solar heating

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Forum topic by thinker1 posted 03-17-2012 02:17 PM 1505 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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31 posts in 3911 days

03-17-2012 02:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have a question for you all. I was online looking for heat for the shop when I came across a solar panels made of popcans 2*4 plywood and glass. It looked like a free way to heat shop I am cheep for sure. The idea of it is that you use a shopvac to pull heat into the shop? I was thinking a bath fan so it would not pull cold air also. What is the feeling on this would it work or is it a wasteful idea?

-- happy wife great life!!!!!!

10 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11838 posts in 3933 days

#1 posted 03-17-2012 03:01 PM

Depends on the area you want to heat. Maybe two fans??
I’ve seen the arrangement you describe used for supplementary water heating. That unit was 12X6. I imagine it was that large to provide plenty of area for the copper piping…more pipe, more heated water.
I use a ProComm propane unit in my 24X36 shop. At $200, I couldn’t build anything that would give me the same heat. BUT, the propane is an ongoing expense.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2741 posts in 3426 days

#2 posted 03-17-2012 09:13 PM

I have thought of this but I do not want to get out and clean glass on the solar collector every so often. It would have to be very large to do much good, as will the duct and the fan.

-- No PHD just a DD214

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11838 posts in 3933 days

#3 posted 03-17-2012 10:09 PM

Just a thought. Jim jogged my brain. You’d really need some sort of a heat sink for storage. Most folks who do solar heat, use big skylites, and windows and let the sun warm cement floors, walls etc. Stays warm over night….hopefully. Don’t know how you’d do it on a roof with out a large array of panels and copper piping to carry a liquid to storage tank. A lot of work, money and space.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View joey bealis's profile

joey bealis

177 posts in 3011 days

#4 posted 03-17-2012 10:16 PM

It would be fine for day time when you wanted to be in there but would not have a storage of that heat. Heat this winter has not been an issue for us down here in Mississippi. I am putting my AC back in tomorrow so I can stay in there in the day time.


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18671 posts in 4180 days

#5 posted 03-17-2012 11:16 PM

I had a cold frame for winter garden years ago. I was amazed at how much heat it collected even on cloudy days. It would take a lot of surface area to heat a house.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3857 days

#6 posted 03-18-2012 12:40 AM

I don’t think cleaning the glass on them would be an issue. I’ve had solar panels (PV) on my roof for going on 6 years now, never cleaned them once, rain does wonders. I monitor the power output on a daily basis, here, so I’d know if they were producing less power based on the suns intensity, doesn’t seem to be the case.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3340 days

#7 posted 03-18-2012 02:41 AM

If you have a wall with lots of sun exposure there is another method that involves cutting 2 slots, one near the top of the wall and a second near the bottom. Then a cold frame is made that fits over the whole section of wall coverin both slots. The inside of the frame towards the back is lined with black tarp. The sun of course heats up the inside of the cold frame, the warm air escapes through the top slot and sucks cold air in the bottom. It is supposed to work quite well. The cold frame is sized based on the hours of light and sq ft to be heated. Just can’t remember what it is called but there are plenty of diagrams online.

-- A posse ad esse

View thinker1's profile


31 posts in 3911 days

#8 posted 03-18-2012 12:34 PM

Thanks for the feed back it gave me something to think about.

-- happy wife great life!!!!!!

View vbwoodworks's profile


4 posts in 2993 days

#9 posted 03-25-2012 02:17 PM

There is something called a Tromble wall, (not sure if that is the actual name or spelling) it is a heat sink as has been mentioned, usually a masonary wall covered by a glass of some sort that will absorb heat all day and slowly release it at night. It is a passive system and has been used and proven for many many years. Altho its not a bad idea to have a back up or helper system also.

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 4070 days

#10 posted 10-28-2012 03:24 PM

a little late to the party, but check out for solar projects and tips (no affiliation, but that’s where I’ve learned about my solar project)

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

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