Heat Your House With Mirrors

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heat-your-home-with-passive-solar-mirrorsThis article is not about using mirrors to create “multiple suns” to intensify the sunlight hitting your solar collector.  This article is about using plain old mirrors to help heat your house in the winter.

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It’s all well and good if you have the luxury of designing a house to take advantage of the path of the sun.  A well designed modern house will have features that allow the sun’s entry into your home during the winter months.  But what about the 90% of us who own a house that had little to no attention paid to solar features when it was designed or sited?  This simple trick with mirrors will help those of us in a more realistic situation.

This is so simple, you may feel like giving yourself a dope-slap for not doing this at your house already.  Play the quick video below and then use the basis of the knowledge to run out and buy a few cheap mirrors and a few 2 x 4’s and improve on the idea to make your own mirror array.

For you skeptics out there asking yourself just how much heat can be achieved this way – this is the same physics that solar furnaces use to generate heat in the thousands of degrees.  Depending on the hours on sunlight you receive in your area, you should be able to raise the temperature at least a few degrees even if the mirrors do not have a device to track the sun and keep it focused on your window(s).  Even saving 10% is a good amount for such an inexpensive project.  Plus, it’s just plain cool.

Of course, we know at least half of you cannot leave well enough alone.  For you, here’s a link to iwilltry.org where you will find a very thorough overview and some step by step instructions of this very project WITH the ability to track the sun.

curved-mirrorIf you want to try something different, get a 4′ x 8′ piece of plywood and cut it in half lengthwise.  Bend the plywood so it has a slight bow in it and attach it to braces that will keep it in the slightly bowed position.  Now apply reflective film to the outside of the bow – then position the outside of the bow toward your house.  This will reflect a far wider swath of sunlight into your home than just an ordinary flat mirror.



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