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This is how I made an aluminum can solar heater!

Step 1: Save Cans

Pop cans, beer cans, sparkling water cans, any aluminum cans you can save, save them!

<p>Have you ever thought about using the same concept but running a hose through the cans to create a color hot water heater for a pool? Do you think it would work?</p>
<p>Thats actually a method that has been around for years. Someone mentioned it in a comment above, but I also remember my dad talking about doing it in the 70's. Certainly, you could do it with cans but the go to method is to use black PVC pipe. You pretty much just divert the water leaving the pool pump and run it through the PVC which has been laid somewhere where it can get plenty of sun, usually the roof, then tie it back into the outflow from the pool pump. I've heard of it done with the regular white PVC spray painted black because the white is usually cheaper, the problem there is that the black PVC will hold up far longer in the sun due to its UV resistance</p>
I haven't thought about that, however I have seen people use black tubing made into coiled circles to lay over their pool to heat it, and yes it works. As for running it through the cans, I'm guessing you would need some sort of a pump to pump the water through, but I think anything is possible (with sunshine and a little pink!)<br>-lillyvilleky ; )
Very interesting idea and one Ive been working on for awhile. If you find any ideas or get any suggestions, I'd be very interested in hearing about them! :)
I'm not sure who would go through the hassle of bringing this in and out of their house 100 times a day to reheat it. I imagine all that extra opening of your front door would defeat the purpose too. And i especially have no plans of putting holes through my house to run ducting. For those in the same shoes... I have seen this done before where you just mount the box in a window in your home that gets a lot of sunlight during the day. Even build a couple and put them in different Windows on different sides of the house
<p>Build a base that tracks the sun, and moves it accordingly.</p>
<p> Hit &amp; Miss however it looks like you're on to something here Lillyvilleky,, I am definetly going to build at least one of these and probably more for my shed to start out with and then my garage. Thank You fir the inspiration.</p>
To use it, you can move it inside. It will continue to give off heat for a while. You can also attach a computer fan and hose-as others have said-to blow the warm air into your home. I did not have a computer fan and didn't want to buy one for this project, nor did I want to put a permanent hole into my home for this unit. It was more of a project to see how cheaply I could generate heat. Say for instance, homeless people outside who don't have heat but still need to stay warm without starting a fire, or using electricity. You can put this outside in the sun and still be able to stay warm if you are near it. Plus it was practically free to make.
<p>If you have, or put in, an air vent or brick could you fix something like a tumble drier vent pipe to the top of the panel and then to the air vent (as long as this is higher)?</p>
<p>Yes, I suppose you could as long as it was to an inlet vent. </p>
<p>You could use both top and bottom (intake output) hoses then make a window adapter to run the hoses through, easy pleasy! I love this idea (: Then place both the hoses low to the floor but separated if you used a muffin fan to circulate the air. We have bright sunny days with 0&deg; temperatures here most of the winter!</p>
<p>again Mother Earth News heat grabbers for every applicable window, unlike awning they go under not over, the window. You could do an exterior wall if situated right and cut in vents top and bottom make a Trombe Wall. </p>
<p>Remember to let the paint off-gas in the sun for a few days before <br>using this to space heat, so you don't poison yourselves. And while <br>we're on that subject, realize that high heat paint isn't really even <br>needed in this application. It's just not hot enough to fry most regular<br> acrylic spray paints.</p>
<p>Good point, thank you. Yes, off-gassing is a good reminder to think about. </p>
<p>Nice article. The concept has been around a while, but it's great to see people being introduced to it. Here's some additional information using the same principles: </p><p>http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/diy-solar-heating-zmaz77sozgoe</p>
<p>Thank you for the link! Yes, I first started researching ways to save on energy on my own because of how high our utility bills were. You are right it is not a new concept. That is what amazes me is that it is actually a very old concept, yet around most of the country we have abandoned building practices that take advantage of our plentiful natural resources. Dating back to the 5th century BC the ancient greeks even built their homes to maximize the sun's potential. </p><p><a href="http://californiasolarcenter.org/history-passive/" rel="nofollow">http://californiasolarcenter.org/history-passive/</a></p><p>Once the invention of central AC, and quick stick built homes came along, I feel like the importance of passive heating and cooling was lost : (</p>
<p>&quot;tin cans&quot; like baked bean or soup cans, are wonders of engineering. Hugely strong, I never throw them in the bin.</p><p>From nail storage containers to cheap ducting, endless uses, including 0.22 targets at end of life.</p><p>Tin-plated steel cans can be soldered, but Aluminium cans are tricker to deal with. A good duct tape - aluminium metal tape is my preferred tape, is the easiest to work with.</p><p>Even in the depths of winter, the sun provides a useful amount of radiated heat. Under my roof tiles (concrete), I record temperatures 20 to 30 degrees Celsius higher than than the air temperature.</p>
<p>Yes, they are so renewable it is awesome!</p>
<p>I still don't get what you would use this for? Doesn't it have to be outside in the sun? I have no need to heat the outside.</p>
<p>See the link below: https://www.instructables.com/id/Beer-Can-Solar-Space-Heater</p>
Yes! Very cool!
<p>Thank you!</p>
<p>What can you warm with it...the outside? Its cool but how do you keep something warm with it?</p>
Build it into the wall of a doghouse and have a very happy Pooch
<p>That is a great idea! </p>
<p>What is so hard to understand? You place the collector outside in the sun and run some type of duct, insulated would be better. Since hot air rises the duct from the top runs into the house or whatever and the duct from the bottom runs from the house near the floor to the bottom of the collector. As the heated air flows up through the collector and into the house the cooler air is pulled through the duct into the bottom of the collector heats up, rises and makes it's way into the house. No fan is needed and the circulation should continue to increase as long as the heat rises. It could be used as supplemental heat during the day but would be useless at night.</p>
Please see top reply. <br>-Lillyvilleky : )
Really? Almost anything that makes heat is useful. Free heat? Unbeatable. Duct the top of the heater into anyplace in the house above the top of the heater and presto! FREE HEAT!
Please see top reply. <br>-Lillyvilleky : )
<p>If you had a portable (stand-up) AC unit that ran a hose from a window into the unit, I assume you could turn the window mount around and run that same hose to the heater, then the air would naturally flow in through the window mount. Presto, heat in the winter, cold in the summer.</p>
<p>I made one back in 87 out of wood, worked great but to heavy so If I ever make another one it will be out of two aluminum storm doors, insulation on the back side &amp; every thing painted black even the frame so it will conduct from every were. very nice job &amp; well worded. thanks</p>
<p>Thank you! I agree, if these were lighter they would be very better! I have been experimenting with using foam board for the entire project, I just need to get a lighter glass, or plexiglass : )</p>
<p>I like the sheet metal idea if one could focus part of it towards an outside oven made from glass, hang a piece of meat and cook it?</p>
Would using black tape around the cans not be as effective for conducting heat?
Forty some years ago I took 4 50 foot hoses, attached together giving me 200 feet.... I coiled the hoses into 4 big flat circles. Plumbed them together. Then set the coils into my pool pump/filter building. Painted them black, built a box around it all after securing to the roof.<br>I then connected to the pool pump.<br>The output was hot enough to raise the water temp by 15 degrees on a sunny spring day. (Input temp vs output temp)<br>Have a great day ..
<p>About 50 years ago I went out with a girl that the family had a pool that had heater defunked. I look at the pool and there was a shed that had a metal roof that faces the sun. A sheet of black plastic 12' x 30', a wore out hose, and plastic glue. I folded the black plastic in half, cut hose to the top and bottom, drilled the hose for the top, cut the hose in 1/2 for the bottom, used the glue to patch any holes, and attached top the pump and the bottom go into the swimming pool. In two day the water was TOO hot in the pool! </p>
<p>Any idea how many gallons the hoses hold? I know that my off grid neighbor uses one 50' black hose from his cistern to his home and turns off his hot water heater in the summer. Funny but it makes the spikets backward, the hot spikets run cold and the cold hot (:</p>
Thanks, going to try.
<p>Imagine lining an entire greenhouse with this concept! lol</p><p>This is rather cool. I like it and the &quot;How do you use this?&quot; questions, though logical, are tedious to a point. Use your imaginations. :D</p>
<p>Thats already a thing, it's called thermal mass greenhouses, usually they use somthing bigger than a soda can, like a back wall of 50 gal drums or i use old water heaters painted black with all the insulation stripped.</p>
<p>Cool..uhm, hot I mean. This can only ever be a means to an end in my opinion. What do you do with it? How can it be put to use?</p>
<p>Use your imagination. If you still cannot see a use, than a DIY solar heater is most likely not for you. Here is an example of what pops into my imagination. I see in my mind building myself the coolest tree house with the most superb zip line ever ending at your swimming pond (remember, it's my imagination here) ever!. Me and my Buddies have been smoking the West Coast ganja and drinking beer up there playing on the zip line into the pond but get chilled when trying to drink the beer. Even though it is sunny, the temperature is only around 40&deg; to 50&deg; even sumertimes here on the high desert. So now here you sit shivering in the sun when you spy all the beer cans laying around underneath the treehouse........see where I am going with this? You replace your treehouse south facing wall with this solar heater AND also get rid of that pile of cans littering the base of your tree (:</p>
Please see top reply. <br>-Lillyvilleky : )
<p>One would have to run some sort of duct or dryer hose to channel the heat to the interior of a room. Even better hose both intake and output positioning hose/ducts so it draws cold air from your floor heating it, then expels warm air back into the room</p>
<p>How to get the heat into the house: I made a similar one of these many years ago. I took a full sheet of plywood and cut it in half the long way, so my solar box measured 2 feet wide by 8 feet long (I had a piece of glass that fit that size.) Old shower doors or old sliding glass doors work well for this. At any rate, I suggest making something at least six feet long. I made it the same way described here, minus the cans. I used sheet metal for the inside, though I think the cans is a better idea. At any rate, when I was finished building it, I brought it to the south side of the house I was living in, set the bottom on a cinder block and leaned the top into the bottom of an open window in my apartment. It only had to go in far enough to clear the inside window, so the window, when shut, would land on the end of the solar box. Then I insulated around the top of the solar box, where it came into the house, in order to make it air tight. During the day, while I was at work, the box was putting heated air into my apartment all day. Even through a Connecticut winter, the box was warming my apartment all day even with the heat set at 55 degrees. I would get home and it would usually be about 70 degrees in my apartment. Once the sun goes down, or on cloudy days, there is no heat from the box so I cut a piece of rigid foam insulation to fit snugly into the rectangle opening at the top of the box to act as a plug to keep cold air out. Even if I didn't put the plug in, cold air really wasn't a problem as it goes low and the box (except for the opening) was lower that the opening in the window. My heating bill was significantly lower that winter!</p>
<p>this could be used for a solar kiln to dry wood. add a solar-electric panel to power a small blower to make the kiln self-contained.</p>
<p>Great job! I made a similar one with Plexi and fiberglass screening. https://www.instructables.com/id/Screened-Solar-Air-Heater/ Make sure you use a blower that can handle the static pressure or all the flow will escape out the back of the fan with very little actually moving through the system and pipes.</p>
<p>How do you use the heat generated? Port it into the house? I'd like to see details on this</p>
Please see top reply. <br>-Lillyvilleky : )
<p>One suggestion I have is that the whole unit possible lay on the house roof and the hose circulates the water through the cans and back into the pool. I think the roof would help heat the water quicker.</p>

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