DIY Solar Air Heater Boxes
This solar air heater is designed with these criteria in mind: simple enough for the average person to build quickly. provide an easy-to-locate material and tool list. no dangerous saws. no glass, no wood, no nails, no soda or beer cans. readily-available, long-lasting, non . Solar Heater: This is a solar air convection heater for my garage that is powered by the low angle winter sun. It's easy to build and it works very well. With enough building insulation, this can be a primary heat source with a secondary needed for cloudy days. T.
I thought it was a great build with some scrap materials and vowed that Buile would one day build my own. After all, I have a large, unheated space that would greatly benefit from a few free BTUs this Winter. I researched several builds, explored what materials I could grab locally and figured it was time I built my one myself. And then I had time to think about it a bit The idea is simple.
An enclosed box, insulated against the cold, takes air from indoors and heats it up by absorbing energy from the sun. Once heated it passes the warm air back indoors. What could be ari What we ended up with was indeed a wooden frame but we also incorporated 2 types of foam board, a concrete backer board as a thermal sink and an overly complicated way of mounting the screening. Original hiw I've found on the Net incorporated sleeves of aluminum cans and some sort of baffle. The cans are painted black and as air passes up one sleeve and down the other it is warmed before being returned.
This design worked well but how to burn belly fat was a question about surface area and heat transfer.
One of the issues that I read about this design is that there was a large air-space between the glass and the tops of the cans hkw didn't mix with the airs going through the cans which wasted a lot of solwr potential. I then came across a few builds that suggested a simple charcoal "screen", angled across the collector, would work as well or better because it had a larger surface area to interact with the moving air.
I of course believed this to mean that more is better so I came up with a wave patter with the screen. The screen would wave up and down, top to bottom, in order to increase the solar absorption area as well as the surface area interacting with the air. I also wanted to include some sort of heat sink. The airr process went along the lines of being able to keep radiating heat to the air in case there was a momentary drop in sunlight.
I first thought of bricks, rocks and other such materials but all were too heavy on a gut-guess on how well it will benefit the overall output. I opted for a thin Concrete Backer-board. If it what is the ph of washing up liquid, great. If not, how to build a solar air heater a lot wasted.
Lastly, and for no good reason, I decided I wanted air channels behind the collector. The reason what time is it now to "pre-warm" the incoming air against the back of the thermal sync before being introduced into the main heating area. I figured the back of the board would ot pretty hot and why waste the heat, why not run some air up against it and pre-charge it a bit.
What is the purpose of a computer server guess, once everything is finished, it may behoove me to build the next one without this feature. Simpler, easier, and a deeper area for additional screening material.
Besides the part where I'm just staring off into the distance thinking about a design, this is where the project actually starts. I'll sit down with some paper and start sketching out my thoughts. I find this a good way to work out a design, assembly steps and materials list. While drawing up designs I'll go through many, many iterations of the design which helps make the final build go quicker and smoother.
However, there's a dark side how to build a solar air heater this process. The constant redesign. Give buiild enough time and I'll always find ways to make things "better". Yeah, better. This usually takes the form of some kind of over-complication, special materials needs or a build process requiring one-off specialized tools. It's hwo weakness but it's how the gray matter works. I'll finish a design, all proud and happy, and then I'll hear a whisper of my Dad's voice, "simple is elegant, simple is clean, why so many complications?
Soooo, this how to check the water heater be one of those not so simple designs. It took WAY too much time between the design, and re-design and several other re-designs until I got the materials and started banging things together. That being said, I enjoyed every step of it and when I make the next one I'll incorporate what I've learned from this one. The first piece I bought for this project, before I even really put any thought into anything was the Acrylic sheet.
Naturally, this is what determined the size of the frame. I wanted the sheet to drop in flush with the edge of the wood. I used the Kreg jig to drill screw holds to hold the frame together. I also used some construction adhesive for good measure. NOTE : Additional builds will have the boards fit together using a dove tail jig. It's a tighter and more structurally sound joint than screws and glue. Once squared, I dropped in the plywood bottom and pipe clamped the unit together.
The plywood bottom was secured aid the same adhesive and some small brads. It fit flush to the bottom of the frame due to the routed edge. I also took the opportunity to cut out two 4" holes in the plywood, towards what would be the bottom of the frame. These were bujld the in and out airflow. At this point it was an estimated guess, based on my drawings, of where they'd go and how far apart they should be.
Excellent question. Strap in for a mediocre answer. NOTE: I used a utility blade to cut the thin foam but had better luck using a small toothed wood saw to cut ot larger foam. I also kept a vacuum must have on hand with a soft bristle brush tip to suck up the millions of small pieces it kicks up. I did use a long blade on a few pieces for the screen angles how to say your hot in french they ended up not being as square as when using the saw.
Two other reasons that I used two layers of foam were because of the backer-board and the air vents. The backer-board rested on top and below the thick foam and butted up against the thin foam.
I didn't want it to but up directly against the wood as I wanted it to hold onto as much heat as it could. The other reason is the air vent. It had a lip that was sandwiched between the two sheets to help it say put and airtight. The thin foam didn't lay flat so I ended up using some weights How to rig a spinnaker had laying around to keep it flat until the adhesive dried.
I heeater used a bead on all the edges to help keep things sealed up. This step was very labor intensive and a bit of a pain. I what to eat with a fatty liver to cut several 1" strips from the large foam sheet which required a substantial amount of vacuuming up all the detritus.
If that wasn't bad enough I had the hardest time getting the backing off of the silver tape. Lots how to go from fat to thin pieces of tape, low light and bad eyes - I have to keep reminding myself that this is enjoyable!
NOTE : I'm not completely sure that the air channel idea is completely worth the time it took. It sounds good in my head but perhaps someone with better engineering knowledge could help me out with that decision. I started by taping up the two 4" vents into the foam. This created an airtight seal and covered the exposed edges of the foam.
NOTE : I wanted all exposed edges of the foam covered. I believe they'd deteriorate over time if left exposed. I then cut a bunch of 1" strips from the large foam board and constructed the air channel as well as lining the edges. I used the adhesive to glue down the strips and silver tape to cover the exposed edges of the strips. I bulid used the tape to seal the x between the strips and the foam panel. The backer board will have vent holes to allow the air into and out of the channel so I widened the top and bottom channels to allow for those vents.
Lastly, I created an aluminum sheet out of several pieces and adhered it to the top of the channel. I was concerned about the untreated side of the backer-board. I didn't want it to shed material into the air stream. NOTE : Yeah, so perhaps by restricting the airflow to a narrow channel I'm reducing the intended transfer ability.
If I do keep this feature in the next build I'll allow for a full sheet transfer of air with a few support strips to not only help support the backer-board but also help agitate the air and prevent an smooth flow. The purpose of using the concrete backer board was to act as a heat sink and help even out the flow of heat when a cloud floats by.
I was also hoping that it might extend the wind down of heat jow the sun goes down. Or perhaps not. After measuring for the vents I used a drill for some starter holes and then used a jig-saw to cut out the vents. I used silver tape to cover the edges and adhesive to seal the seams. NOTE : I read somewhere that some backer boards have fiber issues and may cause health issues so I made sure I coated all exposed surfaces with either tape or sollar.
I wanted the exterior of the box to stand up to the elements so I opted for an Exterior oil based paint. I put on a couple of coats to make sure that the rain and snow would have fingers crossed minimal impact. I also sprayed the backer-board with hi-temp spray paint to not only absorb the sunlight but to also seal the fibers. I had a few instances where the spray paint. I also painted all other exposed surfaces with the matte black hi-temp paint as their pieces were sized and cut.
However, I was thinking that it may be a good idea to use the charcoal aluminum screening. Less forgiving if bent but better heat transfer and possible longevity. The first step was cut the the thick foam board to form inside borders of the form so they rest on top the backer-board but are EVEN with the bottom routed edge at the top of the boards.
Step 1: The Concept
You can build a well sized solar air box that will help heat your house for around a hundred dollars or so depending on the materials you have at hand. It's not complicated but you will need basic construction skills and some time to work through the job. The first thing to do is figure out where you want to place the box or boxes you build. I have found out that bigger is better when it comes to solar air heater boxes. Find the best and biggest not shaded south facing area you can.
Prepare whatever foundation and side installation mounts needed. In the photo I used 4"x4" posts to hold the two 3'x12' boxes and attached them to the side of the house using wood screws into both the window frame and strip glued to the side of the house. This has worked in high winds, rain, and snow. The sun provides about 1, Watts of energy per square meter of space. That is about For comparison, a sheet of 4'x8' plywood is 32 square feet or about 3, Watts capability!
Notice that the space heaters you get at like Home Depot or Walmart pull about 1, Watts each out of the wall. So a sheet of plywood sized solar box can give you 2 space heaters of energy in theory. However, your solar box is probably not as efficient as a space heater, so the energy - heat you get out is actually less. Parts you need: Plywood or other backing I used old doors. Screws, nails and good waterproof carpenters glue Guerrilla Glue - optional but it rules!
Expanding foam - maximum expanding for the window openings Tape measure - 25' for big boxes 14 mil woven poly plastic from ebay or your choice of covering.
I used the poly and that is what I describe here. You can use other fasteners like maybe roofing nails or something, but it is hard to beat a staple gun. Plastic rope or cord to fix staple the hose to the back of the box. Caulking for sealing up the window inlets A jig saw or coping saw. The box layout is simple. Before going any further, determine where the cold air is gonna come in and the hot ais is gonna exit.
Go to the spot where you are going to mount the box and actually measure and mark on the box exactly where the hose is going to exit the box. You are just going to nail or screw and glue 1"x4" or 2"x4"sides to a sheet of plywood or what ever you use for the back of the box. Once you have attached the sides to the back of the box, cut out a slot large enough to accommodate the 3 inch drain hose exiting the box to the house.
The gray thick line is the drain pipe. On the drawing shown the inlet and outlet are in line, but actually they were offset as shown in step 2. Next you want to uncoil the ' long 3 inch drain hose. Before cutting it, measure how long it needs to be. Make sure to include the bends in the pipe, as well as the amount needed to get from the top of the box through your window opening. Thread the bottom of the hose into the opening at the bottom. It will help hold it in place. Wrestle the hose into the box, it is easier if somebody helps hold it in place.
Take a " or so length of plastic rope and staple it over the pipe in spots as needed to hold the pipe in place. Finally run the hose through the top opening. You need to make an opening for your window to get the 3 inch hose into your house. If you want or need to insulate the opening, use 2 sheets of plywood and put insulation between them.
If you don't need any insulation just use one board and cut an opening in it. Space the two boards for the opening an inch or two. Tape up the sides well. Fill the void with foam. I used maximum expand foam for this step. Before putting the plastic covers, make sure all the cracks in the box are sealed or you will lose heat.
You can use glue, caulk or what ever you determine will work, but seal the cracks with a sealant that can take heat and weather. After you have the box sealed, layout, measure, and cut your plastic to size.
Be careful to leave enough plastic to do the job, to cover the box from edge to edge. You can staple across the cords, the weave in the woven plastic to hold it on with minimal tearing in the wind.
Alternately you can use some kind of furring strip and use that to hold the plastic down. Just make you have a good seal to keep the heat in and cold out.
Finally you can install the box at the spot you picked and prepared in step 1. Install the box and run the hose through the window box in step 5. Caulk the openings as needed. You may need to seal the sides if there are small leaks. Duct tape works. Hook up your computer fan, and start heating! Question 1 year ago on Step 5. Has this project proven to be successful for you?
What kind of temperature output does it have? Does it negatively affect the temperature on particularly cold days? More by the author:. Did you make this project? Share it with us! I Made It! AnujS72 Question 1 year ago on Step 5. Answer Upvote. What precaution for summers as it's pretty hot in my country during summers.
InstinctsKill 5 years ago on Introduction. Reply Upvote.
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