Monday, October 3, 2016

Passive solar experiment

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This post will go into the Power and electricity sub-series of the off-the-grid main series of posts.  These posts can be accessed from a table of contents and watched individually or in series from beginning to end.

Now that I am in the countryside, I have a bit more freedom of action.  It is now possible to try a few things.  One experiment is to heat water, and then use it as a means of supplying heat on a cool to cold night.  It is already getting cold out here, relatively speaking.  Being used to Houston weather, cold may mean temps in the low fifties at night. 

I am not set up for central heating yet.  The night before last was especially uncomfortable.  That is what prompted this experiment.  Why not try cutting expenses on energy while learning something new?

The experiment consists of using gallon water jugs that have been sitting all day in the sunlight.  These will heat up considerably, and then give off its heat at night.  The gallons jugs are portable enough to move indoors from the outdoors, and then back again.

To improve efficiency, I plan to paste garbage bag plastic to the jugs so that the sunlight is more efficiently captured and transmitted to the water.

Yesterday, I did this:  I took a ice chest and place the water jug inside of it.  In addition to the jug, I place a black trash bag underneath the jug.  Sunlight goes through the water, and hits the garbage bag.  The garbage bag heats up and transmits its heat to the water.  This seemed to work well, as the water got hot.  How hot?  Hard to say.  Don't have a thermometer, except for a refrigerator variety that only goes to ninety degrees.  This thing buried the thermometer reading, so temps must have been well over a hundred.  It stayed hot for several hours as measured by the device.

Now that it has been established that I can trap heat, I need to expand upon the idea.  Let's use up to ten jugs, and see if it can make a difference in warming up a room at night.

That will be the next part of the experiment.

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