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roaddog

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Reply with quote  #1 
will remove skirting on southern wall and replace with clear corrugated polycarbonate set at a 60* angle.   Would this create enough passive solar heat in the crawl space to make it worthwhile.? 

gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #2 
Welcome roaddog!

By itself, no, as the polycarbonate itself does nothing. Also, unless the rest of the skirting is insulated, you have no way to hold any heat you happen to capture. Even if you were to replace all of the skirting with insulation panels(not a bad idea), you may have ventilation issues come warmer months.

However...you could make yourself a very nice solar heater with a low profile to fit, or replace the south skirting. It wouldn't be to warm the underside behind the skirting, but you could connect the ducting into the home directly. A nice example of a 2' high collector can be found here:

http://simplysolar.supporttopics.com/post/don-cs-new-2x16-zeropass-collector-8071547?&trail=10

Yours could be sized differently, but the concept would be the same. These heaters put out a lot of heat on a sunny day, and every bit helps. My furnace only has to run in the early morning on a sunny day, as the solar heater keeps adding warmth to the house that last until the next morning. 

Greg in MN[wave]
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Roaddog and welcome to the forum!

Agree with Greg in that the polycarbonate won't do much by itself. While it will let the sun into the crawlspace (good), you have to keep it there. Unless you insulate the rest of the skirting you're wasting time and money. Then there's the summer ventilation problem.

Another issue is that the floor of your mobile home is probably already insulated. This will hamper heat moving from the crawlspace into the home where you want it.

However I DO like your idea of using otherwise wasted space as a solar collector. Think on it some more.

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Willie, Tampa Bay
roaddog

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Reply with quote  #4 
gentlemen, Thank you for your responses.  I see your reservations and agree with them.  I felt any increase in the temp underneath the trailer would benefit. I did run heavy duty plastic sheeting behind the skirting on the north and east sides (which are most exposed).  My original plan was to build a passive solar collector on the south wall, but I wondered if a  lean to greenhouse type addition might add simplicity to the project .  I will still look at  building a solar collector to which I can always add duct work to reroute the airflow indoors.   Thank you for taking the time to help my thought process along.  In the end this sharing of experience and creativity will be equal to million dollar projects in green technology.
SolarInterested

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by roaddog
... My original plan was to build a passive solar collector on the south wall, but I wondered if a  lean to greenhouse type addition might add simplicity to the project .
Not sure exactly if this is what you had in mind but it might be an interesting read for you:
http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Sunspace/sunspaces.htm


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Both temperature rise and airflow are integral to comparing hot air collectors
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #6 
30 some years ago I skirted my house, and added fiberglass insulation on the inside of the skirt.  It seemed to help, as the floor was NOT insulated.   Styrofoam or polyiso might be better today.

Next problem is getting the heat into the mobile home.  Most MHs have the heat/ac ducts underneath, possibly you could use them to distribute the warm air during the day.

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Willie, Tampa Bay
zenpadre

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Reply with quote  #7 
i've been thinking about this same issue for a few years now as I live in the mountains in So Cal. and believe it or not we can get feet of snow here and lose power for days. Two issues I'm trying to solve with this are 1.) Floor of mobile home is very cold in the winter, and 2.) Worried about pipes freezing during power outage.
The solution I'm 99% set to implement is along these lines:
1. Solar air heater along these lines: Solar Air Heater! - The "Screen Absorber" Solar Air Heater! 
2. Fan - ARCTIC F8 - 80 mm Standard Low Noise Case Fan - Black/silver - Fluid Dynamic Bearing - Innovative Design 
3. Power - ECO-WORTHY 12 Volts 5 Watts Portable Power Solar Panel Battery Charger Backup for Car Boat Batteries 
4. Fan Control - RioRand 12V DC Digital Cooling/Heating Thermostat Temp Control -50-110 °c Temperature Controller 10A Relay With Waterproof Sensor Probe 
Some of this was inspired by this video - DIY Solar Air Heater Part #1
Any suggestions/feedback from the experts/enthusiasts here will be happily and greatly appreciated.

 
 
roaddog

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Reply with quote  #8 
zenpadre,   I think you're miles ahead of me on this but I'll share my thoughts.  My first question was  if they use attic fans to move heat why don't they recommend crawl space fans to remove cold.  So in one section of the north-east side of my trailer skirting  I placed a  screen behind which is a simple fan.  This draws out that cold dead air.  On the south side I have so far  covered the skirting with the clear polycarbonate.  The center panel of skirting was removed and replaced with a nice metal screen.  Any air drawn into the crawl space must now travel along the south wall between the polycarbonate and skirting.  At the base of the trailer I placed gravel and paving stones to help draw and retain heat.  A thermometer on the southern skirting beneath the poly  usually reaches 110-120*  As to how much this will help in winter I don't know,  but it is definitely a more comfortable temperature  under the trailer.  I  believe this should translate to some comfort/savings over time. 
      I know your trying to address additional issues, i.e. power outages, so I think the solar fan sounds more practical.    I wish you luck and please keep me informed.  I happened to see some solar powered fans at Harbor Freight Stores  this week so I may upgrade in the spring.
                                       
                                              
gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #9 
Zen-

As others mentioned, use insulated skirting to retain as much of the heat you capture as possible. Especially since the solar heater only works during a sunny day. You might need to retain enough heat for a day or two. Best results would be to draw intake air from the floor of the mobile home(NOT THE CRAWL SPACE), out through the heater, and back into the mobile home.

Your setup items look fine. The fan/panel choice will depend on the size of the collector. And a simple $5 snap switch will also work to turn the unit on and off when the collector is warm enough. In any case, you will have heat should the power go out as long as the sun is shining. 

Greg in MN


roaddog

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Reply with quote  #10 
SolarInterested,  Thank you for the link.  http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Sunspace/sunspaces.htm  
I found EXACTLY what I was trying to visualize.   I'm amazed at how much can be achieved by sites like this where good people share solutions .
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