Home Made Solar Heating Systems

There are numerous alternatives to the fossil fuels but if we wait too long the opportunities for making a better connection with the sun will pass us by. Don't miss out on the energy you could be save and also the concepts you could be learning. Change is possible but change will only happen if we make it so. Time spent getting closer to the sun is never wasted. This page is devoted to home made solar applications and the solar_people who are this brave new solar age.

George Plhak's Mini Solar Farm in Ontario Canada. There's more than one way to harvest the energy from sunlight. Learn how George does it and get more information about his unique solution to a solar heating problem. 

George is a semi-retired engineer who conserves global resources in a small way by fixing fine old things. He restores electronic equipment from the likes of Tektronix or Hewlett Packard and also have several ongoing projects with renewable energy themes. Find out more about George and his inventions by clicking on the illustration on the right or by watching his video below.




Solar Hot Air Collector


Kenneth Wersinger



Here is a homemade solar hot air collector system that can be made from less than $300 worth of parts. It's ideal for areas like Southern Georgia that never quite make it through the winter without the help of conventional heating. This solar hot air heating system may not solve all  heating problems, but it will rapidly pay for itself in fuel savings.

Air enters the bottom from the back and is then it deflected from the hitting the glazing with a baffle plate (next to the glazing). The air will flow up and through the soffit absorber plate striping the heat off the soffit. The heated air flows up behind the soffit and out the top back of the collector.  The soffit vents across from the inlet are flattened to better channel the air through the absorber.

The  absorber is made from vented soffits.
The collector frame is made from steel stud slots
The insulation backing made from polyisocyanurate
The glazing is Twin Wall polycarbonate



 Material list and prices 10/10/10

1-4x8 sheet of 6mm twin wall polycarbonate                  $40  

2-4x8 sheets of 1� polyisocyanurate insulation               $27

2-16�x12� full vent aluminum soffit or 4-half vent             $30 

3-5 � stud track 10�long                                                 $?

1-can of primer and 1-can of color paint for frame         $10

1-can of flat black barbeque grill paint                             $5

1- Snap switch  (thermostat)                                          $15

 1- 6�duct fan                                                                  $30

sheet metal screws and a few other odds and ends

Total of around       $200 




The collector it a sandwich of the glazing, a foam spacer that holds the soffit, and the back insulation held to gather with the stud track

Here is a cutaway of the sandwich.
The glazing (front of the collector) on the left.
The foam spacer with the soffit (inserted � �into it)   in the center.
The insulation panel on the right.
The stud track holding it all together




The half vented soffit is on the right

The half vented soffit with the non-vented part cut off is in the middle

A piece of the stud track is on the left

If you can�t find the full vent soffit you will have to cut the non-vented part of the soffit off with a tin snips

The soffit is cut 1�shorter then the glazing is wide 48�-1�=47�

Then painted flat black on one side  Then lay the soffit panels out so that they form the finished  absorber panel which is 47� x about 7� less then 8� (it will vary depending to the soffit material)    The 8� will be at the bottom of the collector so that you can install the air intake. Use three screws per joint to fasten the soffit pieces into the absorber panel


 The stud track makes up the frame of the collector if the track has a extra long legs you will want to put a piece of insulation in the stud rail to make the remainder of leg a little over 1� ( on mine I user � insulation)

Cut the vertical (sides of the collector) stud track the length of the glazing + twice the leg spacer insulation. On mine it was 8� 1 1/2'� long.

The top cap piece of stud track is cut the width of the glazing + twice the leg spacer insulation + twice the height of the stud track leg length and a little to fit over the side pieces. So on mine it is 48� +(3/4x2) 1 � �+(2x2) 4�=53 ��+ ��

The bottom inside piece is the same 53 ��but � � �

Now you can cut a slot in the ends if the cap stud track and the bottom stud track so the end can be folder over. The cuts should be cut from the end on the leg of the track so that when folded over the corner of the stud track will cover the corner of the fold.



Paint the 4 pieces of stud track the color of your choosing. Outside of the cap.  The top corners over lap the seam. Next the insulation spacer pieces.

The 4 pieces will be cut to a width so that it will fit snugly inside the stud rail between the glazing and the back insulation. (refer to the second picture) The 2 side pieces will be the length of the glazing           

The baffle slot will be a �� from the glazing on the bottom of the side pieces. The groove for the absorber plate (soffit) will be at a angle going a ��  from the glazing on the top of the collector to the back of the collector near the bottom you will have to measure the absorber panel to get the length from the bottom (about 10�? ) You will want the bottom of the absorber to be tight to the back insulation panel.  

 With all the parts ready you can insert the baffle and the absorber panel into one of the side insulation pieces then put the other side insulation on the other end of the baffle and absorber panel. Put the glazing on front side and the back insulation on the back side and work the side stud rail over the sandwich. Hold together and flip over and work the other side stud rail on. Now you can put the top insulation in place and put the top cap on. Then put the bottom insulation in place and put the bottom stud rail between the side stud rails.