How to Make a Solar Bird Bath Heater

Written by carrie belt
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Nearly any backyard can be an aviary oasis all year long with a solar bird bath heater, which keeps bird bath water warm during weather fluctuations and freezing temperatures. Store-bought bird bath heaters tend to be expensive, but building a solar bird bath heater yourself will not only make it more affordable, but it can also be a fun project for bird lovers and individuals who enjoy harnessing the power of the sun for everyday use.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 4-foot-by-44-inch sheet of plywood
  • 2 pieces of wood, 2-by-4-inches
  • Stapler or nail gun
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Construction adhesive
  • Garden hose
  • Water valve shut-off control
  • Plastic thermal film
  • Copper pipe
  • 2 pipe adaptors, 90-degree
  • Black paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Sheet of clear, hard plastic

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    Build the Heater Frame

  1. 1

    Place a 4-foot-by-44-inch sheet of plywood on a flat surface. The plywood will be the base of the solar bird bath heater.

  2. 2

    Cut two 2-by-4 pieces of wood into four pieces that are 4 feet in length each.

  3. 3

    Attach the wood to the plywood, using a stapler or nail gun, making sure to align the wood with the corners and edge of the plywood to create flush sides to form a frame.

    Assemble the Heater Piping

  1. 1

    Drill two holes at opposite corners of the box to allow room for the pipes to transport water in and out of the bird bath. The opposite corners should create a diagonal across the box.

  2. 2

    Install a copper pipe on the inside of the box frame to allow water to flow into the box. Fit the pipe with two 90-degree pipe adaptors, creating a U-shape with the pipes.

  3. 3

    Install the exit pipe to the exterior of the corner opposite the inflow corner. Follow the same steps used to install the inflow pipe.

  4. 4

    Cut garden hose into two pieces. One piece should be long enough to coil several times within the bird bath heater box. The second piece should be the same length as the distance from the tip of the exit pipe to the bird bath, once the bird bath heater is placed in its permanent location.

  5. 5

    Attach the first section (the section that will be coiled within the bird bath heater) of the garden hose to the interior side of the solar bird bath heater inflow pipe. Coil the hose inside the box. The hose will transport water from the inflow pipe to the exit pipe. Attach the opposite end of the garden hose to the interior side of the exit pipe.

    Complete the Construction

  1. 1

    Paint all pipes, wood and hoses black.

  2. 2

    Staple the plastic thermal film to the interior of the bird bath frame. The film will transfer sunlight to heat, which will warm the water within the coiled hose.

  3. 3

    Secure a sheet of clear, hard plastic to the top of the frame using construction adhesive, a staple gun or a nail gun. This top will help to keep the mechanism weatherproof.

  4. 4

    Place the box in direct sunlight. The sun will heat the water that is inside the hose located within the box.

Tips and warnings

  • Adding a water shut-off valve to the exit pipe between the pipe and the hose will enable you to more easily control the flow of the water out of the bird bath water heater.
  • Standing water may attract misquotes, which may be carrying viruses. To eliminate standing water, consider installing a small pump in the bird bath.

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