After replacing the pump head yesterday (after almost one year of procrastination), I’m currently cleaning the water tank with chlorine. Using the tank, we will have an emergency water supply that should last several days. I also ordered a solar charge controller (after almost one year of procrastination) to get the solar panels (thanks again A_) up and running. Aside from the emergency electricity storage (do you call it that?) this will hopefully also reduce our electric bill by a few iota. We already have our own propane tank, and our house is on air suspension. Bring it on, earthquake!

Yeah, I got all fired up from reading Emergency by Neil Strauss. Anyway, …

The next thing I’m going to build is a solar hot air heater. I got the idea either from Make or Instructables. I can’t remember.

Here’s how to make it

  1. First empty 120 cans of beer (I’m working on this).
  2. Paint them all black and drill small holes in the bottom of the cans.
  3. Make 12 stacks of 10 cans each by gluing the cans together on top of each other.
  4. Make a frame (wood) to hold the cans leaving some space (half a can) at the top as well as the bottom.
  5. Drill a 1″ hole at the top and attach some tubing/hose. This is the hot air outlet which goes in the RV. Drill a 1″ hole at the bottom. This is the air inlet. You can take this either from the outside air or from the inside air in which case attach another tube.
  6. Cover the front with glass. Cover the back with wood (there may be a better material here) and cover that with mirror plated aluminum sheets, mirror shards (from a broken mirror), or simply use aluminum foil. It is possible that the heater will get too warm for the glass. An alternative is turkey bags.
  7. Caulk the frame tight.

The system works by convection drawing the heating/hot air upwards into the hose that goes into the RV.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work.


Originally posted 2009-07-11 09:08:18.