, like
    household cleaning ammonia but more concentrated. The ammonia gas getting out
    can be a significant health hazard (i.e. death – no, I am not exaggerating). Even
    the pro’s (professional HVAC and Refrigeration folks) treat it with a lot of
    respect for the health of themselves and their customers.

    Ammonia cycle has been used for over a century to have refrigeration at places
    that don’t have cold both for making ice (like old-time ice houses that were to
    far south to stockpile river/lake ice during the winter) and even movie theaters.
    In many places movies were the first places the public found refrigerated air
    conditioning. I am talking late 1800’s and early 1900’s period.


    It can be done, but currently an ammonia absorption cooler is a VERY sophisticated
    DIY project. Not one to be taken on lightly.

  10. Construccion de calentadores con materiales reciclados « Soloelectronicos Says:

    […] en Hack Gadget este esquema sobre un intercambiador solar que hace la función de calentador de […]

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