DIY Solar Space Heating


Photo: Build It Solar.

Mrs. Homegrown, who spent her formative years in the mountains of Colorado, made fun of me this morning as I noted the “cold” temperature . . . 60°F. It was the first ironic “brrrrrr” out of her mouth, letting me know that we’ve transitioned from the hot smoggy season to the the less hot smoggy season here in Los Angeles.

In the northern hemisphere it’s time to consider heating. The always useful Build-It Solar blog has a detailed link to a DIY solar space heating system in Virginia (pdf).

Collector panels mounted on the roof heat a reservoir which is circulated through a floor-based radiant heating system. It even has an Arduino based data acquisition component that tracks performance. There should be a DIY Nobel Prize for this project!

If you live in a place that’s both cold and sunny in the winter, solar heating has a lot of potential. In fact, I’m much more intrigued with solar space and water heating then I am with photo-voltaic panels.

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  1. Mrs. Homegrown is right: it’s still shorts weather in the 60°s.
    Heck, we don’t even fire up the woodstove until we can see our breath indoors. This is not a joke. We are cheap.

    A number of years ago, Rodale published instructions for building your own heat grabber which could be easily installed in any first-floor window in the winter and stored away in the summer. You can see a picture of one if you scroll down on this page – providing I’ve done the linky thing correctly:

    This is a do-able project for people who rent, as it does not require permanent installation. One day we will get around to doing this, if only to use up the stash of construction materials that hubby has been carefully collecting.

    • Hey Donna–that’s a great project. Our solar dehydrator works on the same principle.

  2. Very admirable project there but at nearly 7 grand the time to recoup that cost is fairly considerable

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