How to Build Your Own Solar Air Heater How to Build Your Own Solar Air Heater

What You'll Need
Sheets of 2 x 4 plywood
Aluminum cans
Plexi-glass sheet

A solar air heater can help warm up a room, and this type of heater can also easily be built with the help of recycled materials such as aluminum cans. Energy from the sun can be harnessed to evenly heat up spaces, which can be done by sucking in air, which is then heated. This air needs to be put into the lowest can among a column of such cans. Once the air gets into the cans, it is then heated with the help of solar energy, and when the air heats up, it will rise up. This is when the hot air has to be transmitted to a pipe that re-enters the room or building, thus providing the space with heat.

Step 1: Build the Box

To begin with, it is necessary to make use of scrap materials to make a box. Before doing this, it is necessary to measure the dimensions of the box which should, at the very least, be wide enough to accommodate all the cans that are going to be used in making the solar air heater. The box should have a height that must also accommodate all the cans that will be making up a column of cans. Allow a few extra centimeters for any variances. To make the box as efficient as possible, use some insulation material that will ensure that heat from the box is not allowed to escape. This means that the box should be of a size that can accommodate both cans as well as the insulation material.

Step 2: Drill the Cans

The cans need to be perforated with holes, which will help ensure that air can be passed through the entire length of assembled cans. Of course, each can will already have a hole in the top; so, just drill the holes in the bottom of the can and make sure that the hole is drilled to one side of the can, and its size should be between half and one inch in size. It is important to drill each and every can in the same way.

Step 3: Build Columns of Cans

To build a column of cans, it is necessary to glue each can to the other. Caulk or even silicon adhesive, when used properly, will help get the column ready.

Step 4: Paint the Cans

The cans, once assembled into a column, must then be painted. It is best to make use of black colored paint which is ideally suited to help in absorbing the energy from the sun goes. It is also a good idea to make use of fireplace or barbeque stove paint because such paints will not flake easily. Even marine grade paints can do the job admirably well. As long as a matt finish is also provided, there will be nothing to worry about.

Before assembling the columns of cans, paint the insides of each can with the same paint. Also, the exterior of the box needs to be treated with some preservative or varnish, as this will ensure that the paint is able to withstand damage from the elements.

Step 5: Seal the Box

Once the cans have been painted, it is then time to seal the box with the help of some sheets of tempered glass. This glass needs to be of the same quality and type as is used in windscreen glasses on cars. Such glass is tough and will withstand high amounts of heat. The only problem with using tempered glass is its high cost. Plexi-glass is a more affordable alternative, but will not be as durable as tempered glass.

Step 6: Drill Hole in the Box

A hole needs to be drilled at the top of the box to act as an outlet for the hot air and it also helps in connecting the box to the building. Use an insulated pipe for making this connection.

This is a simple solar air heater design. To improve on this design, it is possible to connect the cans together in the form of a snake. Doing so will make the air within the snake rise up more slowly, meaning that the air will get more heated.

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