Solar Energy Heat      

This is one of the easiest projects to get free solar heat. It involves materials you can buy at the store and tools that most do it your selfers own.

First you need to find south (north for the southern hemisphere) facing windows. This is easy in the winter since the sun is low in the sky and beams in those windows. You have probably already noticed the warmth coming in with the sunlight. You can harvest and amplify that heat several ways.


First, to help explain what we are doing I will describe a very simple way to acqurie solar heat. Have a storm window installed on a winter sun window so it is completely sealed. Caulk it well and close it snugly. Slightly open the top and bottom of the regular window in the house. Adjust those openings until you feel a slight breeze of warm air coming out the top. That is free heat!

Now that you understand the concept try something bigger. I like this solution since it adds a window you can grow plants in year round and produces heat in the winter. To do this you put in a green house window on the winter sun facing side (S in N Hemisphere; N in S Hemisphere). This requires a window replacement and most likely some modification of the wall area to fit the greenhouse window. Green house windows protrude on the outside of the house and come in many sizes. On the inside of the window use two pieces of ridgid plastic that slide so you will be able to get to the plants inside of the greenhouse window and control the flow of heat into the house.

In the house shown to the right the second floor windows produce the greenhouse heat. There are many variations to the green house window including a wall of windows and a walk in greenhouse. I go over more passive solutions that are built into this house. Look for passive solar house designs on the menu.


Now let's take a look at a custom window heater that does not take up the entire window and can be easily removed. As you can see in the diagram it protrudes from the windo toward the ground at an angle to maximize solar gain.  It runs on convection although some people extend the vents to floor and near ceiling and put a small, slow speed fan in the duct. Too fast a fan and you will not get any heat gain that you can feel so make sure the fan is able to be adjusted so you can set the speed for optimun heat output.

This solution can be in many configurations including built onto an outside wall, not over a window but the vent are cut through the wall top and bottom. Look for more designs in the solar heat kit section.

Hot water can be heated passively. Look at the portable shower. The black tank heats up water. On a hot day you can create a lot of hot water this way.

Simple enough for you? Passive Solat Heat Kits are simple solutions you can do at low cost and near zero operating expense. More solutions are in our Solar Heat Kit category.
ASES American Solar Energy Association
Contributed by Stephen Cheatham
Lifetime Member
American Solar Energy Association (ASES)