How To Build a Solar Heater Using Aluminum Cans

Did you ever wonder how much you would spend on heating in the winter? This original solution was created to reduce heating costs in places where a constant temperature is as high as 64.4 ° F. It was originally found to be useful by farmers who needed to provide their animals with some kind of thermal comfort — and let’s face it, every degree matters in a chicken coop. This also applies to the shelter of goats or sheep; they are resilient animals but every extra degree you can achieve during the cold season means increased productivity and lower costs.

But note this approach does not work miracles. It only operates in moderately cold weather, and only during daytime.

Using empty aluminum cans, you can actually create a solar panel. You can use beer cans or juice cans; that really doesn’t matter. The great thing about this project is that you don’t have to create it with costly, luxurious materials. Essentially, you’ll need some pieces of wood to create a wooden frame, a piece of plywood to hold the cans in place, a piece of glass and some black paint.

Solar Heater


  • Aluminum cans: Their number depends on the size of the unit, but they should all be the same size.
  • An old double window or some pieces of wood to build a wooden frame
  • A sheet of plywood the size of the wooden frame
  • Heat-resistant silicone
  • A sheet of glass (Plexiglas would be even better) the size of the panel
  • Heat-resistant flat black paint: One can should be enough.
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Air blower: You can use a recycled one from an old computer for example.

Related: Heat Your House with Wood: Tips & Common Mistakes

How does it work?

The device is usually placed in the building’s wall or roof which you need to heat. You must make sure to position it facing South because it gets plenty of exposure to the sun. The screen would be solar-heated. From the inside of the room, air is drawn, heated through the air columns made of cans and forced back into the room.

How do you actually build it?

The first step of this DIY project is to build the wooden framework. Cut a piece of plywood that fits perfectly inside, and nail it to the back of the frame once it’s in place.

Solar Heater 2

Next, it’s time to do the work with your drill. For inlet and outlet hoses, you will need to drill holes in the frame. You should be sure to drill them on two opposite sides of the frame.

Solar Heater 5

Don’t put away that drill yet! You will also need to drill holes in the tops and bottoms of the aluminum cans to allow air to circulate freely inside. Make sure you don’t get yourself injured — the edges of aluminum can be quite sharp. When the drilling of the cans is finished, it is time to paint them. One can of flat black paint should be enough. Give it time to dry out completely before moving to the next step.

Solar Heater

Once the cans are painted and dry, it is time they were put in place. They must be placed inside the wooden frame and sealed together using heat-resistant silicone. C lose the box once all the cans are in place. Use the Plexiglas sheet and the same heat-resistant silicone tube, and ensure that the silicone has completely dried before moving the solar panel.

Once the solar panel is ready, it is time to place it either in the building’s wall or roof. The two large holes cut at two opposite sides of the solar panel need to draw air from the inside of the building and then blow it back inside, so make sure that they are positioned correctly. It’s now time to attach the blower to one of the hoses; the efficiency of your solar heater will greatly improve.

Where can you place the solar heater?

As I said earlier, this form of heater was initially used in shelters for animals to provide them with warmth and improve productivity. The cold season brings along a significant amount of energy loss; animals use extra energy to keep their body temperature in the right ranges instead of using it for producing eggs, milk, or meat.

Some people, however, took this idea to a whole new level by actually replacing a house wall with that sort of solar heating panel. So it is up to you to test its efficiency in the particular area where you live and then decide!

Related: Aluminum Cans Uses for Preppers

Originally posted 2020-07-13 07:00:49.