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apewrangler

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Reply with quote  #1 
So, what is something thin and fairly light that I could put inside a typical shallow air heater that could store up some heat and extend the useful window of my heater?  What about that cement backer board used when installing tile?  Ceramic tile?

SolarInterested

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Spam Stomper
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Reply with quote  #2 
Generally you don't want to store heat in the collector. This might be an interesting read for you:
http://www.iedu.com/Solar/Panels/#Absorber

"I’d like to emphasize as strongly as possible that the goal is to warm the air and not any part of the panel itself – and that in an ideal solar heating panel, only the air would be heated."

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gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #3 
Andy-

In a way you CAN store any heat that you add to your home. Every item in your house, whether furniture, flooring, walls, ceiling all absorb the heat you bring inside. For example, I bring my heated air into my unfinished basement, which has open floor joists. The heated air is absorbed into the joists, subfloor and hardwood flooring. This makes the floor above warmer underfoot. Wood is one of the best at retaining heat. The warmed objects or structure give off this gained heat slowly over many hours. On a sunny day, my furnace runs for a little while early in the morning until the sun activates the solar heaters. On most days, this would be the only time the furnace runs the entire day! Obviously, on a cloudy day your heater may not active at all. But even with a little hazy or partly cloudy day you will gain some heat. Remember too, that the coldest days are normally the sunniest!

Any stored heat inside the collector will have added to the time the collector runs at the end of the day, but the collector will take much longer to warm up in the morning. So you are not really adding to the effectiveness of your heater. About the only place I have heard where adding mass to a collector is in a place like India and Africa, where they use solar heaters for drying food. But the big difference is the climate is so much hotter and doesn't cool very much during the night. 

Greg in MN
apewrangler

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Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks for the info. I was kinda wondering if the time it took to heat up any material in the box would neutralize any gain later in the day, especially if you don't cover the glaze with insulation when you lose sunlight every day.
gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #5 
You don't cover the collector, but you do want to make sure you have a back flow valve or a way to keep air from siphoning air through the collector all night long.

Greg in MN
terrefirma

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Reply with quote  #6 
I live in a 1927 house with NO insulation built using terra cotta block. It seems to retain the heat and slowly release it at night but that could be my imagination. I always felt like stone was used for similar effect, is that not true?
gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #7 
Terrafirma-

Good question! It is true that a stone, brick and adobe homes do absorb heat during the day and release it at night. But the absorbed heat is on the EXTERIOR of your home. But imagine for a moment if all the doors and windows on your home were left open all night long in freezing temps. How long do you think it would take to warm all that mass inside the house to a comfortable temperature? A solar collector box sits outside all night, so it will be the same as the outside air temperature by morning. With very little mass, a collector box heats up very quickly once the sun hits glazing the surface. This allows warmed air to begin flowing into your home in just a few minutes. Once the sun goes down a solar heater will simply turn off until the next sunny day.

Yes, you can extend how long the fan runs air into your home if there was some mass such as rock inside the collector box. But the added time would be rather short compare to the delay in the morning to heat up a mass of frozen rocks. The inside of your home has a LOT of mass. And when a solar heaters has been adding what is essentially free heat every sunny day, all of the mass of the interior of your home will slowly cool down over several hours.

Greg in MN
Silverback

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Posts: 174
Reply with quote  #8 
I've seen some older solar hot air systems that would try to store some of the heat coming in from the panel by blowing it through a large container of stones as a heat sink. The stones were in the basement instead of the panel. There have also been discussions on this site about capturing the incoming heat in water which can hold much more heat than stone. Good luck. 
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stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #9 
And then you have an ARETHA-Molinari!

https://m.facebook.com/Aretha-Project-307885346030194/?fref=ts

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JohnGuest

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Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #10 
I`ve used 30 tons of clay for the last 7 years to store excess heat from the greenhouse above it. This winter i`ll be adding a 20ft x 5ft solar air heater on a sunny SSE facing fence to enhance the daily (sensible) heat gain.
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