Solar Hot Air

DIY solar hot air heating systems are becoming more popular because they don't require the time and space of hydronic systems. There are no leaky heat storage tanks to worry about and radiant floor heat distribution systems have nothing to do with forced hot air/ The furniture, walls and ceilings of the household are used to store heat. Although hydronic systems are more capable of storing more heat pneumatic systems are generally less expensive and easier to install. 

Solar Greenhouse and the Modified Trombe Walls are still capable of harvesting sufficient sun energy to heat a dwelling in the dead of winter. These applications may be either active or passive in nature. Passive systems of course use no external power source to harvest heat but active systems are better for moving heated air from the heat collection area to the heat storage area. 


Now if you live inside a collector like Doug Kalmer you won't have to worry about moving the heat from the collector you'll only have to worry about losing that heat. This is why Doug uses thermal shades. 

Recently "pop can" collectors have become a bit of a fad. They look cool and I do believe they provide an excellent "double green" method of recycling, and if you're patient and keep saving those cans you may decide to build one. They are very portable. A finished "pop can" collector might look something like this.

If you look closely at the picture on the left you'll notice a hole at the top side of the collector. This is where the hot air exits. There is also a hole in the bottom side of the collector where household air enters the collector. Headers at the top and bottom of the collector distribute forced air through the columns of aluminum cans painted black. 300 pop cans were used to make this pop can collector.

This is one way to harvest solar heat with air BUT WAITE there are still other methods to explore..

When I lived in Plattsburgh, NY and ran workshops for the Adirondack Solar Association, through Co Operative Extension we used aluminum flashing blocked in place with baffles. Sometimes the collectors were made without aluminum flashing but they always worked better when bent strips of flashing were added.


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