Home heating with beer cans

Back in the late 1970s, Bill Tolle of Woodlawn, Ohio figured out a way to use empty beer cans to heat his home in the winter. Basically he made a solar heater, with the empty cans trapping the sun's heat. But the beer can angle perked the media's interest.

     Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 22, 2014
     Category: Engineering and Construction | Inventions | 1970s

Hey if it works, Great! :lol: :coolsmile:
Posted by Tyrusguy on 08/22/14 at 09:37 AM
Isn't it amazing how simple, inexpensive ideas like this NEVER get taken up by big business and put to use? Does anyone remember the barber that collected human hair, stuffed it into panty hose, and demonstrated not only how efficiently it soaked up oil but was biodegradable, reusable, and a totally renewable ecologically clean resource. But.... nobody was going to make money selling chemicals.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 08/22/14 at 10:08 AM
A project worthy of the Whole Earth Catalog generation. Drinking that much beer would probably cause me to forget why I was saving the empties.
Posted by KDP on 08/22/14 at 12:42 PM
You can buy that type of collector from dozens of companies. They will always be marginal because of large surface area needed, relatively small amount of energy which can be collected, and other site-specific variables.

The main problem is you're willing to overlook a lot of faults and some pretty poor performance in something you built yourself, but you expect perfection when you lay out cash for someone else to do it.

A better way is to take old 8' florescent bulbs, cut off the ends (expect to wind up with about 1/3 of the number you start with because of breakage), pour in sand, roll it around to scour off the white phosphorus, pour out, pour in black paint, tilt back and forth carefully to coat back half of tube, then put them in manifolds so air is blown in one end of the bank of them and out the other. A sheet of thin, cheap glass to insulate and protect the bulbs. Everything but the cover glass can be easily scrounged.

Works great! Until there's a wet snow which freezes to the glass, or some neighbor kid's soccer ball crashes through it, or . . .
Posted by Phideaux on 08/22/14 at 06:23 PM
@Expat47 -- When I first heard about it, I thought that hair idea was great! Then someone ran the numbers -- you'd have to collect all the hair from all the barbershops and beauty parlors in the U.S. for more than 3 months to have enough to handle a decent-sized spill. And that's assuming everyone stops using dyes, gels, etc. which contribute their own pollution. I was sorely disappointed.
Posted by Phideaux on 08/22/14 at 06:33 PM
So who wants to try it? I'll help make the empties!(if you're buyin' of course 😜 )
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 08/22/14 at 07:24 PM
@Phideaux - A simpler method, with no mercury, would use coregated fiberglass panels as used on garden sheds. Steel can also be used with insulation. After painting flat black and the paint is still tacky, you can carefully stretch a clear plastic film over it. The paint will act as glue.
Posted by BMN on 08/22/14 at 09:48 PM
BEER !!!

Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 08/22/14 at 10:17 PM
I came across a far more recent version of this idea on Pinterest last year, involving pop cans. For some reason commenters on that thought it would take a long time to get that many cans. There must be a lot of slobs around my area, even if I didn't drink beer I could find enough cans in a day to make this. I'm too lazy to do any of it, though.
Posted by Dave Plechaty on 08/23/14 at 03:37 AM
It's a wonderful idea to heat the room with the empty beer can. I will apply this with my home.

Thanking you.
Posted by sorwar on 10/15/14 at 02:57 AM
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