GRAND RAPIDS, Minn., June 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- When Mike Swanson paid his bills each month, he kept thinking he could do more to save money. With no way to control the rising cost of energy, reducing the amount of energy that his family was using seemed to be the only way.
"We've been pinching pennies, turning down the thermostat, weather-proofing... the stuff most people do. But I started looking at the cost to heat my hot water, and researched how I could cut my expenses," said Swanson. "What I learned saves my family a lot of money. And it was simple and inexpensive to install."
Using materials purchased from the local hardware store and on the internet, Swanson, who is not a plumber by trade, built a domestic water heating system that is heated by the sun. The pre-heated water is returned to his hot water heater so the "traditional" system operates less often, using much less energy, and resulting in big savings for the family budget.
He's so enthusiastic about how well his idea works, he wrote a do-it-yourself guide for others to install a similar system on their own homes. While writing the guide, Swanson was thinking to himself that there had to be other families, here in the U.S and in other countries around the world, having the same concerns about energy bills as he was.
"This is for people who really want to take charge of their energy bills and who enjoy, or want to try, a simple DIY project," said Swanson. "I have to laugh, because it turned out to be a fun project. Watching the water heat up and my energy bills go down put a big smile on my face. It's a simple design. You just have to figure out how to make it work for your house," Swanson explained. "But I think it's easy enough that anyone anywhere can do this."
The system comes down during Minnesota's cold winter and goes back up in the spring. But in warmer climates, this domestic water heating system can be used much longer, or even year-round.
When Swanson first started researching solar heating for domestic hot water, he wanted four things: to save money, a simple design, a system that would pay for itself in a short period of time, and upfront affordability. After creating a system that fit all those criteria, he realized that with straight-forward guidelines, others could also benefit. He launched MNswan Technologies Corporation in 2010 to promote the instructional guides for his Energy Saving Systems, starting with the Simple Solar Water Heating System.
Alternative energy systems can be complicated and expensive. This can make these systems very intimidating. Getting a return on your investment can take a long time. MNswan Technologies creates Energy Saving Systems that are simple and affordable. Several other energy saving projects are in the works and will be available in 2011.
"We wanted to create an opportunity for everyone to tap into the potential of solar energy without spending an arm and a leg," said Swanson. "I think people really want to try alternative energy options, but the thought of trying something different can be overwhelming. This is an easy way to get started, and the best part is that the sun's energy is free."