Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Solar Air Heater!

Solar Hot Air Heater!

The new solar air heater leaning up against the well/shower house where it will likely be installed as it is a near perfect south facing wall. Thermometer reading after just a minute behind the air outlet? 100 degrees and that's with outside air of 48. NICE! My guess is that this would easily heat our little shower house to a comfortable 70+ degrees on sunny days during the winter. A big thanks to Rick for building it!

Update 1: Went back out to get another temperature reading, 110 degrees! From what I've read online they can be expected to output air between 100-130 degrees or more on sunny days. Even on cloudy days they will put out air that will warm a space though obviously not as effectively.


Update 2: As of this update (1pm) it is 50 degrees outside and the current reading is 120+ (my thermometer tops out at 120) that's a 70 + degree gain.


So, cost on these, is 4x8 plywood, 2x4, paint, caulk, silicone, tempered glass assuming it is all bought new probably $100-150. My guesstimate is that in one winter the savings on electricity would be $300-500 depending on the use scenario. Cost on keeping our well/shower house heated to 50 degrees this winter has probably been $60-80, maybe more. To keep it heated to 75 for comfortable shower house temps would have been MUCH higher, easily $200+ as it would require an actual heater, not just the two heat lamps I currently use. Using the solar air heater, I think we'll be able to keep this structure heated to at least 75 on sunny days, for free next winter.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter into Spring

I think we've seen the coldest part of the winter and are on the way to warming and I'm happy for it. Don't get me wrong, I really love the winter. I love the snow and the frozen ground. The still of the frozen lake and the sound of the winter birds, there is a certain peace to a zero degree morning. And there is the comfort of a wood stove and coffee or soup that contrasts with the frozen outdoors. But right now, today, it is 52 degrees and sunny. Our last snow which fell this past week is now gone. I love the muddy mess outside. Love it.

The weather folks on TV say that we're going to have a week straight 50-65 degree days. I know that as soon as the lake has turned to water I will hear my beloved frogs, the Spring Peepers, as they welcome the spring. For me, that is the first day of spring, the day that I first hear the peepers. I expect that I'll hear them tomorrow and I cannot wait.  I've got seeds from Baker Creek Seeds waiting to be planted. I'm going to do a couple tomato and pepper plants early this year, a month earlier than my normal start. Just an experiment to see how early I can go.

I'll soon be missing the cold and the fire but I'll welcome the spring green.