Monday, June 28, 2010

How to Build a Solar Heating Unit

With the combination of economical hardships and utility costs rising many people are searching for ways to decrease their monthly living expenses. One of those ways can be found in making the switch to solar energy. Solar energy may seem costly to implement but the truth of the matter is that solar energy can be utilized at a very low cost with some ingenuity, materials, and the knowledge of how to put those materials together. In fact with just a few scrap materials you can build a small solar heater unit for a room in your home.

To build a solar heating unity you will need:

· A sheet of plexiglass, tempered glass, or a double paned window.
· Four 2x4's
· 1 sheet of 1.5” insulation board
· Utility knife
· Hammer
· Nails
· 50 aluminum cans
· Fireplace paint in black matte finish.
· Silicon adhesive
· Caulk
· Drill
· Saw
· Sheet of plywood.
· Two small fans for intake and output.

1. Construct the heater casing. To begin building your solar heater you will use the wooden 2x4's, hammer, and nails to construct a case that will fit snugly around the fifty cans which will be placed in a ten by five pattern. Using the sheet of plywood cover what will be the back of the solar heating unit. Secure the back cover with hammer, nails, and caulk.

2. Insulate your solar heater. Place the sheet of insulation board into the frame leaving no room on the sides. Cut a hole into the top right corner and the bottom left corner for your intake and output fans.

3. Prepare and place the aluminum solar heat conductors. Taking a drill cut holes in the bottom of each can. Paint the cans thoroughly with fireplace paint and allow to dry. Stack and connect the cans with silicon and allow to dry. Once dry arrange the cans into the solar heater casing.

4. Seal the solar heater. Place your Plexiglass cover over the front of the case and secure with sealant. Caulk all corners and sides of the solar heater.

5. Place the fans. Using the small fans attach one to each of the vent holes to allow air to move freely. The hot air will rise to the top and escape into the room with the aide of the fan placed at the top right corner of the heater.

Upon completion you will need to allow the sealant and caulk to dry. Place the solar heater in front of or in a window that receives sun most if not the entire day. This heater can be built to fit any window of the home and you have the ability of placing as many solar heating units as you wish throughout the home.

Making Your Own Compost Bin

Making your own compost bin is one of the first steps to going green. By placing food and other organic scraps into a compost pile you reduce the amount of trash that goes to landfills and you recycle your compost into organic soil for your home garden.

To make a home compost bin you will need:

· A plastic storage bin that holds at least 10 gallons.
· Drill
· Shredded newspaper.
· Soil

Step 1 – Find a location for your compost bin. Place the compost bin near the kitchen. A patio or back door stoop will be fine. The bin needs to be located close enough to the kitchen that using the compost bin will not be a hassle.

Step 2 - Prepare your bin. Air needs to flow into the compost so you will want to drill a line of small holes moving around the entire compost bin bin will work just fine. You can add another row of holes, however, one row will be fine.

Step 3 – Start using the compost bin. Start the compost bin with a mixture of shredded newspaper and soil. Close the lid and shake to ensure the mixture is shaken properly. Put the bin back in it's normal location and begin adding kitchen waste to the compost bin. You can also add yard scraps such as weeds, grass trimmings, and weeds to the compost bin.

Step 4 – Maintain your compost bin. Maintenance for your compost bin is easy. Every other day go to your bin and while holding the lid firmly in place shake the bin a few times. This lets the compost move around a bit and allows air to get between the layers. You can also move the contents of your compost bin around with a small garden shovel but shaking the compost bin works just as well.

Compost from your compost bin will be available for use in about a month's time. Prior to using any of the compost be sure to work it through a sifter and replace any large pieces back into the compost bin. The bin can remain outside during all weather conditions and compost can be harvested from the bin through out the year.