Introduction: Almost Free Solar Hot Air Collector

About: I cannot throw anything away without trying to find another use for it. as an example I converted a 1984 Pontiac Fiero from gas to electric using used forklift parts …

I hate throwing anything out untill I have exhausted my mind, searched the web or visited Instructables for other potential uses. I have not found and hot air collectors made from light fixtures so here you go.

Electric Car Conversion;

YouTube Solar Hot Air Collectors;

Making a solar hot air collector out of free used 2 x 4 metal light fixtures, free old glass and free black paint to reduce our carbon body tape outline, reduce our untility bills and save money.

We are building and installing 14 of these hot air collectors on our south wall of our 140 year old house in Ontario, Canada. During sunny days in the winter these will completely heat our house for about 6 hours. After we make these, we will join them together venting the cold air from the bottom of the rooms and exhaust the top vents to the top of rooms. The fans will help increase the air flow to these rooms. The next collectors that we make will also be insulated and have a metal baffle inside to help concentrate the heat. The collectors then will be connected to the house and flexable dryer
duct inside the house will vent heat to various rooms . Check out our You tube home page for more info.

• Free Heat.

• No Fuel Needed.

• Renewable.

• Cost effective.

• Green.

• Recycled.

Step 1: Dumpster Diving Time

Materials needed
•         Old light fixture (Restore).
•         Aluminum Tape.
•         Flat black paint (Restore).
•         Glass cut to fixture size.
•         Silicone caulking and gun.
•         Latex or nitrile gloves.
•         Protective gloves for handling glass and cutting metal.
•         Hammer and Screwdriver.
•         Metal scissors.
•         Thermometer.
•         Drywall screws and drill with a Phillips bit.
•         Glass cutter and marker (If cutting own glass).   

Step 2: Prepare the Fixture Frame

Prepare the Fixture Frame
•         Remove old light tubes.
•         Remove fixture sockets.
•         Remove ballast.
•         Screw overlapping corners of frame together with drywall screws.
•         Seal the corners and any small cracks of the fixture with silicone caulking.
•         Cover up all large holes with aluminum tape.
•         Let silicone dry overnight before painting it flat black.

Step 3: Painting the Frames

Painting the Frames
•         Wear clothes that you can get paint on.    
•         Wear protective gloves.
•         Put some newspaper down so you don’t get the paint on anything else.
•         Clean the fixtures with soap and water and let dry.
•         Paint fixtures front, back, sides and let dry overnight.

Step 4: Cutting the Vent Holes

Cutting the Vent Holes
•         Use a hammer and a screwdriver to strike the “punch outs” at the center of each end.
•         Cut holes square, a little larger with the metal scissors and if installing a small fan to help exit the hot air at the top mark before making hole bigger. you will want to make it a little smaller to allow mounting with the drywall screws (dry wall screws will cut their own threads into the light fixture) Wear gloves to protect you hands.
•         Tape the cut openings after so there is no sharp edges.

Step 5: Intalling the Glass

Intalling the Glass
•         Put silicone on the frame edges so the glass will stick.
•         Then install the glass.
•         If installing multiple panes of glass caulk the seam running across the collector.
•         Let the silicone dry overnight.

Step 6: Solar Panel and Micro Fan (Optional)

Solar Panel and Micro Fan
•         Screw the micro fan carefully to the top back hole of the hot air collector with drywall screws.
•         Remember to make sure the fan’s direction is correct and exhausting the hot air.
•         Lay the hot air collector down.
•         Put a good amount of silicone on the back of the solar panel and put it on one of the top corners.
•         Attach the solar panel to micro fan and let the silicone dry overnight.
How it works
•         The fan pushes hot air out and replaces it with cool air.
•         In effect the fan heats up a room faster.
•         The upper and lower holes will be ducted to the house.
•         If there is enough sun to make heat, then there is enough to make electricity for the fan. 

Step 7: The Next Step

The Next Step

•         Make more hot air collectors and mount them on the house to offset the heating bills. Possibly insulate the collector to reduce loss of heat through the side and back.

•         Reduce the fossil fuels we use. 

•         I placed the completed collector in a place where the sun shines for most of the day.
•         I placed a thermometer near the top hole of the collector.
•         I recorded readings every hour.
•         The reading of 53°C on the meter is the collector inside temperature as you can see the thermometer gauge inside.
•         On test day the maximum outside temperature for April 19, 2010 was 15°C.
•         The difference gave us a range of 20°C to 50.9°C free heat.
•         10:00 am   46°C / 114.8°F
•         11:00 am   58.5°C / 137.3°F
•         12:00 pm   63.1°C /145.58 °F
•         1:00 pm     65.9°C / 150.62°F
•         2:00 pm     62.4°C / 144.32°F
•         3:00 pm     54.3°C / 129.74°F
•         4:00 pm     35.0°C / 95°F