free heat

i’ve been thinking of building one for my house (easy and cheap to build)

I have a similar set up on my roof. The roof primarily faces due south and has solar air collectors (basically corrugated steel with glazing). Then under the house is a 4ft deep insulated box full of medium size rocks (grapefruit to water melon size) capped with a concrete slab. A fans blow the heated air through the rocks during the day. At night the heat radiates up into the house. The fan is controlled with a differential controller.

I live in a fairly temperate area (Foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in CA) and its usually sunny. On a winter day with 50’F highs and nigh time lows in 20s, the solar set up takes care of all our heating needs, and with all the vents closed so all the heat goes to the rock mass, we still may want to open a window for a bit to dump some extra heat, and air out the house a bit.

Anytime its cloudy we burn wood in our freestanding wood stove. I usually burn about one cord per winter (of mixed wood, mostly junk wood from cutting back trees on my rental properties…I actually accumulate more wood each season then I burn, so my wood pile keeps growing.) Not bad for a 2200 Sq.Ft. house.

As far as adding a collector to an existing home…I think the primary consideration is the orientation of the roof.

I have just abandoned my solar water heating system (Reynolds Glycerol Aluminum Panels) when the new roof was installed.
I will let you know in a year what the cost differential is.

Thanks Patrick for the idea and Eugene for the info and Joe for his Post.
This is great info and good ideas be interesting to see how this all works out .
Much appreciated… Roy

Has any one have much experience on Water heater heat pumps .
Good or bad in a cooler climate ???.. Thanks … Roy

Google earth tubes for more heating/cooling ideas too… Roy

Wow can we se pictures, this is once sweet setup :shock:

also magnetic motors, they are sweet

Here is the picture of the glazing. The house also has passive solar heating design elements. The eaves/overhang are configured where windows on the south facing side of the home as shaded in the summer but let sunlight enters in the winter (when the sun is lower in the sky).


Love these idea’s unfortunately I have no room on my south facing roof .
8,000 watt solar collectors

[quote=“pmassie, post:1, topic:92028”]

i’ve been thinking of building one for my house (easy and cheap to build)


Found this Information

Solar water heaters
All solar heaters supplement an electric heater in basically the same way:
A roof-mounted collector absorbs the sun’s heat and transfers it to an antifreeze-like fluid in a closed-loop system that runs to the water tank.
The collector is typically a flat panel or an array of glass cylinders called evacuated tubes.
The best delivered stellar savings in summer, making them an attractive option for warm, sunny areas.
But savings suffered on cold and cloudy days.
And even with federal and local rebates, the thousands you’ll typically spend to buy and install one can mean you’ll wait anywhere from 10 to 30 years before their savings pay for their costs.

I had solar water heating as well but it was an older system that heated water directly. This may be ok in areas like coastal CA and FL where freezing is a very rare event, it was disastrous in my area where we freeze nightly for a couple months. The system that kept the panels from freezing proved unreliable and internal pipes split when the panels would freeze. I did several repairs but eventually I just shut the system down.
Because most of the system is in place, I have thought about updating the system but the costs involved are pretty high.
The hot waster heater I have is specially built for solar hot water heating. It is original, and the house was built in 1980. 34 years and still functional with no major rust or issues…pretty impressive. When the water heater finally fails, we might spend a bit extra and rework the solar water heating system with a heat exchange that pumps antifreeze and handle my climate.
I am in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains so we get more than 300 days of sun a year. Solar really makes financial sense here compared to most places.

I would be tempted to add some things and convert it to a self draining system Low cost .Send me your phone number and a time for me to call and I will explain how … Roy

I have had better luck with my hot tub solar system. I had an older hot tub that had issues with the pump and heater, so I capped all the pipes that lead to the jets. Then I hooked up a small pump from the filter and circulated water through two panels and back to the tub. The pump is controlled by a differential controller. The panels are higher than the tub so when the pump shuts off the water all drains out of the panels so freezing is not an issue. This set up costs only couple bucks a month to operate. Used panels are pretty easy to find so a set up like this is a pretty affordable project which would have a very quick payback compared to heating a hot tub with conventional means.

If some does this and needs to get air into the top of the system to help it drain go to the box store and get a Lawn sprinkler system Drain a bout $5.00 and a T put it in the top of the system .This will do fine you are using it in reverse just letting air in when the pump is off .

At this point the panels are pretty far gone. I have looked at upgrading it to more modern design drain down system, but I don’t have room for the extra tank in the utility room. Its not an impossible task but it will be a project…and there are other projects right now that take priority.

I think the issue is, the way my home water heating system is designed, jut the water pressure of the home pushes water up into the panels. There is a pump but even when the pump is off, the panels have water in them.

The hot tub system has an air admittance valve and it works perfectly, and I have not had any issues with freezing. When the pump is off there is no water pressure like in the home system.

Two simple solenoids will fix that .or even one with a check valve at the pump should also work

Good ideas Roy. I will look into it.

Our generation has a great chance to use solar energy. Using solar energy helps us save on out monthly elctricity bills , so why not to use it.