Although we have witnessed different yet not so eco friendly mediums to generate heat for the home, adopting the route to building a solar heater out of pop cans may sound even more productive. Utilizing recycled cans for the formation of an efficiently devised solar heater is not only a free source of heat for your place, but also a great way to reuse those scrap and trash materials lying around. Right from complementing the compact size of your house’s window to making it considerable enough to heat an open area, accumulating those frittered away cans may now be creatively employed for a solar heater. However, you need to know that the size of the heater basically determines how much of each component you require. Here, we are providing you with step-by-step instructions on how to build a reliable, large solar heater that’s about 6 to 7 feet tall with recycled cans.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Time required: 60 minutes – 2 hours

Resources required

180 pop cans


2” by 4” boards


¾-inch bit for drill

Wet dry vacuum hose


Black BBQ paint


Sliding glass patio door

Nails or screws

2 bare-floor vacuum hose attachment heads

Estimated cost: Not applicable


1. Foremost, to go with the length and width of the sliding glass patio door, cut 2-inch by 4-inch boards.

2. To complement the dimensions of a sliding glass door at your place, cut the plywood with accurate estimation.

3. Using nails or screws, unite the 2-inch by 4-inch boards together into a proper frame. Take the plywood and attach it seamlessly to the boards to build the heater’s rear side.

4. Now, incise the foam board insulation to accommodate properly inside the frame against the plywood backing. After this, simply adhere the insulation into place. You can stop air from escaping by applying caulk to all the inside seams.

5. Take the stated 180 aluminum cans and drill an apt ¾-inch hole in each can’s bottom.

6. Using black high heat barbecue grill paint, you can paint all the cans and put them for the drying session.

7. In the center of the bottom and top frame boards, cut an appropriate rectangular vent. Ensure the length of both these vents is as long as the vacuum hose attachments. This will enable the adequate and ideal air intake and outflow.

8. The rear side of 12 recycled cans should have caulk applied. Lay these cans across the wooden frame’s bottom inside. Place the cans in such a manner that the caulk is at the back – this will enable it to hold them in place.

9. Use a bead of caulk and apply it towards the first can’s top rim alongside the rear side of a new can. Place the new can foremost, laying it aptly so that the top holes and base are lined up. However, ensure the back caulk is against the box’s back wood.

10. After this, simply bear down on the new can into place firmly. Continue repeating the entire process across the first can row till the second string of 12 cans is resolutely caulked to and on top of the first row. You need to keep on stacking cans into lines and columns till there’s a total of 15 rows.

11. Towards the outer edge of one vacuum floor attachment, apply caulk now. Place it over the bottom rectangular vent on the frame’s outside part. Firm it up by pressing hard and if required apply additional caulk. This will help in creating an air-tight seal. You need to repeat this process with the top vent.

12. To the bottom vents and towards the top, smoothly attach the vacuum hose.

13. To form a proper box lid, unite the sliding glass door to the frame’s top most part. The glass should be placed firmly by applying caulk around the frame edges.

14. Bend over the solar heater vertically against a wall that faces south. Bring adjustments to the leaning position till the solar heater gets sunlight at the maximum.

15. Last but not the least, penetrate the bottom air-intake hose into a window’s bottom. You can also insert into a drilled hole that lies low on your home’s wall. Simply push in the top air hose into the nearby window’s top or into a hole that has been drilled high on the wall.

Frequently asked questions

1. Does using recycled cans help develop an efficient solar heater?

Certainly, employing recycled cans for a solar heater not only helps you keep your surroundings damage-free, but provides you with a natural, even more efficient way to generate heat for your home. Besides being efficient, they are also considered as pretty cost effective.

Quick tips

1. You can also attach the solar heater to your home’s window, this will enable the rear hose to effortlessly enter the window’s bottom.

2. For the adequate intake and outlet vents, one can even drill holes into the house wall’s side. They can also keep the warmed air from escaping by pushing the hoses through the holes and sealing them up with caulk.

Things to watch out for

Cool air comes into via the bottom vent house. Since the air gets warm by the sun, the air moves in the upward direction via the pop cans. The warm air, on the other hand, runs away from the top vent house.

Source: ecofriend

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