Building a solar air collector for a small office in my Home.

Fred Miller Published: May 20, 2019, 11:44 a.m.Last updated: May 21, 2019, 9:29 a.m.

I will probably build a solar panel with layers of black screen. My question is, I have a patio door with a thermal pane in it. Could this be used for the glass cover of the collector?

Responses (1)

Mike Reynolds May 21, 2019, 9:44 a.m. Reply

Hi Fred, 

For a DIY solar air heater that sounds like it would work fine. It may help you even more than a single pane of glass as a thermal pane will keep even more heat inside the box, not to mention that using reclaimed building materials saves money and saves useable materials from ending up in a landfill. So if I understand correctly you are using the layered screen technique to build your panel?

If you do, we would love to have a look at it when you're done, and even during production. You may have seen we have a page on how to build solar panels that also includes how to build a pop can solar heater, or one using downspouts.

The only downside that we find with solar air heaters is storing the heat. If you incorporate thermal mass into it you can get more production from your solar panel, as it will act as a thermal battery.  Since you are building this yourself I assume you have building skills and ingenuity, so I just wanted to pitch you the idea of somehow incorporating mass (stone or brick perhaps) to increase your comfort and efficiency.  You may have seen them already, but below are a few pages on solar air heaters that may be of value to you. good luck, and feel free to send us pics of your construction, we would be happy to do a little feature on it, drop us an email here if that's of interest - info@ecohome.net