Solar Water Heating: Going Green One Step at a Time

Are you looking to go green, even a little bit? I’ve got some great solar water heating facts that may inspire you to make some changes along with us!

Summertime, and the living’s….hot. Here in the Inland Empire of Southern California, we’re far enough away from the beach to not really benefit from the bay breezes and too low in altitude for cooler mountain temps. This week, our average temperature has lowered to the mid-80s, which isn’t bad, but it still scorches the pavement. Sitting in the sun for long isn’t comfortable and everyone needs to work harder to rehydrate.  Pets need to stay indoors and gardens dry up fast.

DIY Projects and Going Green

In the last 14 months, we finished our new backyard landscaping project. It was one big DIY event where all the family pitched in. We turned a hill of dirt into a brick planter and entertaining space. We initially installed sod around our old and thriving orange tree, but it all died due to the slope and watering issues. Because of the cost to start over and continue to water the grass, we’ve decided to change it up. Next weekend, we’re starting the process to install artificial grass! Preserving our natural resources, like water and energy, is important. We want the planet that we pass onto our children and grandchildren to be a safe place to live.

DIY project

Artificial grass is a win-win, as the dogs will still have a place to potty and we only have to water the tree. We could have someone else do it for us, but the husband has already started the clearing. Next up is taking out about 4″ of dirt so the gravel under-layer can be installed. Several neighbors have gone for similar drought-friendly front yards, resulting in incentives and rebates, but for now, we’re sticking with just the back yard.

The planter we built is full of garden plants right now. We have over a dozen various squash plants, 10 tomato plants, eight pepper varieties and even a cucumber plant. The plants get a lot of sun so we use sheets to give them some shade but more importantly, we use a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation is cost-effective and keeps the dirt the right level of moist without wetting or burning the leaves. Have you ever looked at how easy it is to do?

drip irrigation system

Going Green With Solar Water Heating

Another easy way to go green is solar water heating. The systems work with your existing traditional water heater, or a tankless water heater, even at night or in inclement weather. Rebates can go as high as around $10k. That’s a lot of money back for a DIY project that saves you even more money in the long run and helps the planet overall. (To get the rebate, you have to attend a self-installer workshop or use a certified contractor.) Your rebate from the California Solar Initiative will depend on how much energy the solar water heating system is expected to displace annually, so you’ll want to inquire to be sure you’re using the right system for your home’s needs. Your contractor can also help you apply for the rebate, so ask questions to make sure you’re aware of the whole process.

Solar water heating doesn’t replace your water heater; it works with it, by preheating the water with the warmth of the sun so that your water heater uses less energy, ensuring you have hot water 24/7. Along the same principles as my drip irrigation system, solar water heating will help you reduce your energy use, lower your water-heating bill and make your house environmentally-friendly.

Check out the cool backpack that SoCalGas gave me! It is a solar energy panel designed to help me recharge my mobile devices. One hour of sun will provide a 30% charge! I’m out and about so much as a lifestyle and travel blogger, and I burn through my phone batteries quickly. To be able to recharge it so easily and still have the phone handy? Perfect! Being a football mom is reason enough alone to need it, so you can bet I’ll be carrying it around all year.

solar water heating

Other Ways to Go Green at Home

If DIY is your thing, you have so many options to make your house eco-friendly. Solar water heating and drip irrigation systems are just two. Canvas shades lower the temperatures around windows and extend your outdoors entertaining area. We installed solar lights today, a energy-friendly way to light our entry way. Less energy consumption and a more safely-lit front entry way. Growing your own food not only helps your grocery budget, but it can help make your diet more healthy and plants clean up the air around your home.

DIY projects aren’t just to save money and customize your home — we like them because we can do them as a family! We laugh now about the heavy lifting that the backyard took, and how the husband ended up doing most of it, but what memories! I wrote the name of every family member in our wall.  We also may have sprayed each other with a little dirt. If you’ve got the chance to undergo a project together, make it fun!

Let me know what you think about solar water heating and other ways to make the house more eco-friendly. (Drop your name below, I’d love to check out your blogs or social accounts if you’ve shared your DIY!)

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