A solar chimney can cool your home and save you money. A solar chimney vents hot air out and draws cool air inside. A solar chimney extends several feet beyond the roofline and has a clear covering on two sides with the other two sides painted black to absorb the sun’s rays. As the chimney heats up, the hot air will rise and create a vacuum-like effect pulling cool air in from lower in the house.
In order for this kind of solar technology to work, the house must be properly vented. Lower vents can be open windows but is more commonly a vent coming in from the crawl space underneath the house. A pipe or pipes can be buried in the ground under the crawl space to assist in cooling the air even more.
Step 1 - Prepare the Ground
Dig a five foot trench as long as the pipe needed (or connect a few pipes together in a zigzag pattern to get the length needed)
Step 2 - Prepare Pipe Bed
Lay in a bed of gravel and level it.
Step 3 - Lay the Pipe
Measure the pipes need and cut using a hacksaw. Make a few holes in the bottom of each length of pipe to release condensation. Take into account the joint area. Lay the pipe in the trench. At the end of the trench put pipe at a 90 degree to vent and extend out of the ground for a vent.
Step 4 - Test Fit the Pipe
Clean the end of the PVC pipe and sand lightly to rough up the edges, clean well to ensure a good fitting. Attach the pipe to the fittings and double check to be sure it fits as expected. Take everything apart.
Step 5 - Prime the Pipes
Open the can of PVC primer. Use the included applicator. Brush primer on the pipe and the connecting joint. Allow it to dry for about one minute.
Step 6 – Seal the Connections
Rub the PVC glue liberally on both the end of the pipe and inside the joint over the same areas that you rubbed the primer. Press the joint and pipe and the joint together and then give the pipe a 1/4 turn in order to even out the glue and speed the drying process.
Step 7 – Refill the Trench
Once the pipes are dry replace the dirt in the trench tamping it down securely around the pipe.
Step 8 - Install the Vent
Route the pipes into the room or near room that has the solar chimney in the roof. Install a standard galvanized cold air return vent to release the cool air. Place wire mesh over the outside vent.