What Is a Solar Hot-Air Collector?

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What is a solar hot-air collector?

A solar hot-air collector can be used to heat your home with renewable energy. The general idea is that as air passes through the solar collector, the sun’s heat naturally raises the temperature of the air.

There are lots of different solar hot-air collector designs, but typically they consist of a shallow box mounted on an exterior wall of a building. The collector has an outer layer of glazing that’s exposed to the sun.

These devices are not the only type of solar heater. In addition to hot-air collectors, there are also hot-water-based solar heaters. One of our favorite DIY enthusiasts has experience with both. Gary Reysa, who runs the website Build It Solar, has written for MOTHER EARTH NEWS about two solar heaters he’s built — one based on heating water, the other a hot-air collector.

For a recent guide to commercial solar hot-air collectors, check out our Buyer’s Guide to Solar Heating. For more DIY options, take a look at this roundup from our archive of Do-It-Yourself Solar Heat Collectors, a collection of links to available articles and plans.

— Megan Phelps, senior associate editor


Megan E. Phelps is a freelance writer based in Kansas. She enjoys reading and writing about all things related to sustainable living including homesteading skills, green building and renewable energy. You can find her on .