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Old 12-27-2009, 09:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Solar Window Heater

I need some help, I want to turn my window into a solar heater, but I've never done anything like this. Do I need to put a piece of something black in there to absorb heat or will the excess heat/light go into my room if it stays clear? This will be a build thread once I get it done.

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Old 12-27-2009, 10:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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what type of heater? air, water, mass?
If you are doing air then just have a flat black surface a few inches from the window glass with an opening at the top and bottom with a flap to let air in at the bottom and one to let warm air out at the top, a fan on a thermostat would help, it all depends on how cheap you want to be.
the main advantage of something like this is that the back side of it can be insulated well so it's like having an insulated window shade all the time to limit heat loss.
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Old 12-27-2009, 11:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It will be to warm my room, so air. I have a storm window and a real window and i'm thinking about using the space between the two to heat my room.
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Your window is already making your room into an underpowered solar oven. The only substantial improvement you can make to the window is to add clear layers for daytime, and insulate it at night.
You can also use it as a handy opening to duct in heat from a wall-mount hot air collector to increase the effective area. An effective panel in a good location can be made with just polyethylene, lath, and staples. Use lath arches to create a heat-absorbing duct of clear poly over a black back sheet. If it is below the window, it can thermosyphon automatically.
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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From what I understand the biggest improvement you can get is to go outside the window. Something similar to what's pictured below. Don't know if you window would be in a location you could make one of these or not.
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I like that idea, do you have a site that I can get directions or more information about it?
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Solar Air Heater

I built one like the angle air entry version on the left. It was loosely based on plans from Mother Earth News for a solar air heater. I decided to build it using a double paned french door, insulated the back and sides with 3/4" extruded polystyrene and stuck it in the window. Air intake on the bottom (opening facing down), exhausts on the upper half of the face. I put it in the window in 45 degree weather. Using a small probe thermometer in the exhaust opening, in about 15 minutes it was over 95 degrees. Another 15 minutes had it over 105 degrees. It was not facing due south but did get full sun through the glass.

The problem with mine would have been easy to fix if I'd tried. While the air was plenty warm, airflow was very disappointing. Since the airflow was so slow, I didn't feel a temperature improvement in my garage. A couple of small 12v fans that could have been powered by a small solar panel (like a car battery maintainer) would have increased flow with a corresponding decrease in temperature. As for question of a black piece on the inside, you absolutely want the black surface area. Want proof positive on that, on a cold sunshining day, go out to a parking lot and put your hands on a black car and a white car. The difference is dramatic.

Finally, be sure to either remove it or cover it up in the summer. My divider panel as two layers of extruded polystyrene and in the middle of this past summer, the polystyrene melted and ruined my collector. I had a lot of fun on the project though.
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Old 12-28-2009, 11:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A really cheap improvement i've performed on mine...bubble wrap. I grabbed a roll from an office supply store, cut squares of it to fit each pane, moistened the pane with a sponge and pressed it gently on.

The plastic increases the insulative value of the glass-in addition, the bubbles provide a small thermal mass effect, and the sunlight still passes through. The effect from outside looks like the 'privacy glaze' you see on most bathroom windows-I can't see the wrap at all until i'm within a few feet of the window, so my neighbors can't tell at all. Since I have no plans to open my windows in Winter, i'm also going to place some easily-removable cloth tape over the window joins-and again, no one will know unless they lift the inside shades and check.

I'll have a Window heater of my own in a few weeks, but it's going to look a bit more like this:

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/200...lar_panel.html


Why? Because my next door neighbors drink soda like it's oxygen (sorry Mom but it's true) I can grab some wood-framed glass door panels for $3 apiece, and I already have the paint. Also, i'm a cheapskate. Seriously, I started shaving my head two years ago because a can of Barbassol and a pack of disposable razors($2 a month) beats a $20 haircut any day...

Last edited by order99; 12-29-2009 at 12:08 AM..
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by order99 View Post
Also, i'm a cheapskate. Seriously, I started shaving my head two years ago because a can of Barbassol and a pack of disposable razors($2 a month) beats a $20 haircut any day...
Or is that because you're balding? lol jk

Starting this project today, freaking acrylic is expensive.
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonMPG View Post
Or is that because you're balding? lol jk

Starting this project today, freaking acrylic is expensive.
Not balding yet-Dad's got a full head of hair at 70, so it depends on what genes got passed down. Mind you, it would save me some shaving if my hairline receded a few inches or better yet down to the neck...as long as i'm wishing, how about a full body hair removal via laser? I'm tired of Animal control every time I try to get a tan...


As for the price of Acrylics, I honestly hadn't thought about it, not with framed glass being tossed out everywhere I look (everyone with money is upgrading to the most energy-efficient windows they can find, rather than buying bubble wrap...more for me!). While the plastics may be stronger, glass won't cloud or yellow-also, the pre-framed stuff allows for heat expansion flex in the frame in order to reduce cracking...a malicious thrown rock or bullet (hunting season y'know) can still ruin a pane, but the occasional crack can be mended and I can always store an extra door if I get enough.

There's something else i'd like to try if I have enough time and can find a full-sized screen door in the junk pile somewhere-a Solar Food Dehydrator:

GeoPathfinder

Isn't it just gorgeous? If my second attempt at a garden gets better results than last year(and it couldn't get any worse-I named it Darwin's Garden for a reason )
I figure a scaled-down model the size of a door would suit me just fine-

-Oh and Mom just reminded me via e-mail that I need to finish re-flooring and re-dooring her old single-wide trailer before I get any more projects in the rack-message recieved Mom...but in another week you're going to helping ME paint soda cans, Capice?

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