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DIY Solar Shop Heat Ideas?

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  • DIY Solar Shop Heat Ideas?

    Any experience/thoughts on DIY solar heat ideas?

    My shop is one car of a 3 car garage. It's pretty well insulated. Normal winter heat is a 110V electric radiant oil heater set to maintain 50-55 degrees. I'd say in really cold weather it's probably on 1/3 of the time.
    When I use the shop I put out a 2nd 110 infrared heater to radiantly heat me quickly and eventually the whole shop if I'm out there long enough. I'm in Colorado so a fairly mild climate all things considered.

    I'm toying with a home made solar panel and a radiator in the shop to supplement the always on 50-55 degree heater. I don't expect to actually heat the shop but if simple enough I figure why not??? Maybe a small electric solar panel to run a small water pump and a small electric fan in the shop exchanger.

    One problem I have is convenants. No solar panels allowed so I have to stay stealth and or might have to throw away if the neighbors gripe. I'm thinking a single 4x8 panel on the ground below the fence might stay under the convenant nazi's radar. But would that be at all effective? Back of my house faces south-south west.

    Worth playing with or total waste of time? (which I do a lot of)

  • #2
    Move to Phoenix. I have VERY effective solar heat in my shop, and didn't cost me a dime...
    Master Floor Sweeper


    • #3
      I'm guessing about 300 square feet.

      A single 220 volt 3500 watt heater would be really simple.


      • #4
        Would be funny to paint the inside of your rain gutters black and soldier 1/8" copper soft tube on the bottom of it


        • #5
          Not at all.
          Solar can be very effective, particularly if you have Southern View access, as you have.
          How about a passive solar panel with Thermo syphon feed ( no pumps.)
          Build a box with foam insulation and plexiglas window. Better yet, find a picture window (double glazed) that is being tossed.
          Make the box 6 inches deep and place some copper pipe in a serpentine
          method, starting at the bottom and going up.
          Lay the box at an angle against the wall facing South.
          The hot pipe goes out the top and through the wall and then continues upward till it reaches a old car radiator mounted near the shop ceiling.
          The hot pipe should dump into the TOP of the radiator. The bottom of the radiator should go downward /then outside and into the bottom of the box.
          As your fluid heats up, and if the lines go vertical, the warm fluid will naturally travel to the radiator. Place a small fan behind the radiator and warm air will be blown around the shop. When the Sun no longer shines, the flow stops automatically, and no heat is lost from inside to outside.
          The fan can be any simple fan. Use antifreeze for fluid. Be sure to extend the top of the radiator with a open top bucket so you have a expansion reservoir.
          The pipe should be at least 1/2 in size, and the inside of the box painted black
          You will get temps of upto 180 in the winter and 220 in the summer.
          Cover it with a white tarp.

          I did mine just below a window years ago, and made a baffle for the open window (cracked open 2 inches) and the pipes went throught the window baffle, so I didn't have to drill holes in the wall.
          I bought the copper pipe/tube at the junk yard for scrap price.

          I knew a giuy who did the same thing almost, but instead he went with Air heat.
          His box was nested beer cans with no lid and sprayed Black.
          he blew air behind the cans and then into the garage. but he needed fan housings and temperature controls ,
          Green Bay, WI


          • #6

            I have had this one on my shop since 02, I can get 120* heat out of it on a good sunny day,in February, when it is 20* outside.


            • #7
              great replys, thanks.

              IO, is that a water heater or direct air panel?


              • #8
                Originally posted by JoeFin
                Would be funny to paint the inside of your rain gutters black and soldier 1/8" copper soft tube on the bottom of it
                I like the idea... Need a good way to hide it from the neighbors for sure.

                The standby heat electric radiator is on low and might be on 1/2 the time when very cold... "low" is 750 watts so if I could get even 200 watts into the shop for 3-4hours a day I think the effort would be worth it.

                BTW, my electric bill doubles in the winter because of the shop but it's still darn cheap, maybe $30 bucks a month for 4 of the worst months.

                The acual cost isn't a bigge but I'm cheap so I wind up leaving the heat a little lower than comfortable.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by hitnmiss
                  great replys, thanks.

                  IO, is that a water heater or direct air panel?
                  Air only, there were 2 but other was busted after a tree fell on it,I got it for free,The price was right.


                  • #10
                    looks good Wolfie, would be nice if you could hang a light bulb on the end of that hoist so you could see at night, maybe a 3 phase one.
                    Last edited by speedsport; 08-14-2007, 08:05 PM.
                    "four to tow, two to go"


                    • #11
                      damn flu !

                      I just blew snot across the desk .I love humour; that has brightened my day.
                      Last edited by speedy; 08-14-2007, 08:46 PM. Reason: rethink


                      • #12
                        I'm planning on extending out the back wall of my shop and will definitely be adding solar heat in the concrete slab.

                        During the summer months it will be piped out to the pool and hot tub. A couple of relays and solenoids and the process would be effortless to maintain


                        • #13
                          There is a black polythene pipe used for drip line irrigation etc, I am not sure if it is called Low or High density, someone will know, But it is cheap and you can get push in fittings for it. Our swimming pool at home has solar heating with a black rubber mat system on the roof, a timer and a pump to circulate the water.


                          • #14


                            • #15