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How do I pull solar energy in from windows that don't face south? Options
martingr
#1 Posted : Sunday, March 16, 2008 1:44:24 AM
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Wildernessgirl,

     We installed heavy drapes on our windows and sliding glass door, on the windows facing south we open drapes during the day and at sundown close them, the other windows if its cold we leave closed, also have shades that we pull down helps to keep heat in. There maybe a way for you to build a passive solar collector in the those windows facing south?

                                           Gary

teamster229
#2 Posted : Monday, March 17, 2008 1:02:21 AM
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I would suggest putting some dark slate on the floor in the sun of those sw facing windows maybe you could get some passive solar from them another thing you could do is plug the cold windows with the styrofoam insulation boards they sell at home depot / lowes.you really cant do too much because its a rental. sorry i m not much help im not a pro just an experimentor at this..
martingr
#3 Posted : Monday, March 17, 2008 3:01:49 AM
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 April,  Dark slate on the floor is a good thought, maybe a container painted black on the window sill, fill with small pebbles to absort the heat? Teamster has a point about renting and doing to much, but might be a idea to do a little experminting on your own, so when you get your own place you could have some ideas to incorperate. An other thing you can do is look for cold drafts, around the windows sills, these you can stop by  placing a heavy rolled towel on the sills can also fix drafts under the doors same way. Its just as important to keep heat in as its is to make it.

                                                                Gary

martingr
#4 Posted : Monday, March 17, 2008 3:03:20 AM
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Sorry Wildnessgirl, didn't mean to address this April.

                                       Gary

willdernessgirl
#5 Posted : Thursday, March 20, 2008 7:31:26 PM
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Tnx for the tips ... good ones so far :D  I have been trying to think of ways to "capture" that sunlight and absorb it ... I was trying to think of a way to hang something on the wall inside that would absorb the heat and distribute it throughout the room ... any ideas?

I was also reading over the articles and found a lot of shoestring ideas for solar collectors - just trying to figure out how I could modify these ideas a bit so I don't do anything structurally to the house but could maybe set up a solar collector in the yard and run a line to the house thru another window  .... any suggestions ideas would be great :D  

I'm definitely going to try the black pot with pebbles in it ... (already have the drapes etc).

 

 

martingr
#6 Posted : Friday, March 21, 2008 4:45:21 AM
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  Wildernessgirl,

    Not sure where you live, but it sounds as if you get plenty of solar? Are you cold in the house or are you trying to conserve fuel? I would not discourage you from trying this , but would suggest you do some studying before jumping in with both feet. If you are heating water by any means you have to do a few things to have the benefit. I heat water in an outdoor boiler that about thirty feet from my house, I have to get the hotwater into the house then thru a heat exchanger that heats the water in my oil burner that I use to distribute the heat to different zones in the house. The water to outdoor boiler is returned to the boiler by use of circulator pump that runs all the time in a continuious loop. My point I'm trying to make is that it requires more than just heating water, you have to turn this engry into something you can use otherwise you are just heating water. I just re-read post and assumed that you were going to heat water? maybe you were suggesting air? You will still have to get the warm air in the house and the colder air back to your collector, this can be done by convection or by fan. Let me know what you come up with.

                                                                   Gary   

nicholasn2
#7 Posted : Friday, April 04, 2008 3:49:57 AM
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When you look out your north facing window, do you see sun shine not far from your window? If so, you may construct a sun tracking system with regular mirrors attached that will throw all the sun light onto your north facing window and thereby gaining heat.
HockeyFan
#8 Posted : Saturday, April 05, 2008 3:10:46 PM
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In the windows not facing south, seeing as how I live in the country and don't have to worry about neighbors that might not approve, I'd see about putting up some reflective surfaces outside the non-south windows.  These surfaces, facing south, would hopefully reflect some of the southern exposure solar gain into the house.

 


Earth Home Project:
www.freewebs.com/stocktonunderground

 

Mike in McMurdo
#9 Posted : Sunday, April 06, 2008 4:13:26 PM
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It sounds like you have some windows that get enough sunlight to catch your attention. Try making a black box to go over the window. It can be inside or outside. There are plans all over the place on how to do this. Most are constructed within the walls and take the place of windows, but Ive seen plans for add ons as well.

The concept is this. You basically have closed box painted black with windows on one full side. There is a vent at the bottom into the house and another at the top into the house. The sun shines in the box, hitting the black surface. It heats the air which rises and flows into the room via the upper vent. Colder air from the room is pulled into the box from the bottom vent which then warms and continues the process.

Small flexible flaps are put on the vents so that when the sun goes away and air in the box cools the flaps close and stop the cold air from going into the house.

 

I think I've seen ads for already manufactured units in Mother Earth News in one of the recent magazines.

Here is a link to one MEN article for something similar. It goes outside, but the concept is the same. I'm sure you will find lots of examples. I found this in the search box under "solar window".

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Renewable-Energy/2006-02-01/Do-It-Yourself-Solar-Heat-Collectors.aspx

HockeyFan
#10 Posted : Sunday, April 06, 2008 9:04:26 PM
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I've seen those same plans for solar collectors.  It's a good idea, and from what I've seen, they don't appear to be hard to construct.  I've even seen one that is a proof of concept and is made out of box cardboard.  The idea is that once you've seen the gain you get just with that material, you invest the time and money to build one with better materials, and to get better results.

 


Earth Home Project:
www.freewebs.com/stocktonunderground

 

John Edward Mercier
#11 Posted : Saturday, April 19, 2008 4:25:51 PM
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Reflective surfaces. Sometimes buffers against North-western winds can be adapted to reflect sunlight back towards the house. Even the sunlight that falls to the southern side, if a reflective surface is placed on the ground will result in more solar radiation striking the house.

 

tom chittenden
#12 Posted : Saturday, November 15, 2008 1:48:02 AM
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i have been playing with the concept the solar box uses, hot air rises. this idea can be used with any window that gets sun. place any flat black colored surface a few inches from the glass, as the sun hits the black surface it will heat the air in front of it, the heated air will rise up and cool air will be pulled in. the best results i have had so far (for the cost/results) was with black poster board. get the poster board about 2" wider and 6" shorter than your window. just tack/tape it over the inside of your window. leave 3" open at the top and bottom. my window was recessed 4" from the surrounding wall. the draft it created (with full sun light) was enough to draw the flame of a candle held near the bottom/intake. the downside is that you lose the view from that window.

use your imagination, extend the bottom down close to the floor and draw in the cold air around the ankles, use black drapes(extended from the wall for a clear air flow), i have not tried but spray paint the the widow side of a set of venition blinds and try to angle them for a good flow.

i think this concept could be applied in many different ways. combine this with the reflectors on the other windows. good luck and stay warm.

 

willdernessgirl
#13 Posted : Saturday, November 15, 2008 1:48:02 AM
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Posts: 134,494

Does anyone have any suggestions on ways to pull in extra solar heat from windows that aren't south-facing?  I'm looking for shoestring ideas - don't want to put any money into this rental house but trying to cut down on utility bills so we can save for property to start building our own solar home in the spring.  We have some south-west windows that get a fair bit of sun - you can feel the rays coming in when in the living room and the main bedroom - I'm looking for any hints/tips on how to maximize this heat - any suggestions would be helpful!  :D

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