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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Pop Can Solar Furnace

I first read about the pop can solar furnace a few days into the new year. Since this was a relatively easy project, I decided to give it a try in my solarium.

The sun room on the corner of my house isn't especially well insulated, but it does heat up pretty quickly when it gets sunny - often as high as 20C even if it is below 0C outside. I figured if this device worked at all, I could open the sliding door on sunny days and let the free heat spill into the house.

As you can see from the pictures, the build was a little crude, but it used only recycled materials that were on hand and paint that cost about $7. It took about three hours to make, with two helpers working for an hour each cutting the bottoms out of cans.

Since it's been installed, it has been helping to heat up the area and any day that is sunny, the solarium gets to about 25C. The shallow angle of the panel means it isn't working as effectively as it could, so the next one will be built in one of the south-facing windows.

Since the interior of the house is set for about 15C during the day, the solarium boosts it to 19-20C on a sunny day just by opening the door. The next major part of this project is to install a passive duct or solar powered fan that will push the warm air in without having to open the door. If anyone knows of a decent design for a room to room stratification trap, please let me know!
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