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Guilfreehotwater

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #21 
I made a solar air collector years ago but I had some problems with it as during the little bit cooler nights I got some damp in there and I had black mold growing in there so for myself I wouldn't do it again but I go at the closed-loop glycol system that works very well. What part of the country do you live? I use evacuated tubes now I am after much practice Cobra last 10 years I find that the back way tubes are very Superior the trouble is is getting them for a reasonable price

Gordy

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Posts: 137
Reply with quote  #22 
TNWillie,

Late to the party, sorry ;-(  But you mentioned a south facing door and storm door. Mine leads into the living room and almost never gets used for it's intended purpose. What I did was to mount curtain rods to the top and bottom of the main door (between the two door's), and mount black fleece between the rod's. I bought some 3.5 inch 24 volt computer fans at a flea market for 50 cents each and 2- 7 watt solar panels from Northern Tool on a door buster sale for under $20 each, and a snap disk switch on at 85f off at 80f for $5 on eBay. I cut a hole at the top and another at the bottom of the main door to fit the fans and used magnets to mount the plastic sheets that act as dampers to clover the holes and stop reverse flow at night and cloudy days. That was 11 years ago and it still heats the house enough to keep the furnace from turning on (on sunny day's) from 9:30am to 4 or 4:30pm when it is -10f outside [smile]  Over the years it has saved a lot of propane [biggrin] 

The rod's and fleece are easily taken down and rolled up when not needed. I also cut a hole in the fleece for the door knob, so the door is usable if needed. The fleece did start to fade after a few years, so I gave it a coat of flat black paint. And if you have a removable screen on the storm door remove it, as it will trap heat against the glass that will transfer to the outside. My storm door has the screen on the lower glass and would read 25f degrees warmer than the glass above it with no screen.

I have a electronic indoor/outdoor thermometer with the outdoor probe at the top between the two doors. I can see 120f to 130f air temp in there with the fans running on a sunny day. I have 2 metal bi-fold closet doors with full length mirrors mounted to them for a size of 6 foot square. If I lay them out to redirect the sun to the door the thermometer shows OL (over limit is at 155F). A non-contact thermometer has shown the fleece it self as high as 285f, when the other is showing OL.

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Gordy,
Minnesota
TNWillie

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #23 
Hey Gordy,
Thanks a LOT for responding with such detailed information!!  I have no doubt that I'll be putting it to use in the months ahead.
Willie

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I believe that common sense has become so uncommon that it should be considered a super power. Funny, I agree, but pretty sad too.
gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #24 
Morning condensation inside a collector is common. Black mold forming inside is not. Did the mold form during the heating season? Condensation dissipates quickly once the sun hits the collector face. Having a back flow damper will reduce the morning condensation quite a bit. The damper also keep the collector from reverse syphoning and drawing out the warm air out of the house at night. 

Seasonally, I would make sure the collector was very dry inside before sealing it from any air intrusion until the following season. In any case, mold forming in the collector is something I have never seen nor heard of.

Greg in MN
Gordy

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Posts: 137
Reply with quote  #25 
TNWillie,

No problem [smile] I am here to learn and share what works for me.

I realize this may not be the best collector design, but it has worked well for me being 50 miles west of Minneapolis MN. And did not cost a lot to do. On the coldest sunny day's it well keep the house 1/2 degree above the set point of the furnace thermostat, on warmer days it may raise the house 5-7 degrees above the set point. We did use it for a couple years as a semi-passive heater, by watching the thermometer and opening the door a bit (at 90f) and feeling the bottom of the opening for cold air coming in. Cold air coming in meant that it was open too far, but could be opened farther as the collector temp got higher. We hated to go to town when the sun was shining as we had to lock the door which shut the heater off [frown] so the fan set up was added and no worries about wasting that beautiful sun shine any more [smile] I have been thinking of a way to cover the glass of the storm door with sink window film for the double pain efficiency, but still leave the door usable for it's intended use if needed.

Other than the holes in the door, there is no ducting in my setup. The ceiling fan is left on low speed to stir the air and let the natural warm and cool air flow do the rest.

To expand on the screen comment I made. On windows where the sun can shine through remove the screens. We have half screens on our windows and light tan carpet. I noticed the light was dimmer where it shined through the screen on the carpet, with the non-contact thermometer the carpet with the screened light was 7 degrees cooler than the un-screened area of the carpet. The screens were making heat outside of the house[frown]

One thing I did on the conservation side that has really paid off greatly with both heating and cooling. Was to build 1" x 2" wood frames 1/2 " smaller than the window sills. These frames are covered on both sides with 3M shrink window film and 3/8" high x 3/4" wide foam tape on the edges, to seal it to the window sill's. light duty drawer handle were added about a foot from the bottom of the frame's to make removal easy if needed. This gives me 2 dead air spaces, and depending on the outside temp the window film will read 25f to 30f warmer than the bare double pained window next to it. Rather than building one of these for the big north facing sliding glass patio door, I covered it with bubble wrap (an idea from builditsolar.com) It blocks the view but still lets light in, and gives the same temp difference as the framed widow film. Prior to this I could feel the cold air cascading down the glass and across the floor.

So far I have cut my propane use in half [biggrin] 



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Gordy,
Minnesota
TNWillie

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #26 
Hello again Gordy,
I have a few more questions after rereading your response a few times. Some will be slightly off topic but worth asking you and/or anyone else that might be able to answer them.
It dawned on me this afternoon that my near term plans include covering up the door that I was going to use for solar heat generation. However, I have another heat related project I'd like some help with.
What would I need to automate the opening and closing of a horizontal window based upon temperature? More specifically, I would like to turn on a linear actuator when the ambient temp reaches, say, 85 degrees to open the window. Then, I'd like the actuator to close the window when the temp drops to, say, 80 degrees.
Ideally, I'd like to also be able to operate the actuator manually using a 3 position switch.
Do you or anyone else reading this thread have any ideas or advice they can respond with? Even a link to a more appropriate forum or website would be helpful.
Thanks again and have a good week,
Willie


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I believe that common sense has become so uncommon that it should be considered a super power. Funny, I agree, but pretty sad too.
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #27 
Depending on how the actuator is wired and whether it has limit switches it could get complicated, though I think one of these could do it. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OXPE8U6/ref=asc_df_B00OXPE8U65154564/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=395033&creativeASIN=B00OXPE8U6&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167130088685&hvpos=1o21&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7059482362914296732&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9012083&hvtargid=pla-307270368428

A snap switch in theory could do it, but they have a differential of 10-20F or so. If that's ok, wire the snap switch to pull in a dpdt relay. "On" runs the actuator one way, "off" the other. You'd still need limit switches though.

I'd look at automotive seat or window actuators, they're probably less expensive.

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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
TNWillie

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Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #28 
From one Willie to another, Thanks!  I think that controller would be an excellent way to go and for a lot cheaper than I anticipated. 4 1/2 stars from over 400 reviews is very comforting as well.
I agree that the actuator would need limit switches.  I also considered a power window system from JC Whitney, etc but figured an actuator would probably be stronger and have the benefit of running on 120 VAC.
Willie

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I believe that common sense has become so uncommon that it should be considered a super power. Funny, I agree, but pretty sad too.
Gordy

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Posts: 137
Reply with quote  #29 
Willie, Tampa Bay,

The snap switch I use in my door collector was advertised as having a 5-7 degree differential between on and off. My thermometer agrees with that when the fan's start to cycle on & off.

That link you posted should work and has the benefit of being adjustable. The snap switch I got is not adjustable and was $5 with shipping. But I wanted to run my fans on 24 volt solar, and keep it simple enough that I could fix it.

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Gordy,
Minnesota
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #30 
Inkbird and others have 24v thermostats, check Amazon and Ebay.

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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
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