Question of the week… How many gallons of hot water does the average family of four use each day?
Answer: Each day the average family uses 67 gallons of hot water. That is 469 gallons per week, or 2031 gallons per month and an whopping 24,455 gallons per year. That my friends is a whole lot of hot water to heat.
Have you considered what you might do for hot water when SHTF? Have you ever seen those camp showers? The ones with a roughly 3-5 gallon bag you fill and lay out in the sun for a late day shower. Can you think on a larger scale? How about saving some money on utilities by doing some of these things now? We have talked about lots of things on this blog and on my show. So let’s give it a real look shall we?
There are multiple ways to get hot water that do not require a person to utilize the utility companies. Some of them are basic, like on top of the wood stove or over an open flame. Using your generator to power a heat source or even propane. But generator fuel runs out and so does propane. Heating water in a pot over a flame limits the amount of water you can heat so now what?
Lets look at two other ways to get hot water.
- Solar Hot Water
- Passive – Utilizes no pump to move the water
- Active – Utilizes a pump to move the water
- wood stove conversion
- Copper coil (either passive or active) a great article on this at Solar Homestead.
An example of a passive solar hot water system can be found in my Book. But, let’s have a closer look at this… What exactly is meant by “passive” solar hot water? Passive means that there is no pump to force the hot water through the system. The water either moves by convection or transference. Heat rises, and the process of convection forces the hot water to rise, consequently, moving the water through the system. Transference is simply usage. When we drain the system for usage (speaking here of something like gravity fed systems) we transfer the hot water out and replace it with water needing to be heated. There are many great examples of passive systems and many are DIY and fairly inexpensive to construct.
What is meant by “active” solar hot water? This like our passive system is similar only it uses a pump of some kind to move the water. For this article we won’t go into detail on this because we are speaking of off grid systems. While you can use a 12 volt pump or a means to power the pump, this we will touch on another day.
This is a means of heating water by running it through copper tubes either in the firebox or stove pipe.
In this situation imagine if you will boiling hot water for cooking, tea, coffee or hot chocolate readily available. I like this idea
**Disclaimer…This can be very dangerous and you should be sure to adhere to all safety measures when using such a system. Here I simply give you the ideas, it is up to you to make sure you utilize them safely.
Just a couple of ideas to supplement this post, some things to consider. running this hot water throughout the house to provide heat is just one of the other ways to make use of this. Think if you will of the old boiler systems, back in the day one might find a huge wood stove in the basement with pipes running to the old steam radiators. I used to love these as a child, I could sit on them and warm up. One can also create a wood fired hot tub. The applications are about as limitless as ones imagination, so go ahead and imagine.
Other ways to heat the water not really mentioned is to use a compost heating method. The composting of organic matter produces heat, you could run your tubes in your compost bin or even your composting toilet to offer enough hot water to wash your hands.
Finally, when considering the ways you can heat water that will cost little more than the initial investment it is important to consider the factors:
- What your hot water needs are.
- The climate you live in.
- Your initial investment allowance.
The factors can range as widely as there are people setting up systems, key is creating a system that is right for you and your family.