passive solar heat advice needed

Share with us your alternative energy ideas and projects. Tell us about your experiments, no matter how far-fetched they may seem.

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Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 12:03 pm
Location: Arkansas

Hi everyone, I'm looking for opinions, facts, ideas, etc.... We have an older mobile (70 something model)as a getaway on some lots we own near a lake. We have not decided what heat to use this winter, as we're not up there a whole lot because of having to drain pipes and winterize. This place is in Northcentral Arkansas and the front faces south. When we are up there I want to use passive solar as much as possible. We have a small deck along front that is 4' wide x 19' long. We have a sliding glass door, and a regular trailer door that both open out to this deck. The 6' immediately in front of glass doors is covered with a roof.
I want to know which would serve us best for passive solar heat. Enclosing the roofed area of deck, 4' x 6', with plastic to send heat thru the opened sliding glass door (EASIEST), or building one of the passive solar heaters that hang on the outside wall? Eventually I want to make this deck an enclosed porch with windows. I appreciate all your input. Thanks EJ
Old Ticker
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Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:18 pm
Location: Florida Panhandle

You could always start with the easiest and cheapest method (sunspace enclosure) and then build panels if necessary.
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:27 pm

In addition, you might consider using a 'collector' to store heat for use at night, or on cloudy days. A very ingenious friend of mine built some racks for 5 gallon carboy glass jugs (used a lot for wine making), added anti-freeze and water to the jugs, then rigged up a fan to run on-demand from a thermostat, to heat his house. The greenish tint from the anti-freeze seemed to collect heat better than pure water, and, in my opinion, the whole setup looked pretty nifty!

I've been experimenting with with a small 12 volt, 5 watt, solar panel, fan, and 'solar chimney' to vent my ceiling space in the summer, and it's surprising how much air it will move...over 78 feet per minute. I got the fan at RadioShack for less than $35.00 (it's the kind made to go in a computer), which is about what the solar panel cost. You could rig up a 12 volt battery to a solar panel, and trickle-charge it during the day with the same panel with some sort of controller, or a separate solar panel entirely.

Good luck!