Sunday, November 15, 2009

Refurbishing Our Solar Collector, Part 2

After a thorough cleaning and wirebrushing, we gave the entire collector two coats of flat black paint.  I decided there was no need to paint the famework a contrasting color.  The color contrast will be provided by the molding on the outside of the fiberglass.

I figured this was my last chance to photograph the air inlet, so here it is.  I used 6" stovepipe to convey air from the house to the heater.  After I took this picture, I vacuumed out the inlet and painted it black as well.  The white spot in the corner of the heater is a milkweed vine seed that landed in a rather inhospitable place to sprout.

Here's the air outlet, which conveys hot air from the heater to the house.  Once again, 6-inch stovepipe does the job.

The next step was to nail on new fiberglass and seal the edges with caulk to prevent air leaks.  We've been using it for several days now, and it's gratifying to have the collector working once again.  The final step for the front of the collector will be to install brightly-colored flashing and molding, which should happen this week.  Later this winter, or perhaps next winter, we will attack the ivy that has completely colonized the back of the heater.  Also, we will have to cut down two large pine trees that shade the heater during part of the afternoon.  Hell, they were only 18" tall when I planted them in1984; how was I supposed to know?  This business of removing inappropriate biomass is an ongoing theme for me in this unique riparian jungle I've created.  Fire hazards, unwanted shade in some spots, not enough shade in other spots; there's a lot more fine-tuning than I had ever anticipated.