Why It’s Good to Have a Dad When You’re Building a Solar Batch Water Heater

Dads really come in handy. Maybe especially my dad.

I’m building a solar batch water heater for my trailer. Where did I get that idea? My dad. He’s built two:

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One for the house

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And one for the bathhouse

Where did I get the tank? My dad. He saves stuff that he finds which just might be useful someday. This habit has its pros and cons, of course, but I’d put him just on this side of the line between saver and hoarder. He heard I wanted to build a solar batch water heater and had “just the thing,” pulled out of an old water heater or something.

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Tank

The design, of course, is mostly my dad’s with a few of my own (primarily the over-engineering) and the internet’s (black, not reflective, box).

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The white and grey are just primer. The inside will be black and the outside will be a color of Reanna’s choosing.

The major stumbling block so far has been pulling the square-head plugs out of the tank. My wrenches were just rounding the corners. I’d been scouring the internet for a week for a 15/16″ square offset wrench, my best guess for solving the problem, but apparently which you just can’t get anymore. The solution? Ask my dad. “You need a big pipe wrench. I’ve got one in the bottom drawer of my tool box.” He not only had the wrench, but knew how to use it, and the plug was out in a minute or two.

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Dad with pipe wrench

My dad is a commercial photographer, sound engineer, and musician. Where did he learn plumbing? I don’t know, but he did say that he got that pipe wrench from his own dad in the 60s.

[First published on Nathen’s Miraculous Escape, July 21, 2013]

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