'Thermosiphon' air with solar heater


January 23, 1993|By James Dulley | James Dulley,Contributing Writer

Q: I want to build an inexpensive (less than $100) solar heater myself to cut my high heating bills. I want it to be able to heat one large room and a small one. What simple design do you suggest?

A: There is a design you should easily be able to build yourself. This is a simple air-type solar collector. Room air is heated as it circulates through the solar collector. You can mount the collector flat against your pitched roof, tilted up for greater efficiency.

The design relies on "thermosiphoning." This means the less dense warm air naturally flows up and out the top outlet. This draws cool room air in the bottom inlet to be heated, developing a continuous flow.

This concept uses a slanted perforated metal collector sheet (painted black) inside a shallow insulated box. The sun shines on the collector plate and heats it. With it slanted inside the box, the room air is forced to pass through the openings in the hot metal sheet as it circulates from the inlet to the outlet opening through the solar heater.

For even greater heat output, you can install an electric blower.

Write me for Utility Bills Update No. 349 showing do-it-yourself instructions, diagrams and materials list. Please include $1.50 and a self-addressed business-size envelope.

Questions should be addressed to James Dulley, c/o Baltimore Sun, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244.

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