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today firsthand experience building a thermosiphon panel

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Posted by Tater on October 1, 2006, 2:45 am
 
triple the estimated build time!!!!!

sigh, I really wanted to see the panel work in action today, we even
had sun! but I was busy trying to fight with getting a 2x4 mounted on
the outside of the garage which had vinyl siding over insulation over
existing siding over wallboards on studs. 3" drywall screws barely put
a dimple thru the vinyl after all that. had to go back to the store to
get 4" screws to get it all together.

also, trying to cut vents thru that mess without a sawzall is a
nightmare of another nature.

but anyway, as the sun was setting in the west I finally got the last
of the film tacked on and decided to review some other issues I've had
and to let you know what my project is.

I have an uninsulated garage that i'd like to have warm in december
afternoons, I printed both

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SpaceHeating/solar_barn_project.htm


and

http://www.motherearthnews.com/top_articles/1977_November_December/This__30_Solar_Setup_Heats_a_30_x_40_Workshop_For_Five_Hours_or_More_Every

and decided to build a hybrid between the two and see how it works.
since this is only experimental, I made a 4x6 panel. I did this by
taking a 4x6 sheet of 1/2 inch foil faced insulation, attaching it to a
garage, painting it black and using 2x2s to hold two layers of black
metal screen and surounding it with 2x4s and co vering it with a single
sheet of 3 mil film, clamped on with wood lath.

sounds great and ultra easy on paper, but hoo boy, reality bites, hard.
had the 2x4s and 2x2s, so I would have to buy them, meaning i just had
to buy screen, film, hardware cloth, lath. the first trip cost me about
$0 at the local monopolizing hardware store.after getting all the
parts nearby I then tried to figgure out the exact location for cutting
vents.

this is interesting in itself, even more so when attemping without
help. the best way is to drive a drywall screw thru the wall where
you'd eventually have one of the side 2x4s, so you can see where to put
up the insulation.

after finding all the areas of dry rot, I was able to find a spot where
a screw could stay long enough for me to put up the insulation,
temporary attach a 2x4, find out the screws were too short, make a trip
to the store for longer screws and lath to build up the gaps between
they vinyl siding to keep everythign together. cut a 2x2 for the top,
and another one just above the proposed intake vents to support the
screen collector.

after getting most of the framework together, I decided to caulk up the
area and found myself short of caulk! well as this is only
experimental, I decided to caulk most of it and wait and see.

anyway, I am at the point of cutting the vents, didnt have a sawzall,
so I had to use a hand drill and keyhole saw to cut out the vents.
after drilling about 10,000 holes and wearing out my elbow joints
conneting the dots of holes with the keyhole saw, i was able to find
out why I needed longer screws. I guess my uninsulated garage was
insulated. when the vinyl siding was put on, the installers put on a
1/4 inch layer of styrofoam insulation over the old siding. now if i
put some fiberglass inbetween the studs it might get toasty in there! I
suppose a winter project.

just as twilight fell, I got to the point of putting the screen on and
then the film. I decided to leave the hardware cloth and flapper valves
till tommorow, as there wont be any backflow to worry about.

I will admit though, the panel does look more professional than I
thought it would turn out. the film seems too cloudy, as I may have
gotten the wrong stuff. maybe when everything gets warm everything will
sag, and maybe nothing will get warn and nothing will work.

all in all, I'd say I put in about $0 in materials (at premium local
store monopoly prices) and a little over half a day of my labor. I am
sure if the thing kicks off a little heat, it will payfor itself. or at
least it will point me towards building addtional panels to get it to a
point of usability.


Posted by SJC on October 1, 2006, 3:34 am
 
   Every time I do one of these hobby projects, I always know it will
take me more time than I think. I plan and make lists but there is always
something I have to do back to the store to get. It is like a good day of
golf. One good one makes up for all the bad ones and keeps you coming
back for more.


http://www.motherearthnews.com/top_articles/1977_November_December/This__30_Solar_Setup_Heats_a_30_x_40_Workshop_For_Five_Hours_or_More_Every


Posted by Morris Dovey on October 1, 2006, 4:38 am
 Tater (in 1159670753.024860.267300@i42g2000cwa.googlegroups.com) said:

| triple the estimated build time!!!!!

| after
| getting all the parts nearby I then tried to figgure out the exact
| location for cutting vents.
|
| this is interesting in itself, even more so when attemping without
| help. the best way is to drive a drywall screw thru the wall where
| you'd eventually have one of the side 2x4s, so you can see where to
| put up the insulation.

The easiest way to deal with this is to cut a piece of cardboard to
match the back of your panel. Slap it up against the wall and slide it
around as needed - then tape it in place so you can mark all the
locations you're going to need to know.

If there are exposed studs on the inside, you can use the same piece
of cardboard to first ensure that you won't be trying to run one of
your vents through a stud or wiring run. :-)

--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA
http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto



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