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RockyG666 63M
1746 posts
10/16/2013 7:36 am

Last Read:
10/18/2013 9:14 am

solar heat

i did a paper about homemade solar solutions when i was in college the first time (in the 80s), and i read about a tin can solar heater some farmer used for his barn. i always had that idea in the back of my mind, and i got to thinking that solar heat would work for the garage and the 'addition' so i looked it up on the web. there is a thing now they are calling a solar furnace that is basically pop cans stacked in rows and painted black, that is an updated version of the farmer's barn heater.

i have been saving pop cans for a year or so. i have 3 50 gallon garbage bags of them. i was planning on making a big furnace on the roof because i only have a 3 x 3 hatch to get up there, but i decided to start with a small one that i will fit thru the hatch. that way i can make it in my garage on my own time.

the downside of the concept is that there is really no way to regulate when you get heat and when you don't. for starters, it will only work when the sun is out. the upside is that it is entirely free heat and mostly free to make. the biggest expense is the plexiglass cover, and i am still hunting for some used and cheap. that is the last thing that goes on.

i am hoping that the heat that i do get during the day will reduce the amount of gas heat that i use. i am just going to start with the garage and the back, which doesn't get heat anyways, so anything will be an improvement. i am guessing that keeping that area warm durning the day will keep more heat in the house too, and that things will stay warmer over all during the night.

i hope to build one for the church section of the 'compound.' there is no real heat in there. i have ONE vent that i stole from the house furnace and it pumps a little hot air in. i use an electric heater on the stage, and between the two the church is comfortable. i am thinking that if the church is warmed during the day via a solar heater, that it will be that much easier to keep warm at night. when i open up on a friday night in the winter the place is freezing after having been isolated all week. i don't turn on the electric heater or open the one vent until friday, it doesn't make sense to heat while nobody is there.


RockyG666 63M
1357 posts
10/16/2013 3:00 pm

pete, google it, there are more instructions on the web than i could give you. i am kind of pooling peoples' ideas on it, and making a simple one (like in the pic) first.

most of the people that have websites telling how to make them have started small and improved on them as they went. i also saw instructions on how to use your existing gutter pipes to generate simalar solar heat.

i want to raise a part of my roof to do a dormer, and i would like to build the can concept into the resulting wall.


RockyG666 63M
1357 posts
10/17/2013 9:02 am

plexiglass, or acrylic sheeting, gets a little expensive. you can use regular window glass, but they advise using something less breakable because you have to tilt it into the sun and it is more vunerable to hail or other stuff that can break it. but in a pinch, glass will work if there is nothing too tough slamming into it.

then, it is just maybe 2 eight foot 2 x 4's and a 2 x 6 or so piece of plywood. and a lotta empty pop cans. oh, and some black spray paint and caulk. then you need some sort of hose into the house.

a fan would be nice. with a themostat if you want to get fancy, so that it only turns on when there is enough heat waiting and turns off at a certain temperature inside. but it isn't necessary. it is supposed to just kind of waft warm air through it.

i guess you have to make sure that the exit path is at least a little higher than the furnace for no fan. heat rises. sometimes they just set these up in the yard pointing south next to the house and pipe them in through a window or other openings. i have seen them made to sit next to a window attached to the house.


RockyG666 63M
1357 posts
10/17/2013 9:08 am

florida can get cold in the winter. i have seen snow in fort lauderdale. the idea is it is basically free heat. maybe tops $100 bucks in parts if you get the good stuff, and then it is free forever. on a day when it is 50s or 60s but the sun is shining, it will push some warm air into the house for free.


RockyG666 63M
1357 posts
10/18/2013 9:14 am

freee: yeah, the farmer thing i originally saw used rocks in a hole to try to store heat.

petey: you can always send money to god's garage, we are a not for profit, and qualify as charity on your taxes. i don't think though there is a way to buy a solar heater, they have to be made by hand.

i was in spanish chat all night last night. there were 100s of mexicans there, i guess it was some sort of festival. i think i fell in love with a little seniorita