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Solar (water) heating in coop?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Has anyone ever tried to use solar water heating (homemade/DIY/store bought) for adding some heat to a chicken coop?  I was thinking about how to build my coop this winter for the spring for laying hens.  It isn't "too" cold here, but there are weeks/days that are cold enough to be uncomfortable.  I was thinking that I could DIY a collector system with circulation in the walls to provide some warmth and temperature stability.  It wouldn't be hard to do, although it might require some electrical input for a pump (might be enough to have a panel like those that power fencing for the purpose).

Anyway, has anyone ever seen this done?

Anyone ever tried to do this?

Am I being random? (this is an easy one!) big_smile

post #2 of 15

My wife laughs every time she sees one of my "solar powered coop" sketches lying around. . .

The pump I'm thinking of using is from a table-top fountain. They're quiet and reliable - one moving part and the only mechanical contact surface is the impeller's bore on the smooth steel axle. They don't have a lot of "head" though, so it won't work to pump water up from a tank to a rooftop collector. I'm willing to spend money roll  on a good pond or yard-fountain pump later, once I've worked through some design and implementation issues. They're usually the same as the fishtank type, only bigger.

One of the issues with wet-collection solar heating is that the collection part might freeze overnight - so you have to use saline, or glycol, or have the tubing drain when the water isn't being pumped into it. Pretty much every problem has a solution, but every solution introduces another problem.

I'm looking at the coop as a small test-bed for solar, rather than an end in itself. I built and insulated it accordingly.

4 legal hens and one "ninja"
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post #3 of 15

solar water heater.

Since your still in the process of building a good chicken coop, why dont you just insulate a well built coop. I live in Wiscosin and so far my small 19 X 21 and 6 feet high coop is still keeping the water from freeze when the water is freeze outside. My coop is somewhat insulate, but not too well. Thanks to the help of my 18 chickens. They are my solar heater.

post #4 of 15

18 little corn-fired furnaces!

4 legal hens and one "ninja"
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post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by thaokou21 

solar water heater.

Since your still in the process of building a good chicken coop, why dont you just insulate a well built coop. I live in Wiscosin and so far my small 19 X 21 and 6 feet high coop is still keeping the water from freeze when the water is freeze outside. My coop is somewhat insulate, but not too well. Thanks to the help of my 18 chickens. They are my solar heater.


I agree. I certainly appreciate your desire to tinker and get into a cool project but I can't believe that its the best way to go. A solar system would be a heck of a lot more fun, but insulation would be much more effective and reliable. Nothing to freeze or break and insulation doesn't care of the sun shines or not.

All that said, I keep mulling over the idea of some kind of solar thermal set up to keep water from freezing with no electricity. Projects like this are lots of fun and a nice break from the normal homeowner/smallholder kid of stuff.

post #6 of 15

I am going to be using solar to heat a hoop house. Mother Earth News has the plans (several designs) for a home made solar window heater. I want to put one in the south end of the hoop house. I was reading that a gentleman made 3-4 of them for his home and he had to take them out as his house became too warm. So I think in the cold climates that it is worth a try to heat up the hoop house. Also the same site has hot water solar heaters that are home made and work great. They are made out of an old hotwater heater.

post #7 of 15

hens & chicks :

Mother Earth News has the plans (several designs) for a home made solar window heater.


Cool. Any chance you can post a link?

post #8 of 15

A solar system would be a heck of a lot more fun, but insulation would be much more effective and reliable. Nothing to freeze or break and insulation doesn't care of the sun shines or not.


Not an either-or. If you want to get any value out of solar you need to insulate the heck out of the heated space. The first thing to do is stop heat loss, then you look for ways to get heat into the space, whether solar panels, solar windows, or even thermocubes and red lights.

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post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketDad 

A solar system would be a heck of a lot more fun, but insulation would be much more effective and reliable. Nothing to freeze or break and insulation doesn't care of the sun shines or not.


Not an either-or. If you want to get any value out of solar you need to insulate the heck out of the heated space. The first thing to do is stop heat loss, then you look for ways to get heat into the space, whether solar panels, solar windows, or even thermocubes and red lights.


Exactly. Insulate the heck out of the space then heat it with chicken power.

post #10 of 15

I have often thought about putting in a "heat sink wall" on the south side of the coop. This would be a wall, perhaps just the lower half, that is made out of large black containers that hold water. They would have to be rectangular in shape, and insulated in between. Even better make a plastic or glass "window" and position them behind it. Unfortunately the climate here is not suitable for this kind of arrangement. When it is cold, it is still cloudy, and my yard is shaded. I don't think freezing would be a concern unless it got quite cold. It would be good to have a back up heat source, but I think this would even out temperatures a lot.
Too bad Patandchickens has not been around lately, I am sure she would like to weigh in on this. You could do a search for "solar heat" here, as this has been discussed quite a bit.

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