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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Stupid simple auxiliary house heater based on sun and aluminum cans and little hacking around.

I came across this ridiculous life hack I want to try in fall/winter.
So need to collect some cans since we don't buy any of them; I guess I will be looking out for the cans now.
I also keep thinking of other potential usages of this "solar can heater".
One can heat a hive or a green house, I suppose.

Enjoy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtfaZMahSUU

Feel free to post any other good life hacks you find OR came up on your own.

Of course, there is this: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/100-life-hacks-that-make-life-easier.html
 

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The coaster over the beer is wrong btw, I work at a Bar. It just means someone is playing with their drink.......... Thanks for that. I do love Life Hacks, some are great !

BTW, when at a Bar STOP RIPPING THE COASTERS to tiny bits because you are bored !!! I have to pick that all up ! :waiting:
 

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Forget the can heater, a screen heater is easier to build, and in side by side tests it outperforms. I built one and used it for a couple of years ago in South Carolina, and it gave noticable heat. Mine was a modification of the "Sun Grabber," but with a screen.

Winter is too cloudy here in WA, so i doubt it would work as well, though I haven't tried yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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Inside room portable sun heater by the sunny window in winter ...
Thinking this through - if you put the heater inside the room, it is heated by the sun that comes through the window, and releases that heat into the room. Without it, the sun comes through the window, and hits objects and structure in the room, and heats the room. No net heat gain.

To gain heat you need to have it gather heat that would not be entering the room otherwise.
 

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It would have been nice if the air flow rate was provided for the temperature and ambient RH. In the old days hot air was collected and driven through an insulated bin full of rocks. A second forced air system circulated air through tubes in the rocks to heat the house. It has a nice thermal inertia for bad weather. Bin size mattered.

So, bees generate heat year round. How many hive to heat a house? :D
 

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So, bees generate heat year round. How many hive to heat a house? :D
Drill some holes in your walls and let swarms populate them. Let us know how it goes. :)

Last winter I kept some hives pushed up against my west wall. I suppose they benefited from waste heat from the house. I never considered that we might get some benefit! It's a nice, wind-free microclimate for the bees. 3 5-frame nucs survived winter so I guess it worked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No net heat gain..
I get this part.
But I am also reluctant to be making holes in my walls.

Quick solar heat capture, concentration and immediate feed back in a given single room space still makes sense to me - IF this is the place and time where I want that heat to be present and felt.

Heating the floors and walls all day long so that they *might* emit some of the energy back later in the day and night (much less efficiently too, since they reflect more) - is not really what I want (we sleep at night under toasty blankets anyhow, to care much).

So - strategic concentration of the energy in time and space still matters (even if the net gains over the course of 24-hour cycle across entire house are the same).
 

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Thinking this through - if you put the heater inside the room, it is heated by the sun that comes through the window, and releases that heat into the room. Without it, the sun comes through the window, and hits objects and structure in the room, and heats the room. No net heat gain.

To gain heat you need to have it gather heat that would not be entering the room otherwise.
if the sunlight reflects back out the window, from shinny or less absorptive, surface, the "potential" is there then gone.
A dark flat painted surface, especially if it has thermal mass, like painted water cans or rocks can add more heat than , not doing any thing.

GG
 

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Drill some holes in your walls and let swarms populate them. Let us know how it goes. :)

Last winter I kept some hives pushed up against my west wall. I suppose they benefited from waste heat from the house. I never considered that we might get some benefit! It's a nice, wind-free microclimate for the bees. 3 5-frame nucs survived winter so I guess it worked.
As I under stand each hive has 8-16 watts of heat. So how many depends on how well insulated and where the house is :)

Calculated by weight loss over time of the caloric content of Honey...

any side of a hive that is warm or less cold helps. This is the side by side NUC idea.
if against the house and side by side 2 or 3 sides are "less cold" very helpful, IMO

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Drill some holes in your walls and let swarms populate them.
One issue with the swarms in the walls of occupied and conditioned housing - the bees will be bringing lots of moisture into the walls - not good.
 

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Good idea.
But my setup is not for this case.

BTW - the solar wax melter is nothing other than "strategic concentration of the energy in time and space".
Overall the melter has zero net energy gain/loss.
AND YET - it gets the job done - very efficiently melts the wax.
The wax melter is a box, your room is a box. Will addiing tin cans increase the heat in the melter?

I will grant that adding flat black paint to the room (like the melter) will reduce loss to reflection, but the change will be insignificant with the tin can heater in the room and no additional glazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
The wax melter is a box, your room is a box. Will addiing tin cans increase the heat in the melter?...
This is nothing about the tin cans.
This is about temporary concentration of the energy in a single spot (without changing anything in the global equilibrium of energy - which is impossible anyway).

And the live example wood be - make this portable solar heater for in-home use.
Cans or screen - less significant.
The screen indeed looks to be less work and little more gain - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyVPNOUpOVg

Using a flex duct, direct the flow of the warm air from the heater directly under your desk to your feet.
It is best to keep your head cool, but the feet warm - so this should work.

Spreading the solar heat to heat entire room is sub-optimal.
But scraping some of that same energy into a single point and warming directly your feet - that is something.
See that?

In fact, any attempt to heat anything boils to the same - temporarily gathering some energy in a single sport (inside a house or inside a melter, what not) before that energy dissipates away again.
 

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Good idea.
But my setup is not for this case.

BTW - the solar wax melter is nothing other than "strategic concentration of the energy in time and space".
Overall the melter has zero net energy gain/loss.
AND YET - it gets the job done - very efficiently melts the wax.
The wax melter is a box, your room is a box. Will addiing tin cans increase the heat in the melter?

I will grant that adding flat black paint to the room (like the melter) will reduce loss to reflection, but the change will be insignificant with the tin can heater in the room and no additional glazing.
But what has more surface area to help transfer heat to the air moving through the box?
 

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This is nothing about the tin cans.
This is about temporary concentration of the energy in a single spot (without changing anything in the global equilibrium of energy - which is impossible anyway).

And the live example wood be - make this portable solar heater for in-home use.
Cans or screen - less significant.
The screen indeed looks to be less work and little more gain - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyVPNOUpOVg

Using a flex duct, direct the flow of the warm air from the heater directly under your desk to your feet.
It is best to keep your head cool, but the feet warm - so this should work.

Spreading the solar heat to heat entire room is sub-optimal.
But scraping some of that same energy into a single point and warming directly your feet - that is something.
See that?

In fact, any attempt to heat anything boils to the same - temporarily gathering some energy in a single sport (inside a house or inside a melter, what not) before that energy dissipates away again.
It sounds like you have a plan! I'd like to hear how it turns out if you build it. With photos, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It sounds like you have a plan! I'd like to hear how it turns out if you build it. With photos, of course.
:)
First I still have to build myself a solar wax melter!
A pressing priority.
LOL
 
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