DIY: Solar Air Heating

Written by alberto nolan
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DIY: Solar Air Heating
The heat's energy can benefit the house. (solar energy image by Catabu from

Solar energy is an excellent way to provide warm air for space heating. A solar air heater is a simple solar collector that absorbs heat from the sun, which causes the air inside the collector to heat up. Air passes into the collector through a hole in the bottom and flows up through the collector as its molecules expand due to the heating. Baffles are in place to cause turbulence, giving the air more time to heat up, and the air is pumped into the space through a computer fan mounted on a hole at the top of the collector.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 40-inch by 60-inch piece of sheet metal
  • 40-inch by 60-inch piece of plywood
  • 60-inch by 40-inch piece of Plexiglas
  • 3 96-inch long 2-inch by 4-inch pieces of lumber
  • 15 right angle brackets
  • 18-inch fan with battery pack
  • wood-screws
  • dryer duct
  • flay black spray paint
  • aluminium duct tape
  • heat-resistant adhesive
  • silicone caulk

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  1. 1

    Cut two of the two-by-fours into two 60-inch pieces and two 36-inch pieces. Cut the remaining two-by-four into three 32-inch pieces.

  2. 2

    Spray paint the right angle brackets and the sheet metal flat black.

  3. 3

    Glue the sheet metal down to the plywood using the heat-resistant adhesive. Once the glue is applied, clamp the metal down and let it dry for about an hour.

  4. 4

    Use the 60-inch and 36-inch sections of two-by-four you cut earlier to construct a frame around the perimeter of the side of the plywood with the sheet metal. Use wood-screws and the right angle brackets to secure the frame.

  5. 5

    Cut two holes 16-inches in diameter through the sheet metal and plywood, one at the top left-hand corner of the frame and one at the bottom left-hand corner. If you do not have a blade that will cut through the sheet metal, make these cuts through the metal with metal shears before gluing the metal down to the plywood.

  6. 6

    Construct three alternating baffles inside the frame using the 30-inch long pieces of two-by-four you cut earlier. The baffles should be spaced about 15 inches apart. Secure them with right angle brackets and wood screws.

  7. 7

    Cover the baffles and the inside surfaces of the frame with aluminium duct tape.

  8. 8

    Cover the frame with the 60-inch by 40-inch piece of Plexiglas and screw the glass down. Seal the edges where the Plexiglas meets the frame with silicon caulk.

  9. 9

    Mount the fan over the top left-hand hole that you cut through the frame so that the fan is blowing away from the frame like an exhaust.

  10. 10

    Mount the collector somewhere near the room you will be passing hot air into at a 45-degree angle. The collector must be in a place where it will get long periods of direct sun exposure.

  11. 11

    Use heat resistant adhesive to glue the dryer duct over the fan on the bottom-side of the collector. Add a layer of duct tape around the dryer duct for reinforcement. Place the other end of the dryer vent inside the space that you will be heating.

Tips and warnings

  • For better use, construct a custom opening into the room you will be heating that the dryer vent can be clamped onto.

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