Heating your house doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. You can enjoy warm temperatures through solar, helping you save on energy costs.
The crucial thing to remember is that although solar air heaters are cost-efficient, they are mostly supplemental. You can’t rely on most of them during cold winters.
Read on for DIY solar-powered air heater plans that are simple to build, even for those with no electrical expertise.
Explaining Solar-Powered Air Heater Plans
In most solar air heaters, the concept is the same. Usually, cold air goes into a solar panel mounted on the wall. As air passes through the panel, it becomes heated and flows into the room.
The whole process works through a convection method. “In convection, a fluid, such as air, rises as it becomes hotter and less dense. In contrast, the colder air, which is denser, goes down through gravity. The result of this cycle is heat transfer.
Therefore, to get more heat transfer, some solar air heaters use a fan to push the air.
Plus, by painting the collector boxes black, the panels absorb more heat.
Solar Air Heater Plans for Your Home
1. Solar Air Heater Boxes
With about $100, you can build your own solar air heater.
The key thing is to establish where you want to place your box. For maximum results, you should look for an area in your compound that is not obstructed by shade.
The items you’ll need:
- 3″ hose
- Staples, screws, and nails
Prepare the mounts by using dowels or any material that works for you.
Construct the box and attach the hose to it to come in through an entry hole at the bottom and come out through another hole at the top.
Fill the spaces left out with foam and seal all the cracks with glue.
Finally, cover the entire box with plastic.
Then mount the box onto the wall and run the hose through the window.
Check out the details here.
2. Pop Can Solar Air Heater
This type of air heater gives you a reason to drink pop as it’s a great way to recycle the cans. If you don’t have the cans, you can buy them from recycling centers.
Alternatively, you can use beer cans for the project.
What you need:
- Pop cans
- Wood to build the collector box
- Black spray paint
With the wood, build a collector box and put manifolds at the top and bottom. Cut out the outlet and inlet holes at the back.
The first step to make your absorber columns is to wash the cans.
Then, cut out the cans’ bottoms and tops, which can be a delicate procedure and might need some practice.
Next, glue the cans back to back and make a column of about five each. Arrange all the columns into the collector.
Lastly, spray the entire unit black and cover the whole box with clear Plexiglass.
You can mount this assembly on a wall outside your house facing the sun.
See the step-by-step guide here.
3. Screen Absorber Solar Air Heater
This air heater uses three layers of screen.
First, a list of items:
- Wood to build a collector box and a frame
- Staples and staple gun
- Silicone caulk
- Fiberglass or black aluminum screen
Build a rectangular frame that will go into the collector box.
You can use a black aluminum screen instead of fiberglass.
Cut out a piece of screen and attach it to the frame. The other two pieces form the top and bottom layers. These items are now your absorber frame.
Like in the pop can heater, make inlet and outlet holes at the collector box’s back.
Attach the absorber box to the frame and seal any openings.
Use a baffle to spread the air coming in through the inlet.
You can find the complete guide here.
4. Free-Standing Solar Air Heater
If you want to go large scale on your solar air heater and are handy with the tools, you can choose this option.
The heater uses a fan to circulate air around your home. This option’s beauty is you can attach a timer to it, which comes on automatically whenever there’s the sun. It produces heat of up to 127 degrees Fahrenheit of heat.
What you’ll need:
- Large pipes
- Aluminum sheets
- Metal studs
- A fan
The best way to build this air heater is to construct it when it’s erect. Otherwise, it will be too heavy to lift if you build it on the ground once it’s complete.
5. Downspout Air Heater
Those gutter downspouts in your home are good for something else – you can make an air heater with them.
Here are the items you require for the build:
- 21 and three-quarter inch by 33 and three-quarter inch plywood
- Square dowels
- Steel downspout
- Small fan
The first step is to build the frame.
Then, cut the pipe into pieces. After that, drill the inlet holes. Arrange the pipes to coincide with the holes.
Drill a hole on the collector box, where you’ll later add the fan.
Paint the box and the pipes black for maximum heat absorption.
Fix the downspout to the back of the collector from where the fan comes out.
Cover the whole setup with glass.
6. Corrugated Steel Panel Solar Air Heater
If you want a solar air heater that produces 145 degrees Fahrenheit in minutes, you could consider this DIY hack.
What you need:
- Black spray paint
- Silicone caulk
- Hardware that includes screws and nails
Start by building the collector box.
Cut out a bit of the steel panel where the fan will go in.
Next, attach the steel panel to the collector box and spray them with black paint.
Then, fix the fan and attach the vent tube. Hook the fan’s wires to the solar panels.
It’s wise to test the fan before covering the entire box with the glass to avoid having to dismantle everything.
7. Black Metal Plate Solar Air Heater: Using a metal plate as an absorber
In this type of air heater, a black metal plate acts as an absorber.
The heat captured by the metal plate is circulated using a fan.
Some of the items you need for the build:
- Metal plate
- Polycarbonate sheets
As with all other DIY solar air heater plans, you have to build the collector box first.
Instead of glass, you cover the unit with polycarbonate sheeting. The advantage of this type of sheeting is its affordability and its ability to outlast harsh weather.
This type of air heater is mounted on the roof.
Get the full DIY hack here.
8. Solar-Thermal Direct-Air Heater
If you want a solar air heater that can stay frost-free, this DIY plan might just do the trick. You can mount this heater on any wall facing the sun, including on your shed.
The materials you’ll need:
- Clear polycarbonate
- Foam gasket
- Tin duct
- Black enamel paint
- Hardware (nails, screws)
- Box fan
- Differential thermostat
You first have to build a collector. You can use an 8′ by 26″ polycarbonate. Mount the box on the wall.
Make two holes and cover the ends with a tin duct.
Then, paint the inside of the box black.
Place the clear polycarbonate between two foam gasket layers.
The fan is mounted inside the room or shed and will blow the hot air inside the room.
You can build this air heater for under $200.
Find the complete DIY hack here.
Is There a Way to Store Solar Heat?
Yes. You can use thermal batteries to store heat for later.
In the case of a home, bricks and concrete or sand can be used as thermal batteries.
This means the tubes from your panels can be embedded into bricks or concrete before they enter your home.
The materials (bricks, sand, or concrete) will absorb some of the heat and release it at night when there’s no sunlight.
Whether you want to heat your home, garage, shed, or commercial space, DIY solar-powered air heater plans come in handy. If you’re working on a tight budget and have some pop cans lying around, you can use them. Make a heat absorber from these.
What’s more, downspouts can also be a good way to trap solar heat and warm your home.
Further, you could use a fan to push even more hot air into a room. Do this by simply attaching the fan to the outlet of whatever duct or pipe you’re using.
Besides, if you’re looking for a longer-term DIY project, a free-standing solar air heater could be just the one to take up. It might be a little cumbersome to build, but the results will be worth it.
So, stop spending money on electricity bills to warm your house when you could save and have fun while at it.