Did you know you can heat up your home in winter for free using the natural resource of the sun? After a minimal outlay of less than $100.00 you can have continuous warm air flowing in to your home. The Technology is so simple when explained. Pick the sunniest side of your house.

In the middle of winter you still get the sun shining.

By making a rectangular box placed against an open window you can have warm air flowing in to your home all day long.

This is a best kept secret; many old houses are kept warm using this technique.

The Principal – You know that your car gets very hot when it is left sitting in the sun, heating your House this way works on the same principle except that the air constantly flows through a heating box rather than being closed up like in your car.

The Design – You will need to make a rectangular box, the length is determined by how far it is from your window opening to the ground.

It should be the width of the sunniest window in winter. One end of the box will fit your window opening and the other end will be open sitting on the ground.

The Higher the window the bigger the box can be but keep in mind this design is dynamite for pushing hot air into your house so you will need to incorporate a flap that can be managed from inside the house.

A series of vents (adjustable) scavenged from a car at your local car wreckers make ideal outputs but you may need six or more preferably from the same type of car to keep it aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Make your box about 30 CMs (12 inches) thick for a single story house. For arguments sake let’s say it should sit at a 40 degree angle, the steeper the angle the faster the air input.

The sun sits lower in the sky during winter and you may need to adjust the angle to suit the relative arc of the sun during these months.

Fit some wire netting or even shade cloth over the bottom end to stop unwanted rodents, insects etc.

The top surface of the box will be glass or Perspex and the inside of the box will be painted with black paint to attract heat from the sun.

If you use Perspex make sure that it is UV stabilised otherwise it will go yellow and eventually start to crack and fall apart.

Line the internal sides with silver foil, the sun will reflect off the silver foil to give it extra oomph.

Wire mesh can be used to protect the glass from stray objects such as your neighbours kids football or hailstones, use wire mesh no smaller than 1 cm any object falling on to the glass smaller than that is unlikely to cause damage unless it is dropped from a height and keep the mesh off the glass by at least two inches.

Finally you should make the lid hinged to give you access to the inside of the box for maintenance.

Spider webs, dust and dirt will accumulate over time so you will need ready access.

If the Hot box begins to lose efficiency check that the bottom opening is not obscured by foreign objects or grass and weeds.

A 12 volt fan from a car heater mounted inside the box and connected to a solar panel will add extra flow if you really want to get it pumping.

Run some good quality wiring in conduit to a switch inside the house from the fan to give it a remote on/off, you will not need an Electrical certificate as it is only 12 Volts and quite safe.

If you consider yourself fairly handy most of this project can be done by using a little common sense and materials purchased from your local hardware shop or even scavenged from the Tip which will in turn reduce land fill and give you that extra sense of accomplishment.

Some nifty paintwork (if you are handy with a brush) on the outside or simply paint it with earth colours to match the environment will give it that professional look.

There is no limit to what you can do if you use your imagination.

How it works.

Hot air rises, as the sun heats the box hot air inside will be sucked up as the temperature increases.

A naturally occurring vacuum will be pushing hot air into your house at an amazing rate. You will have to block it off or close the vents when it gets too hot.

Obviously this stops when the sun has passed over but by then your house should be snug and warm.

All of this is fruitless of course if you do not have sufficient ceiling and wall insulation. A well insulated house will retain warmth for well over 24 hours.

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