With winter comes increased utility bills for the home. Have you ever considered adding a source of supplemental heating to help decrease the cost of running your furnace through the winter months? Here, you will learn how to make yourself a solar space heater that is powered by the sunlight that shines through your windows.
Step 1: Choose the Location for the Solar Collector
The best place to position the solar collector is in a window that faces south and is not obstructed by trees. You want to place the collector in an area that will receive the most sunlight possible during the short winter days.
Step 2: Build a Wooden Box
Purchase enough wood to build a box that is large enough to hold 80 soda cans. The cans will be positioned in 10 rows with 8 cans placed top to bottom in each row. The height of the box should be no less than 2 inches higher than the top of the cans and the width should also allow for 2 inches of space around the edges.
Cut a 2-inch hole on the bottom of the wooden box to allow cool air to enter the box. The cool air will then be heated and dispersed into your home. Drill one more 2-inch hole at the top of the box, connect a piece of 2-inch PVC pipe and seal the edges with caulk or heat resistant sealant. This pipe will disperse the heat.
Seal the box with silicone caulk or heat resistant sealant, spray it with primer and then finish with flat black paint.
Step 3: Prepare the Cans
Use a small drill bit to drill a small hole into the bottom of each can. Do your best to position the holes in directly over the mouth opening of the can so that as the cool air is turned into warm air, it can rise into the can above easily.
Paint each can with a coat of primer finished with a coat of flat black paint. The black paint will help the cans absorb more heat from the sun and make the unit more useful and effective in making heat for your home.
Use heat resistant sealant to connect 8 cans to each other top to bottom lining up the holes that you drilled into them with the mouth openings.
Step 4: Put it All Together
Glue the 10 rows of 8 cans into the box side by side leaving two inches at each side, top and bottom. Cover the box with a piece of acrylic sheeting and seal up the edges using the heat resistant sealant or silicone caulk.
Step 5: Position the Box
Place the box in the area where the sun enters your home directly. Soon after, you will be able to feel the heat coming from the PVC tubing at the top of the box.
This is not a method of substituting for your furnace, but it can help keep your home a little warmer without putting so much strain on your furnace. Talk with a heating technician like Wightman Mechanical to learn more ways to reduce the strain on your heating system and lower your heating costs.