A solar heater attached to the side of your home can provide free heat during the winter months. Often, people are confused when they hear the words free and solar in the same sentence. Solar air heaters use the more passive form of the sun. They don't require the use of photovoltaic solar panels, and solar air heaters don't use mechanical parts.
A solar air heater works because of how air moves. Cold air follows warm air, and warm air is buoyant and rises. A solar heater uses thermosyphoning to move the cold air out of your home and bring in warm air. Warm air is lighter than cool air and will naturally rise. A solar heater takes advantage of this concept and uses it to the fullest advantage for the homeowner.
Solar heaters are not new technology, they aren't even expensive technology. The average DIY homeowner can build a solar air heater from aluminum soda cans, and other recycled materials. Solar heaters can be used by anyone who wishes to elevate the level of comfort in their home without paying a utility company hundreds of dollars a year.
Installing a solar heater does not mean that you must abandon the more traditional heating system you have. Using the two systems, in conjunction with each other, will save the average family $400.00 a year or more. If you increase the size, of a solar collector, you will heat more air and lower your costs accordingly. Solar air heaters are also called solar collectors. Currently these solar heaters provide heat to homes, churches, and businesses across the country. These heating systems provide heat on sunny days during the winter, and on days that do not have a heavy cloud cover.
Solar air heaters can raise the indoor temperature 25-45 degrees above the outdoor temperature. When the outdoor temperature is 32 degrees a solar heater can raise the indoor temperature to 77 degrees. One 4x8 solar air heating panel can put out 10,000 Btu's of free heat. Two diy solar heaters would double the amount of heat produced, and so on. An energy efficient home, that has south facing walls, could potentially replace their heating system altogether.
A home that is longer on it's north and south axis will receive the most benefit from using a solar air heater. These homes get the maximum amount of direct solar gain in the winter time. Direct solar gain can be easily measured by the home owner; without special tools, or complicated mathematical processes. A simple way to measure direct solar gain is to look at where the sun shines during the winter on your home. Homes that are built longer on the north and south axis are built with a passive solar design.
A diy solar heater can be built from parts that you can readily find in the trash. Old windows, used lumber and aluminum cans can be found for free in most parts of the country. Using recycled materials can lower the cost of building a diy solar heater. Your local Cariglist, Topix forum, and newspaper can help you locate these materials. Using recycled materials does not mean that your solar heater will be an eye sore. Solar heaters can be camouflaged to blend in with the siding on many homes.
Solar heaters are a great way to use the sun's energy to its maximum potential. These heating systems can be built and installed in a weekend and begin providing free heat the minute the sun's rays touch the glass. Free heat is something we all can benefit from.