Living An Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Free Heat From the Sun - Solar Air Heaters

Although my house wouldn't benefit from this design, I found this video very informative.  It's a homemade solar heating panel designed by a Montana man named Gary Reysa.

Not only does it look great on his house, it's performance is very efficient.  No moving parts, no power usage, just free heat.  And it only cost him about $350 to make.

 




An interesting fact that was pointed out in the video is that the solar heater works great in the winter, but is pretty much dormant in the summer due to the sun being at a higher angle and not hitting the panels in summer months.



Solar Air Heater Diagram
Photo Courtesy: MotherEarthNews.com
There are an abundance of DIY tutorials across the web ranging from very simple to extremely complex.  Though each design may be different, they all operate in the same manner.   The solar energy is collected inside the collector via a dark (usually black) background.  Through a process called thermosyphon, the air warms and rises pulling cool air in from the bottom as the warm air escapes the top.  The cool air then rises as it heats and the process continues.

In more advanced setups, a low powered fan can be utilized to force cool air in or pull the warm air out.  I've even seen some connect to a thermostat so it only forces the air through when temperatures inside the collector reach a certain point.  This would shut the system off in the overnight hours so you're not circulating cold air.

For those of you who have a south facing wall that gets full sunlight in the winter, this would be a great opportunity to utilize the solar energy to help reduce your heating costs in the winter.

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