Solar energy is an Earth-friendly way to heat your home or your garage. You’ll see more than a few reasons to venture into solar energy as an energy source for your home: it’s renewable, it can be cost effective, and perhaps the driving reason for most homeowners looking into this energy source, it’s environmentally friendly. Better yet, if you create your very own DIY solar heater, you’re cutting down on the cost, labor, and environmental impact involved with other styles of heaters and those that are manufactured.
Do-It-Yourself Route: Which Solar Heater Style Will You Build?
There are a few types of DIY solar heaters you can build that won’t demand genius-level handyman skills to achieve the final product. Here are a few popular ones that are easy to accomplish, require just a little bit of know-how, and supplies that aren’t difficult or expensive to obtain.
Popular Pop Cans: The Pop Can Solar Heater
This DIY solar heater has been making rounds on the Internet because it’s simple to create and the bulk of the supplies are ones you can collect or easily come across—pop cans. If you are able to collect anywhere between 50-80 pop cans, then you can build a solar heater.
To make this solar heater, you’ll need to empty, clean, and dry the soda cans. Next, remove the tops and drill holes in the bottom so air can flow through them. The pop cans will be housed in a shallow wooden box, one that you can build easily with some cheap lumber, designed to hold about 5 rows of 10 cans. Once the cans are in place in rows, caulk the seams. Next, paint the pop cans with heat absorbent black paint and glue them in place.
Designs for a DIY solar heater differ slightly in the way the solar energy is then harnessed, but the basic premise remains the same. You could build an identical wooden frame and paint it with the same high-heat black paint, installing manifolds with inlet and outlet vents to harness the energy. Another method would be to recycle old shop vacuum parts to create an air disperser, and these PVC pipes would insert into your pop can box to collect and utilize the full sun heat.
While the pop can solar heater is a simple and cheap way to heat your garage, you’ll only really be able to enjoy its heat when the sun is out. This makes the heater a passive one. The sun’s rays pass through the aluminum’s insulation and black heat absorbent paint and with the air flow through the drilled holes and close placement to the garage’s window, the air inside of the cans rises and travels upward. This action pushes the warmed air outward, thus heating up your garage.
Go Big: A Solar Air Convection Heater for Your Garage
If the small-scale solar heater of the pop can contraption isn’t large enough for your envisioned toasty garage paradise, consider this larger solar powered heater. Yes, you’ll need more materials and it’ll take more time to construct, but the results will surely be worth it.
This project is a perfect DIY challenge, originally introduced by Mother Earth News. You’ll need plenty of lumber (2×8, 2×6, 2×4, and 2×2), along with plexiglass or glass, a black aluminum window screen, caulking, paint, and screws. You’ll need common tools like a staple gun as well.
Essentially, you’ll be making a box with your lumber, one that will be mounted to the side of your garage—i.e. the space you want to be heated. You’ll be painting the wood first, then mounting the boards against the garage wall. Afterward, mount the aluminum screen into your newly built wooden box. When mounting the wood against the wall side, be sure to use a level and floor jack to keep everything straight. Use lag screws to secure the wood. Seal the box on the inside with foam (the same product designed to seal windows and doors that you’d find in any old hardware store).
Next, you’ll cut out holes in the wall so you can heat up your garage with the harnessed solar energy. You’ll be making a vent at the bottom and the top, one for each stud section. You’ll then install the black metal window screen and its two layers to box’s wood inserts, securing the screen with your staple gun. You may need to trim the excess with a utility knife. Then, install glazing and seal it. You can use corrugated PVC, which can be purchased at a low cost.
Although this seems like a daunting project, it doesn’t require serious handyman skills, just some time and maybe around $100-$150 in your overall costs for materials. You’ll be heating your garage in no time.
A Different DIY: Buy a Solar Heater
Not particularly handy? You’re not alone, and there’s no reason why you should stand around in a cold garage. Solar heaters are available to buy online and all that’s left for you to do is mount them.
Solar Infra Systems is an Internet favorite manufacturer of solar space heaters and their portable interior and exterior heaters are easily mounted to walls, windows, or stands. So, if you aren’t sure you can take on a DIY solar heater project, there’s always the option of buying a panel and enjoying the same results.
Garage Makeovers are Done Every Season
No matter the season, Danley’s is available to build custom size garages. If you are looking to add more space for your cars, then consider getting a two or three-car garage. You can choose from our popular styles such as gable garage, hip roof garage, and reverse gable garage. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote right now.