Step 3: A Breath Of Fresh Air

Picture of A Breath Of Fresh Air
worm-arater 007.jpg
To further improve ventilation in the Worm-A-Rated Hotel I added a small dc fan connected to a discarded solar cell that was used to power landscaping lights that died. The little fan kicks on after the sun goes down and pulls in the cooler night air further cooling the box.
The worm union is so happy they are now producing over a gallon of "Worm Juice" per week!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my wormy adventure as much as I enjoyed solving the challenges.

marian19365 years ago
Very clever instructable, and very clearly presented. I bought my starter herd while visiting my daughter in CA, smuggled them home in my luggage, and put them to bed outside under a tree. I'm in the Dallas, TX area, where we had more cold than usual last winter and more heat this summer. It's been in the 100s for days now. My worms spent the winter in a styrofoam box outdoors in the corner of the porch. I drilled holes in the lid and stapled window screen fabric inside to provide air, curtail elopement and prevent intruders. They survived the snows and, to my amazement, were still alive in the spring. I moved them into a hard plastic storage box with a top that closes like clasped fingers. The box sits on an expanded steel table with an umbrella in the center. It's next to the house, so it's shaded by the roof overhang on one side and the collapsed umbrella (somewhat) on the other. Not much sun. Home Depot sells some little little 1" louvered vents, which I installed on both sides, using a hole saw to make the openings. At one end, at the bottom, I drilled another hole and installed a spigot for draining off the worm tea. I use shredded newspaper for the bedding, and some corrugated box material or that pulpy material used for packing apples and oranges for the top layer. It's free at the grocery store. I add vegetable scraps at the top, lifting the box or newspapers or pulpy layer and placing the feast on first one side and then another. They have stayed alive without air conditioning or a heat pump, but I do think your ideas sound exciting. I tend to be rather frugal with my efforts, and haven't tried to care for their comfort, except to keep them alive. They seem to be reproducing rapidly, wiggling enthusiastically and creating black gold for my flowers. My kids and older grandkids have no interest and think Grandmother is a bit strange for having a worm farm, but I can live with that. Maybe the 4yo grandson will be interested. He likes to play with the water hose outside, just watering plants and himself. BTW, the table and umbrella and styrofoam box came from the "curbside variety store" the day before garbage pickup, so I'd call them "green". Keep on vermicomposting!!
bigwayne5 years ago
I like it...I have an old cooler in garage that is now destined to become a worm hotel.  I'm thinking of maybe taking the radiator from a discarded fridge and shaping into the bed.  What do you think?   I will also, since living in the Chicago area need to be able to survive below freezing temps in the winter.
This is a great instructable. I have been thinking about making one of these for myself, and this provides a great starting point. The only thing I'm not thrilled about is the fountain pump. It would be nicer to come up with a "greener" solution. One could get a large solar panel to run the fountain pump, but large solar panels don't come cheep. It seems to me that a better solution might be evaporation. This is not my area of expertise so I'm not sure how it would be done. I imagine a piece of cloth wicking up water, which then evaporates cooling a conduit, then the cooled air in the conduit could be blown by a solar fan into the worm hotel. Anyone with expertise here please chime in. Am I totally off base or can this be made to work? Great work COOPDADDI and thanks for sharing!
What about a distillation sort of setup? The water at the bottom could be heated by a solar oven or the PVC pipe spray-painted black. The evaporated water would rise back up the original elevation where it could be condensed. The cooler water in the original container would absorb the heat from the soil and sunlight.

It works in theory.....
coopdaddi (author)  dirty_valentine6 years ago
I agree that a greener solution would be better. I have purchased a solar fountain pump that works great when there is direct sunlight, but stops when a cloud passes by. The set up did not include any type of battery storage it is a direct power set up so I have been experimenting with with a couple of different options and will update when I have something workable.
I once used worms to produce compost also. they were very happy for a period of time, wiggling really nicely. Then before not too long, they were dead--burned. the compost got too hot. Your solution is too ingenious. Brilliant.
coopdaddi (author)  paulschulman6 years ago
AWW Shucks twernt nuthin! Thanks for the complement! Friends and family really think Im nuts though
composts actually produce their own heat and if you needed something heated you could "kill two birds with one stone"
They always do. I'm in Central Florida and our temperatures are quite high too. All I can think for a very green and inexpensive solution would be a breezeway, like they used when building "cracker" houses. I love your instructable, it's very inspiring. I'm done "making the beds" and now I'm moving on to stinkier business - compost, worm farm, manure pit - so I'm open to all ideas and suggestions. I'll experiment with a "worm-cracker-house" and see how it goes (my gardening budget includes a solar powered fountain pump, but that one is for the pond). Also, and this one is for people knowledgable in AQUAPONICS: since this design needs a constant source of running water, would it be viable to somehow make it part of an aquaponic system?
coopdaddi (author)  koyaniskatzy6 years ago
Yes it would work with an aquaponics set up. You will just need to make sure that the worms are in the shade. A higher flow rate such as found in such systems would be even better than the small pump that I am using.
AHA! Thanks. I fell in love with the idea since I read about aquaponics on Organic Consumers. It's a project for the winter, so I hope to have it running and ready to share with everyone in the spring.
coopdaddi (author)  koyaniskatzy6 years ago
then you should check this out first...

gregmonkey6 years ago
What about using the natural convection currents to drive the heated water up the copper pipe and placing an old computer heat sink on of a small cooling tower. The water cools descends to the bottom of the tower and starts the trip back up the copper pipe. During the heat of the day you can use a solar powered fan to cool the water more quickly.
kennydude6 years ago
Excellent article, great read. good job on your ingenuity!
kstlfido6 years ago
Cool idea! Wouldn't it make more sense if the fan ran during the day? To stabilize the temp?
coopdaddi (author)  kstlfido6 years ago
Maybe so, but the battery's in the cell need to recharge and with the average daytime air temps in the summer here being over 90 I think that pulling in the cooler evening air is really better. I seem to be getting ample air flow from the wind during the day anyway but in the evening the wind tends to drop off.
papalevies6 years ago
Now all you need is some electrodes in their "brains" (cerebral ganglia) and you can keep them happy and productive by projecting them to an artificial reality tailored to satisfy their needs, a "worm paradise", if you will.
coopdaddi (author)  papalevies6 years ago
can you provide an instructable for that as it is a little out of my experience! LOL!!
jray436 years ago
Sweet; I think I got all the stuff so I'm making one for my wife for her birthday! I know what side my toast is butterd on! Happy worms are coming!
arirang7776 years ago
I guess you are now the Jimmy Hoffa of the worms. Great instructable!
coopdaddi (author)  arirang7776 years ago