Has anyone used solar space heaters?

janemarie5October 9, 2004

I saw a website where you can buy 2 x 4 solar space heaters for around $239.00. Wondering if anyone has one and how they work. Would mount to 2 daughters b/r window to supplement heating.

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Sounds interesting, I've been considering a solar wall heater but would like to know more about something a little more portable. Can you provide the website?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2004 at 11:40AM
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This is what I found. Sounds really interesting and for 239.00 I thought it might be worth a try if someone had some positive feedback. Its not very attractive but on bitter cold days don't think I will really care if its supplementing the heat and it really works. Curious to know if anyone has any experience with these or knows anyone who does.

Here is a link that might be useful: portable solar heaters

    Bookmark   October 9, 2004 at 1:41PM
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I have a solar heat box on my roof...My dad bought it back in the mid 80's when he owned the house..I heat with wood through the winter so it don't save me much once I get the wood burner fired up (hard to control wood heat)..BUT..This thing has more than payed for itself several times over because in the spring and fall when its too warm for a constant fire this thing kicks on and takes th chill of in the morning...
I would think it would save a great deal for those that heat with gas or a thermostic controlled wood burner..

All of my neihgbors have had their funaces running now for 3 weeks on and off and mine has only kicked on one day that was cold and rainy...This solar box will even come on sometimes with a cloudy overcast that we often get in the snowy season...I think the box I have is like 3ft high and 6-8ft long...


    Bookmark   October 26, 2004 at 12:04PM
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Mowerman1193, is yours like ones similar to the website I linked in previous post? Do you have a vent into the ceiling in a room? Just trying to visual what yours is in comparision to what I see on the market now. I did buy one of the window panels (2x4) that attach to window with suction cups (see website above). It was $49.00 - today is the first sunny day since I received and it is quite warm to the touch in comparison to the windows. Can't quite gauge yet if it is heating the room so to speak. Will know by the end of the day. Thanks for any feedback.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2004 at 12:44PM
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No mine is not like those...In fact I searched google the other day trying to find one like I have and I didn't see anything really like mine...A friend found the ones linked below which is very simular to what I have..Other than mine is larger and is roof mounted...I have a blower on mine and a air intake from one end of the house and heat exauhst in the other end...If you want I could take some pictures of the box mounted on my roof...I have no idea whats inside the box or anyhing but I will probably find out in the next year or so as I want to replace my shingles and will have to take this down..That is why I was looking for what I have because if they are not too much money I will hook up another one...


Here is a link that might be useful: Hot Box Solar

    Bookmark   October 26, 2004 at 8:08PM
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Thank you so much for the response and link. A picture would be nice but only if not too much trouble. We continue to have problems getting heat to daughters new bedroom of addition. Furnace is not big enough and only 7 years old so not replacing it. Frustrated as my husband said it was barely big enough to heat home as is. I did not have a significant other at the time of purchase and do not remember any sort of questions regarding size or asking if possibility of addition of future. Blame solely lies with me but wish I was alittle more informed regarding BTU's etc and felt like the guy didn't just make the decision for me.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2004 at 6:15AM
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janemarie5 . . . do you have any more "info" as to whether or not you are happy with your heater ? The web site gave little real info; sounds to me like it's meant more as supplemental heat as opposed to truly heating in the basic sense. Would like to hear any further comments you have about it . .. .


    Bookmark   November 3, 2004 at 7:30AM
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RCMjr, I have not purchased the heater, was just looking for feedback to see if anyone else did. It looks cumbersome so I wanted to make sure people were happy with it. But I did buy the Interior Radiant Heating Panel for $49.00 on this website. I attached to south facing interior window. Not especially attactive but does get quite warm on sunny day. It is very warm to the touch. I wouldn't say it warms the room as the room is larger than what it says it will heat. But of course its cold cloudy days that are going to be the problem. I have not solved my problem yet and would love suggestions. Still thinking of putting Pellet Stove in unfinished basement below bedroom as alternative. Stepdaughter grumbling tonight again about how cold the room is. Better figure this out soon!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 5:51PM
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Thanks for feedback . . . I suspect that on the interior panel that you bought . ..performance will be hindered by . . . . "good" windows . . ie those that have coatings or such that are intended to REFLECT the sun's rays . . and that is precisely what the inside window unit needs to operate. Is your particular window that it's in a low-e glass or such ? ?

About putting a pellet ( or anything else ) stove in the unfinished basement . . . if unfinished means uninsulated; then consider that concrete / block or whatever; is a HUGE heatsink . . . and while you may warm the floor some; MOST of the heat generated will be absorbed into terra firma through the concrete / blocks . . . it's a big planet to heat . . .


    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 6:56PM
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I couldn't tell you exact specs on windows. It is a new addition with Harvey windows. Our unfinished basement was insulated (ceiling and 1/2 walls that were exposed) when we had them come to insulate the new living area. We were thinking we would cut grates into floor from above into girls b/r and f/r. Still haven't decided how we are going to solve this heating problem but I do understand what you are saying. That was one solution. We really don't want pellet stove in upper level as it will sit there 12 months a year and be in the way. I think we will pass on solar heater as we need heat on cold dark nights so that is not going to help!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 6:23AM
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Jane marie 5, where is the portable solar heater on the page you referenced? I don't understand how this works. Thanks for additional detail.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 10:30AM
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When you click on my above link on the very top left of page it says "portable heaters" click on that and will take you there.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 12:17PM
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This isn't a solar alternative regarding your heating problem, but have you looked into the Monitor heaters or something similiar. I believe they are more like space heaters and they run off propane or kerosene... they aren't supposed to give off odors and I don't believe that they need to be vented. A pellet stove would probably work nicely too though.

Good luck! :)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 8:36PM
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Ok, I just went and checked out the prices on the monitor heaters...they're probably a bit more than you want...over $1000 dollars.... but, I have heard that they heat well....

I have seen space heaters at Home Depot & Lowe's that you can use with propane or kerosene and I know that they were less than that. If you have one of those nearby you might want to look at what they have if you prefer not using pellets.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2004 at 9:17PM
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They have one for $239.00 on site as I mentioned. I have already resolved problem and was just looking to see if anyone had tried one. Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 8:04AM
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when I go to your link, i see the following links but nothing for "portable heaters." ?

Solar air heaters · Thermal/radiant barrier fabric and Solar cooling panels/ heating drapes · SolaReflex parabolic solar cookers · Hot tub/spa water heating pads


    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 12:35PM
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Hope this helps. If you go to the page I linked and go half way down there is a link.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 3:11PM
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You could try an electric storage heater that charges up on cheap electric overnight and release it during the day. I also suspect they're somewhat more environmentally friendly than normal electric heaters as they use power at a time of day when most of what's being produced is wasted. The modern storage heaters have electronic controls that measure the temperature and ajust the ammount of heat stored accordingly, and they can even have a built in fan to speed up the ammount of heat being released.

As for the undersized furnace, you could improve the situation by adding more insulation and draught sealing to your house.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2004 at 6:21AM
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More insulation won't solve problem - our home is very energy efficient - we just can't get the furnace get that area warm. I posted on other thread but we did buy pellet stove, first bought New Englander at Home Depot, returned it last week as we making a terrible noise and was just under the 30 day grace period. We ordered a Breckwell furnace. We loved the pellet stove and are looking forward to getting the new one in.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2004 at 6:38AM
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I may be way off here, but from my high school physics education it seems to me the 'indoor solar heater' that blocks the window is a hoax.
Don't the photons coming into the room always convert into heat when they run into something, like say, the floor? What else could their energy convert into? It's gotta go somewhere. (Or that's what our teacher Mr. Harvey said.)

    Bookmark   December 30, 2004 at 11:08PM
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Yes, and no. Sounds like a car salesman answer, huh ? . . .

The spectrum that the sun puts out is FAR wider than just visible light / photons. This is the part of the spectrum that we see. And, these photons do bounce around; some will hit something AND get absorbed; some will not and will be reflected back out the window.

A solar collector is optimized to capture a WIDE portion of the spectrum of the sun's energy . . . visible ( that's why they're usually black/matte finish ), infrared, UV; whatever. Therefore they are good black body absorbers . . and hence collect from a wide portion of the sun's spectrum. They simply re-radiate whatever they collect across the entire spectrum; as heat for the most part. That's why the window material and type can make a big difference in their operation . . . . a high efficiency glass may indeed block some of the spectrum that could be used to generate heat.

Stick black and white ( otherwise identical ) buckets full of water out in the sun some day . . . . see which one gets hotter . . . they're both subject to the same type and amount of solar insolation; but ABSORB differing amounts.

So, yes; you're right . . . the very same energy that could generate heat with one of these heaters is present in a room without one . . . . but much of it randomly is reflected and therefore ununsed . . .

And no; you're wrong . . . by choosing the makeup of a collector instead of relying on random things in a room; allows you to optimize the capture of a wider range of the spectrum to re-radiate as heat.

I'm not saying these things are great and work wonderfully . . . I haven't used one. But the principle of their operation is indeed sound; and not a hoax.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2004 at 7:53AM
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Announcement: I am now selling matte black floormats to lay beneath your window...

    Bookmark   December 31, 2004 at 6:54PM
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Some years ago a friend who was a handy person with skills in a number of areas built himself a new house.

He put several large solar heaters on the roof, with fan pushing air through pipes down to a room that took up about a quarter of his basement, I think, filled with rocks about as big as one's fist.

Another fan circulated heated air through the house, much like as from a regular furnace.

He felt that it cut down a great deal on his heating bill.

I haven't talked to him in a number of years, but I have a bit of a feeling that, after a few years, he was less enthusiastic about it, but I don't know the reason, if true.

I could ask him - if he's still available, as he lives/lived in this city.

Good wishes for finding dependable, environmentally-friendly heat at a cost that doesn't make your wallet weep.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 7:30PM
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I made a solar heater for the inside of my window and it effectively heats my room on any sunny day. It uses a solar panel to drive a 12v fan. The fan blows air through a wooden box with blackened aluminium foil on the inside and plexi glass on the front. It allows me to heat up my room without the sun glare from opening the blinds.

- 60cm wide, 90cm tall, 4cm deep (24 x 36 x 1.6 inches)
- 10w amorphous solar panel (5w will do).
- 9cm cooling fan from electronics store.
- Plexi-glass for the front.
- 1.5mm thick Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) for the back.
- Wooden frame and wooden dividers. The air must flow through a channel roughly equal to the area of the fan (4.5cm squared * pi = 64cm). Being 4cm deep, the gap between the dividers needs to be approximately 16cm.

Note: 1 inch = 2.54cm

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 11:42AM
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    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 4:55PM
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Another source of solar space heaters is the Alternative Energy Store. altenergystore.com. They have units by Cansolair, Solarsheet, and Solarwall, with positive feedback by purchasers of some of the units. One has a solar-powered fan. I am planning to buy one as soon as I can find someone to install it.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 12:58PM
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Here is an article on solar room heater like those sold by Northern Tool.

Here is a link that might be useful: solar room heaters

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 4:03PM
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This Solar Heating Panels confuses me. I need a good guide for this. Can you check this out for me and tell me if this would be a good start?

Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Heating Panels

    Bookmark   May 31, 2011 at 8:18AM
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