Saturday, December 17, 2011

Solar heater update

I just thought that I would give a brief update on the solar heater that we've constructed.  Today was a bright sunny day, 51° outside temperature.  It reached 170°inside our box.  We still do not have any duct work completed or a fan installed to move the air around but I wanted to know how hot the air would stay once we started it circulating.

So we hooked up a hair dryer to the inlet on the bottom of the box and used high-tech sealants to seal it fairly well.  Then we used a piece of dryer hose,  taped it to the outlet on top of the box and ran the other end of the hose into the window.  Then we used old towels and a couple of socks to seal up the remainder of the window opening. 

As you can tell we take pride in our workmanship and the result is a thing of beauty that all can admire.

I was curious what the temperature of the air coming out of the box would be once we had it circulating.  We left the heat part of the hair dryer in the off position and turned the fan part on low.  A few minutes later we checked it and the air coming out of the hose inside the room was in excess of 120°.  Our thermometer only goes up to 120°so next we got my mother's candy thermometer and it read 138°.  Then we turned the fan on the hair dryer to the high position and checked the temperature 20 minutes later.  130°.  This little box that we built, that simple little solar air heater will blow 130° air into our unheated room, and apparently indefinitely.  Or at least until the sun goes behind a building. 

Just think about that for a minute.  130° air blowing at a constant rate into your house or wherever it is that you wish to duct it to, that doesn't cost you anything.  How cool is that?  Lots of guys hook up a thermostat to their solar heater and their fan only kicks on and blows hot air into the house when the temperature in the house drops below a certain preset level. I was rather impressed and it is definitely worth running a duct system through the window and hooking up a blower motor to circulate the cold air from inside the room, sending it outside through the box and then back inside once it works its way up through the box and gets hot.  Stay tuned for further updates.

This is the close of the high-tech seal that we used between the hair dryer and the inlet on our solar heater.  Note the craftsmanship.  The attention to detail.  The love that went into this build.

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