Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Hot water from sunshine :-)

Oh joy!

Compost Mansions has a new addition! Its up, on the S E ish face of the(newly tiled) roof !

Compostman starting to carry tubes up the scaffolding yesterday afternoon

Work partly done, yesterday afternoon. Heavy rain called a halt to proceedings yesterday

But the tubes were still getting the water to a respectable temperature this morning with only half of them installed...

Late this morning and all tubes are plugged in and working.

So the temperature of the water in the tubes rose...

And rose....we have NOT had a very sunny day here today, it has been warm but not hot, and overcast at times. BUT by 4.30 pm it was blooming hot in those tubes! 49 celsius!

Can I just say here that Compostman is an absolute STAR for installing this system, he has worked really hard these last few weeks to get all the parts together and install it and I love him very much indeed.

oooohh I can't wait to have a shower :-)


  1. Congratulations! I am very envious. Well done Compostman.

  2. how exciting. I hope it works perfect.

  3. Wo, that is GREAT! How is your girl?

  4. He seriously is a star for doing that.

    Funnily enough I'm just reading "Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air," by David JC MacKay. I noticed in there, that if you are going to use solar power, then domestically, your option seems to be the best one. You'll even be able to have a bath now after digging, and not feel guilty.

    Good to see you posting again too.

  5. Oh wow wow!!! thats marvelous you lucky things!! am envious too lol!
    Hope you are all on the mend now,if not all those hot showers will soon pep you up ay?
    GTM x xx

  6. Wonderful CW... I think solar paneling is brilliant and already you are reaping the rewards!! Clever Mr CW who obviously does not mind heights either (trembling at the though!!!)
    So very glad CG is on the mend... was becoming very concerned for you and of course CG!
    I hope CG enjoys the next three days at school and you can now begin to relax after such a trying and difficult time!!
    You are in my thoughts!!
    Much Love, Jane xxx

  7. Okay, so I am excited for you, but a little confused.

    Is there water in the tubes? And where does the water come from? Or are the tubes an alternative to solar panels? Can you explain more here in the states I am a bit lost as to what this about. Some form of solar water heating, but that's about it. I would like to know the how (and the what).


    PS Glad to hear CG is on the mend.

  8. There is water in the tubes, which are like giant va ccumn flasks . This water gets heated by sunlight and goes off to a heat exchanger coil inside the hot water tank in the house. The tank also has a coil from the oil boiler and the electric immersion heater.

    When the solar thermal tubes produce enough hot water, the water in the tank is heated up by that alone and the oil boiler doesn't come on.

    BUT even if the solar thermal tubes aren't making ALL the hot water they are helping to raise the temp of the water in the hot tank, so the oil boiler has less to do and so uses less oil to get the water in the tank up to the set temp.

    At the moment we are getting hot water for free :-) but we need to rejig our consumption times to coincide with when the solar hot water is produced...so showers in the middle of the day and running appliances during the day, so the tank can be re heated by sunshine...rather than showering last thing at night so the tank is then heated next morning using oil...that sort of thing!

    But this is only Day 1, so we have a lot of experimenting/playing around to do with it yet... :-)

    But thats what Cm and I used to do at work....scientific experiments!


    Hope this has clarified things a bit for you?

    And yes, Cg is much improved..still a bit wobbly but much better.

  9. What an absolute gem you have there in Compostman. Well done him.


  10. Fantastic news - I'm so jealous!

    Hope all is well at Compost Mansions.

  11. Just had a solar shower :-)

    despite it being dull and overcast here, we have used no oil the last 2 days for hot water....


    Cg still being "difficult" though...(sigh)

  12. I have just shown my other half this and he was suitably impressed. He's been waxing lyrical lately about solar power panels, so this got his attention!

    GOOD WORK Compostman! Hope you enjoyed that shower, hope Compostman has had a good long (hot) soak after all that work too!!!

  13. Congrats on a project well-done!

    I'm envious with the green-ness of it all. (:

    We rent our home, so I was pleased just to get the place better insulated, and to put up "solar curtains" in the bedroom to keep our power bill manageable.

    Seeing real people install real solar gives me hope that I'll be able to do that in my own home one day.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Hi Sarah
    Congratulations on getting the solar water heating installed. My DH installed ours a few months ago; I got my quartely gas bill yesterday, and it was A THIRD of what it was for the same quarter last year (we have Gas central Heating - which hasn't been on this quarter - and a gas hob which we use a lot because we do a lot of preserving. The saving's all down to the "free" hot water!
    I also wanted to let you know that the Dorkings are settling in well. We tried them on pasta today, they loved it!


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.