I didn’t actually think this would work, but after just one hour with the heavy duty emergency blanket taped over the windows with the Mylar side in and the orange side out I decided to order 2 mil Mylar, one side black, 50’x4′.
You can put your hand at the bottom and feel cool air and your other hand at the top and feel significantly warmer air coming out! Now understand this is an east facing bank of windows and it is about noon so no direct light is hitting it. I used painters’ tape so that it would remove easily when the heating crisis is over.
You could do this right now with cardboard painted black on one side facing out and a cheap $1 emergency blanket or tinfoil shiny side in over a window. Just leave an inch or so at the bottom to draw the cool air up and an inch or so at the top for the warmed air to escape.
I am totally sold on 2 mil Mylar window film and I have been working with it off and on for over a year now. I had no idea it came black on one side! And it does come white on one side also. For passive solar heating, I want the black on one side for absorbing the heat from the sun on the windows and I want the heat inside the room to be maximized by being reflected back into the room by the Mylar side.
AND in the summer, I can turn it around and reflect the heat back outside keeping the house cooler in the summer – I call that a WIN – WIN.
Yep Bev, that’s almost exactly how my “acquarium” fireplace looks! Thanks for giving me credit for it. The only difference in ours is that we use the foil, but will remove that and try the material you used. Putting a grill over it with ceramic rocks is interesting, and something we may try. That’s why I’m often VERY reluctant to post anything that we do. Some of the various blogs either confiscate your ideas and thoughts or they claim “rights” to what you’ve done or written.
ps…then the next thing you know they’ve written a book and selling it with mostly things they’ve “stolen” from others & farmed them off as their own. :-(
A brilliant collaboration, Ladies – huge congratulations :)
My only caveat would be to be careful not to seal it too tight – the only thing holding the glass together is silicone caulk
Roll of heavy-duty foil – check
bags of cat-litter – check
big bags of IKEA tea candles – check
stainless steel camping grill – check
leftover lava rock for a gas grill – check
10 gal aquarium – gave all mine away :( Walmart is open all night …..
Might just build myself a fireplace …..
thinking about adding some foil above the back of the tank too, behind and part-way above, to reflect heat/IR from the rocks ‘forward’ vs ‘up’.
You’re gonna love it Wyz! I’m also going to put some of those Sterno cans in to see if it will increase the temperature. Also going to use some “liquid nails” around the seams to secure them. I’ve got so many ideas flying around in my head that MrWE2 says sometimes I’m “batty”! LOL I’m the “thinker” and he’s the “doer”…good match eh!?
One of the other things I want to do with our “AcquaHeater” is to try some votif-type candles (different fragrances for fun) and the larger/lower candles that I normally use for Christmas arrangements. I’m still amazed at the amount of heat we can generate with candles! Pur sp;ar window box has the “square” box at the top and bottom, and sits in the window from the inside, and has a “flap” of thin plastic over each square. The bottom square draws the cool air from inside the house where it’s pulled upward by the outside solar gain, and propels it out into the house. We’re also going to install some additional reflecters on the outside, to increase the temperature, sort of like the fins on a solar sun oven. One other thing I think you’ll be interested in Bev, is that if we sit the AquaHeater at the bottom of these solar window boxes (if they’re inside) that heat might also be increased as it’s pulled upward and back into the room. Whatcha think?
Just tossing out an idea, here. I have not tried this, mostly because the place I live now is pretty small, and doesn’t have the high ceilings of my old house. I have a stack of old computer-server fans – small, quiet and run on 5 volts DC. They’re dirt-cheap, even if you have to buy them for a buck or so online.
The idea is to mount ’em, with a battery pack in PVC pipe or downspout, running from floor-to-almost ceiling. Suck down the warmer air that rises, and blow it out at foot-level, where it will do more good. :)
OK guys, you know all you are doing is containing the candles… The same amount of heat is put off if they are in or out of the aquarium. Same with the mylar… The heat coming through the glass is warming the floor or air etc but just not as concentrated as the 1″ space between the mylar and window. Don’t waste your money.
Nan, I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with the candles and have to say it is amazing how much heat you can get out of them applied different ways. The terra cotta pot heaters do work!
Directing the heat and amplifying it or capturing the heat in rock or masonry are viable. It is just figuring out what works for you.
Yes, it’s containing the candles – safety alone makes it a pretty good idea.
*putting on the Geeky Professor Hat* LOL
Heat (Infrared) is transferred in 3 ways: Conduction, Convection and Radiation. It’s light. just light us humans can’t see.
A candle, as an example, can be consider a “point source” of radiative IR – it goes out in a spherical pattern. The candle body itself blocks the “down” path (oops). IR is just like visible light in many ways – a reflective surface like shiny foil will bounce it back in “1” direction (with some loss, and more loss through the glass). A single candle in front of a mirror pushes more visible light “forward” than the candle alone . IR (heat) is just light you can’t see.
Convection happens when the heat source warms the air around it. It gets hotter and lighter and goes straight up. This is why you will get very annoyed (if you’re a geek like me) when you point a laser/IR thermometer at your floor and ceiling and see the 20 degree difference.
Conduction usually happens when you put a skillet on your stove, and it gets hot. It also happens when the convective hot air hits the metal grid and ceramic or rock above. It gets hotter, even if the flame doesn’t hit it directly.
You then get an effect called “thermal mass”. Those rocks will stay warm after the candles go out. If you have reflectors to send it where you want it (or just warm your fingers over it) – that’s residual heat that will go where you point it.
Heat is just light us 2-leggeds can’t see. Please try this little experiment. Turn off all the lights at night. Light a candle. You can see, right? Stick piece of foil, shiny side out, or a mirror behind it. Bet you a buck you can see better. Heat works the same way.
Love the “geeky professor”! I have no idea of the science behind things, I only know what happens if I do…
FYI, I have two posts coming up where I have been able to turn my Deadwood rocket stoves into interior cooking and heating appliances that will probably interest you WE2. They contain the fire source in a very safe manner – SAFETY FIRST!
These can be used with sterno, candles, fuel packets, I used rubbing alcohol and cotton balls for an extremely hot flame. The recent post we had on a brick rocket stove would be much more viable for sterno than the aquarium. Versatile is that you can cook and heat, cheap, and it would have the element of a masonry heater to boot!
What would we do without our “geeky professor”! Luvya Wyz…:-) Because the Roost is so very small and has no way to vent without going through the roof or window, which we just won’t do…except on our enclosed porch in a SHTF situation, we probably don’t have much of an option for anything wood burning Bev. That’s why we’re so zeroed in on solar etc.
One of the most important things MrWE2 has taught me (since he’s a builder/contractor) is that “heat loss” is much more of a problem in a home. He says if you’ll take a piece of the large-bubble packing stuff (clear), cut it to fit your window, spray the window with water (if it’s freezing outside) and press the bubble stuff against the window, it will freeze to the window and form a barrier. Then tape it around the eges. Then use a good caulk to go around that also, which creates a very secure “seal” and you can still see through your windows without allowing cold air in.
Very interesting. But what happens when it warms up?
Just remembering my last house.. sometimes keeping cold air out is as important as keeping warm air in. It was a typical cheaply-built 1985 suburban townhouse. We froze our butts off the first winter month or so we lived there (moved in at the end of January). We did quite a bit over the years to keep it warmer, but probably the cheapest and most effective fixes were to keep cold air leaks closed up. Go to a hardware store, pick up a tube of silicone caulk, and some of the pre-cut electrical outlet foam insulation pads. Put a pad behind every electrical outlet on all the outside walls. Run a bead of caulk at the seam where the outside wall meets the floor.
That little $10 fix raise the inside temp about 5 degrees and just about eliminated the unpleasant drafts in the place. Just a thought to help stay warmer :)
We built a small solar cell out of an old fridge drawer, high heat ( grill worthy) black spray paint, a dozen coke cans with holes punched into the bottoms, a little board insulation and duct tape, plus about a foot and a half of hose. It cranks out 200 degree heat, plus in 5 minutes —- on a 22 degree day. I measured it with a meat thermometer, so it’s wildly inaccurate! Any idea how to attach it to the house, without a huge issue?
@KC – I’m not a mechanical engineer, and try not to play one on the net, too often :) Here’s what I’d try, first. No guarantees.
I’ll assume a window sash that opens up and down on a south facing side – more hacking required otherwise.
1) cut a couple layers of your insulation board so it’s about 3 inches high, and a tight-jam-fit for your window-frame.
2) Drill/punch/cut a hose-size hole through the foamboard.
3) run the hose through pipe insulation, or even cheaper, a piece of Dollar Store “pool noodle”
4) mount the cell, run hose thru the hole, duck tape everything and enjoy the warm air :)
Excellent Wyzyrd! I was just going to suggest a similar arrangement.
So KC, how did you punch the holes in the cans. I can take the top off of the pepsi cans with a can opener but haven’t had any luck with creating a hole in the other end.
LOL, Bev, KC may have a better idea, but what worked for me, last time I tried a “can chimney” for a smoker was this:
Turn the can upside down (make sure it’s empty and dry, or you get stale beer on your workbench). Use a coarse metal file to cut through the bottom “flat ring” (doesn’t take many stokes to cut the aluminum) use regular can opener to remove top and used stainless tape to attach them together,
Wyz, a metal file? Like a hasp and run it across it???
Those can are so easy to bend up. I’ve been playing but haven’t figured anything out yet.
I was thinking of silicone caulk for putting them together. You think tape would be better? I was also thinking about caulking them onto foamboard with the back side facing the room with Mylar.
LOL- not to be too geeky again, but metal-cutting files are usually a little harder tempered, and the “teeth” are a little shallower. Honestly, aluminum cans are so soft, you could probably use a nail-file or an emery-board.
Just hold the file flat/horizontal over the can bottom and push it back and forth a few times. The curved part will fall inside pretty quick. If the file clogs up w/aluminum, a $2 brass-bristle BBQ grill brush will clean it.
Wow! A reason to go to the hardware store again! Love it – really, I like tools. :)
Hardware store are fun, but if you want “the good stuff” check local papers for farm estate auctions. Look for “blacksmith tools” or “anvil” or “forge” and you may score. The store stuff is all “average” if you want extra-fine or extra-coarse, stores don’t carry them – have to go specialist online.
Been a long while but have had a couple $1 coarse files true up the scarred surface of a $15 anvil in about a half hour :)
LOL I have been FORBIDDEN from going to auctions! Especially any that may have horses or horse stuff!
I’m a real sucker for the dollar boxes. And don’t even get me started on horses! :-D
Well, Don’t get yourself in trouble :) Just sayin’ that when things got really rough a while back my neighbor and I would hit a kinda “hillbilly” auction house way out in in WV on Friday night, buy a bunch of “dollar boxes” (and some stuff we wanted to keep), hit a “semi-suburban” flea market in VA on Saturday morning, spend $10 each for a spot, and make at least $100 each. Usually sold out by noon. “But Low, Sell High” :)
Good for you! Around here it is all rural.
My problem is that I don’t want to part with things I could use “someday”. :)
Rural is good :) You can set up a table someplace where the folks who commute to Mayo (and their kids) hang out.
I remember a “dollar box” of military surplus combat boots. Turns out they were all (10 pairs) small “girl sizes”when I checked. At the bottom were 2 pair spray-painted purple-metalflake.
The black ones were $10, the purple ones, $30. A couple Goth-type kids wanted the purple ones.
“Tell ya what, for $60 for 2 pairs, I’ll sell you the whole box, and knock off $5 so you can paint the rest.” $54 profit.
I got another dollar box of useless, tiny wooden cutting boards and salad bowls. Paid a friend $20 to do acrylic paint “floral painting” on them (I don’t remember the name of the PBS-lady who taught the technique). Made about $200 on the box, but it took a while.
When things are bad, “thinking inside the box” is never your friend . SOMEBODY out there wants that silly crap you want to get rid of :)
Smart Guy Wyz! So true on thinking “outside the box”. :-D
LOL- and there is a salesman-trueism to keep in mind, when it comes to selling, especially when it comes to selling stuff you DON’T want to keep, even moreso at a flea market “First one to say a number loses”
One of the things I sold when I lost 4 jobs in six months, was losing my house and selling everything was a HORRENDOUS cat-tapestry even my ex didn’t want to keep. I was asked “what do you want for this?” I was about to say “50 cents” but remembered and said “What’s it worth?”
“ummm 20 dollars?” “sold!”
Haggling isn’t fun, usually, but, can be a useful skill if things go south.
I never heard that saying! Good Advice. Thanks!
Many, many times we had several “yard sales” with stuff we’ve ran onto here or there. We’re fortunate that MrWE2 has a HUGE man-cave garage at our homestead house (won’t have it at the Roost) that has 3 big OH doors (thinking we’d retire there) and that’s where everything is stored…and some in our big metal shed on skids, and some in our wood storage barn on skids and some in our Rubbermaide shed…LOL We’ve “made a few dollars here and there”. Put new gravel on the driveway at the homestead, and helped pay our taxes this year with some that was “stashed” in our cash box for this next year :-) OH, pop cans? MrWE2 just slips on a pair of gloves & grabs his tin snips that he uses for cutting metal siding etc. We’re saving them up for our next solar window box project :-) Might be a bit harder since we’ve sworn off soda pop due to weight gains :-( But, we’ve both lost 5# this past week simplty by getting off soda pop & chips etc. No eating after 7pm!!!!
Congrats on the weight loss. I’m stuck – I must be a real easy keeper. LOL
Tin snips? Does he just punch a hole in them or what?
Bob drinks lots of pop, so I have lots of cans!
I DO NOT recommend this as a career path, in any way. NO way, never. If you are in a really bad situation, being a cashier at your local megamart is definitely a better job choice for the interim.
If you want a ‘crash course’ in selling stuff,(and avoiding being ‘sold’) and can afford a month or so, with probably little or no income, there are several “door-to-door vacuum cleaner” companies, constantly recruiting, just about everywhere. Many (or most) are unethical,all overpriced, mostly total crap, I lived in a town with no jobs, made just enough to stay eating and breathing, but learned more about “sales” and avoiding con-games than I did spending a summer in Atlantic City, where all my coworkers and neighbors were Romany.
In a SHIFT situation, feeling secure saying “I got just 1 of these.. What’s it worth, bro?” might be good to know.
That’s one of our reasons for transferring our SQF garden to the front yard of the Roost…for all to see. Check w/building officials, telling them we’d rather grow than mow and their response was “we love gardens…especially tomatoes!) Figure if people see us gardening they’ll think to themselves “they must need food”…LOL Rather have them steal from there than our home.
I am going to try this with the spare aquarium I have in my basement.
Thank you for posting this.
I know what you mean about not wanting to post things online for fear of people stealing your ideas. I have had a logo I created “stolen”, website content stolen, articles I wrote stolen and its just not worth putting anything online anymore.