The DIY World Store

Make your own solar panels for $1 per watt
Get the book
The Complete DIY Solar Panel Book

Help us keep posting valuable experiments.

Posts Tagged ‘solar camper heater’

PostHeaderIcon Building A Passive Solar Heating Porch For My RV

I spent the day yesterday building a passive solar heating porch for my off grid solar RV. I will use the natural energy of the sun to passively heat my RV during the cold winter days. At night heated buckets of water will give off heat saved up during the daylight hours.

The idea is to use a common technique to passively heat my motorhome with solar heating. By building a south facing porch which is enclosed in clear plastic like a greenhouse I can collect heat during the day when the sun is shining. Black painted buckets of water will absorb the heat during the day and release that heat at night after the sun goes down.

Black plastic sheeting on the back walls of the porch will absorb energy from the sun, further heating up the enclosed solar porch. This will also allow me to plant winter vegetables and keep some fresh greens on the table through most of the winter, if not all year.

I will build a fully enclosed room at the end of the porch for my old pot bellied wood stove. The old wood stove heats up water as well, which will be pumped into the RV and pass through a radiator with a blower fan to heat the inside of the RV.

The heated air inside the wood stove room will also be blown into the RV through a nearby window which will be free to open or close as needed.

Another advantage of the solar porch is that heat loss from the main door of the motorhome will be greatly reduced. By entering the porch through a separate offset door and then entering the RV through the main front door, heat loss will be minimized.

Having the better portion of the south facing side of the RV enclosed will further insulate the RV from the raging elements outside. Campers and motorhomes are not well insulated for winter and cannot be insulated much better due to the very thin walls. By enclosing one side of the RV I can keep some of the valuable heat inside where it belongs.

The whole porch will be constructed completely out of used pallet wood. I am gathering up free used pallets to use as building materials for my solar porch and greenhouse. This will bring the total cost of the greenhouse down to well under $100 when fully finished. The only cost will be the construction grade clear plastic and black plastic for enclosing the porch. Some screws and recycled pallet nails are being used as well.

So far I have the porch footings and floor framing up. I got a hand rail installed and started on the wood stove room. The ManOfMany Thingz from youtube came over to help out for most of the project. I am very thankful for all the help he gave me. I do not think I could have done so much alone with these heavy pallets.

Building A Solar Heating Porch For My RV

Follow The Off Grid Project and learn how to get your own home off the grid on a budget:

Please donate to help keep The Off Grid Project going: Donate

Watch the video:

PostHeaderIcon Passive Solar Window Heater For My Off Grid Camper

I recently made a passive solar window heater for my off grid camper. You can find the details here: Passive Solar Window Heater. It is simply a sheet of styrofoam with aluminum foil on one side, painted black. There are vent holes in the top and bottom to allow air to flow. The heater is kept away from the window about an inch to allow free air flow from top to bottom.

Heating camper with solar heater

On really sunny days this solar heater puts out so much heat that you can feel the hot air flowing out the top of the heater. On partly sunny days it still works though. Enough to keep the inside of the camper above freezing on very cold days. One day when I tested it, the temperature outside was 30 degrees F and inside it was 65. This morning it was 7 degrees F outside and in the camper it was about 30 degrees at 10 am. I have not been heating the camper for a few days while working on other projects in the house. I find these results impressive considering the fact that the only heat in the camper for days now has been the passive solar window heater and the temperatures are above freezing in the day. And also the fact that the living room and bathroom are both missing most of the insulation in the ceiling while I repair water damage.

Later in the day today it got up to about 30 degrees outside and 45 inside with no other heat source.

I will soon be installing another passive solar heater on the bathroom window, which faces south – south west. I will use an outdoor version which rests on the window sill and draws air from the interior of the camper, heats it up and then passes it back inside the camper through the window.


Another project I am working on is a passive solar heater under the floor of the camper. I have been putting skirting around the camper outside to help keep the heat inside during the cold nights. On the south side I am using some salvaged window frames and some old black roofing materials I found. I will post details when it is done.