Solar oven; Earth (cob) oven

Q. We want to make a solar oven and install solar water heating on our house.
What is recommended for good water heating system here in SoCal?  We have
the ideal roof for it:  easy slope, facing south by south-southwest, no
obstructions.

On the solar oven, did you make an oven like the one pictured?

Are you using it?

What temperature does it reach most days?

What other models did you try out?

Why use the cobb all around the oven – does it retain heat?

Have you tried all-reflective surfaces instead of black and insulated?
Ours up north was a stainless sink (no fittings or attachments) sitting on
a stainless tray with a 2 inch lip all around that kept it out of contact
with the ground.  Reflected and radiated heat from the tray onto the
outside of the steel sink combined with the light entering the sink
through its clear plastic cover.  In our experience, unpainted metal
surfaces, even corrugated metal, get far hotter than any painted surface,
including black.  Sadly, we never measured the heat inside our oven, but
it would boil water most days.  We made a gallon of wild herb tea every
day, let it cool outside overnight, put it in the fridge every morning.
We also boosted our outdoor water tank’s heating capability by surrounding
it with a “closet” of clear plastic with corrugated metal roof, which got
about 100 degrees inside.

A. We did look into solar heating systems, but are still undecided which path
we want to take on this.  Right now we are leaning towards wood cooking
stove that has water heating tank capacity.

> On the solar oven, did you make an oven like the one pictured?

We did build the solar oven if you are talking about the one shown in the
pictures on the photo gallery “solar” folder
http://pathtofreedom.com/photogallery/

> Are you using it?

The homebuilt one is great, and we’ve cooked many things in it. Right now the guys
are putting on new reflectors so I am using one that we bought called “Solar
Sport Sun Oven.”

> What temperature does it reach most days?

Our sun ovens can reach upwards of 350 degrees on these summer days.  I
recommend you visiting http://solarcooking.org/default.htm  they have loads
of plans and information.

> What other models did you try out?

You can check out our “old” site for details
http://www.pathtofreedom.com/pathproject/offthegrid/solaroven.shtml
We are working on revamping this page along with all the projects and steps
we have taken (last time I counted it was over 80 pages); however, we’ve
been so busy we’ve been unable to launch “Part Two” of the website.

> Why use the cobb all around the oven – does it retain heat?

Our cob/earthen oven is completely separate oven. The earthen oven is fueled
with scrap and reclaimed wood.
see http://www.pathtofreedom.com/photogallery click “cob”

> Have you tried all-reflective surfaces instead of black and insulated?

Yes, our homebuilt solar oven has upside down metal cookie sheets for the
interior of the oven.

> I couldn’t get the English version of your instructions to open, but read
> it in French.

You must mean the Cob/Solar oven link on our journal page.  This is just a
link that we wanted to share, we haven’t built one of those yet.

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