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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #51 
What type of glazing is recommended for this double layer screen collector?  Wouldn't double wall polycarbonate work best due to the insulating value?

Just curious what people think.


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Posts: 1,067
Reply with quote  #52 
Welcome to the forum. It's generally thought that twinwall is better in colder climates. You have to weigh the extra insulation value against the extra loss of light transmitted through the second wall as well as the extra cost.

The Build-It-Solar site has a good comparison of the pros and cons:


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

Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #53 
Thanks.  What's the best way to get ahold of either glazing type locally?
Scott Davis

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Posts: 697
Reply with quote  #54 

Suntuf is light, very easy to work with (cut and drill), tolerates high heat, is strong to the elements, inexpensive (less than $20 for a 8 foot X 26 inch piece), UV protected and readily available at most Home Depots.  Tuftex is carried at Lowes and is similar.  If your local Home Depot doesn't have Suntuf in stock, ask them where the closest store is that has Suntuf 8' X 26" clear roofing panel.  The SKU number they'll want is 282688.  If their answer is too far to drive, ask them to order it for you.  Most Home Depots are happy to.

You'll also need screws and wiggle strips.  Those you can order on line yourself from the Home Depot web site if you like.  Here are the links to everything you'll need:

The Glazing (clear, 8' X 26" panel):

The Screws:

And the Wiggle Strips:

Suntuf is a great option for glazing, but it is by no means the only one.  Here is a great list with pros and cons of many glazing options:

Take care, Scott MD

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Posts: 1,845
Reply with quote  #55 
   It's always nice to know where people are from or planning on building as different climates may have different requirements.    Everything already said I agree with but I prefer twin wall because of the insulating properties and because it's flat and easier to work with.  If I was in Florida, well anything south of Tennessee the higher insulation may become an issue when it gets hot. 
  Free glass is nice also but is a lot heavier, hard to cut if necessary, and if it breaks causes more issues.

Posts: 720
Reply with quote  #56 

I use both Twin-wall & plexiglass (generic term) for my glazing. I 're-use' everything & I happen to have both types. The panel looks kinda funky, but I can't justify buying additional glazing (of any type), as long as these pieces work.

Having the twin-wall does really make a difference in very cold weather. This year my local Menards started handling 'H' channel pieces (for twin-wall) that allows multiple sheets to be joined together.

That gives us more options for panel sizes. That being said, it also works fine for my plexiglass.

Tonight I just finished mounting my glazing on my hot water panel.

It's a matter of preferences, but I do like the twin-wall better.

Central IL


Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #57 
So I got to thinking about how to use the Air collector in Summer, as it seems that it might just sit there venting.  Any Ideas?

While I know there are Solar water collectors (a whole nother project) that Scott and others have built that are likely more efficient, what about using the summer sun to heat water via an air to water exchanger that you add on in the summer time.  Maybe using the vents as the in and out, while blocking off the house vents.

ANy ideas to modify/add onto the screen collector to make use of the heat?

NH Jeff
Scott Davis

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Posts: 697
Reply with quote  #58 
Hi Jeff,

Yes, I don't think too many of us have experimented with it, but it is certainly possible to create an air / water heat exchange in your thermal storage tank to use for solar domestic hot water.  Perhaps by blowing the heated air through submerged coroplast or PVC.

Take care, Scott MD

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Posts: 2,240
Reply with quote  #59 

While you could use hot air to warm water, you would need an enormous amount of air !
Generally, this is done by putting finning (lots & lots...) around your water tank.  Not very efficient.

More reasonably, you could use your solar air to feed a conventional hydrodynamic water heater (which has an air compressor in the top).   This would also work in winter, by the way...

Another efficient use of hot air, would be to replace conventional air conditioning: you would save on motor power...  This requires a solar chimney in the house: the idea is, in summer the house warms up, and the hot air rises up to roof (or attic) level.

You use your solar heater output (which will be hotter than the entrapped air...) to blow the warm air out of the house: this in turn will pull cool air in through the bottom of the house.  This cooler air cools the house and picks up excess heat, therefore rises to the top of the house, and is then chased out by incoming HOT solar air from the collector etc.

That's the theory at least.

If the house was not built with such a system in mind, then you could be in for some heavy alterations...

Alternately, you might get away with it, by sacrificing say, an upstairs bedroom or the attic, for use as a heat-pumping volume: said area will get "very hot" though, so would generally be unusable for normal living...


(1)  "Heat goes from hot to cold, there is no directional bias"
(2) It's wrote, "voilĂ " unless talking musical instruments...

Posts: 219
Reply with quote  #60 
I'm building an expermental screen panel and want to do it cheap as possible because it's just I/3 size or my 4x8 tube type which work great, built about 12 and sold 8 a few years ago. The screen design is a little different design than what being built now. Question is has anyone used 2 layers of the plastic filim that is used to cover windows in winter to keep the draft out. It will just be a throw away, and I only have to buy screen and filim as I have everything else. I want to compare it to my tube type, but I can't see it being as good, but got to try.
Some of you may have seen my panels a few years ago when I came up with the flexible aluminum tube type solar panels.
Google Wayne langille solar panels and it should come up, if not something about my trike bodies I built.

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