Solar Air Heaters - Review by Phil Tripp
The Solar Air Heater available from negergy is a relatively new product. It has already been taken up by a number of 'early adopters' in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. Many customers thinking of purchasing a solar air heater would like to first hear some feedback from an existing user.
Thankfully, one of our first customers was Phil Tripp, who kindly provided the following endorsement via email (re-published here with permission):
Research & Selection
Phil Tripp here, a resident of Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast and a journalist who does my research before making a major purchase as tightly as I do when writing a feature for News Ltd papers.
Having already purchased a 6kW solar system for the roof to feed into the grid and offset my own power use as well as a solar hot water heater back in 2010, it took me three years to find a suitable solar air heater to warm the inside of my rather large house. I looked at units from the US and Europe as well as Chinese built units and waited until I found the right one, which just happens to be Australian-designed and manufactured with superb quality by a Chinese company.
Purchase & Packaging
Purchasing the large unit from negergy.com, I was impressed with the design and specs off the net but more so when the box arrived. The packaging and insulation of the unit was outstanding in its protection during transit with bubble wrap, styrofoam inserts and solid boxing as well as strapping. It was easy to move by myself and operating it is intuitive as an Apple computer.
Installation & Effectiveness
I could have mounted it outside on the roof or on a rack under a window but opted to have it sit in a large window with a simple set of attachments which allow me to remove it in spring, store it in a spare closet and replace it when it gets chilly. The ease of use has been fantastic.
My parrot Jackson in his favourite morning position--right behind the unit which I have tarted up a bit with a drape of parrot fabric not blocking the holes. He loves the radiant heat from the unit itself as well as being just outside the stream of warm air.
From about ten minutes after dawn, the internal plates start creaking as they expand but this sound is muted as is the fan kicking in 5-10 minutes later. It exudes a warmth and power that fills my kitchen, dining and living room with more than adequate heat.
I've not used the thermostat but have had to open doors and windows on a couple of occasions when the sun unexpectedly blasted bright and clear. It's saved me hundreds of dollars so far in the three months I've had it and my electrical bill backs this up. I am totally satisfied with the look, feel, operation, reliability and components of the unit, so much so that I am considering getting a second, smaller heater for the side of the building when the sun shifts at 1 pm.
I'm happy to serve as an endorser of this unit as a paid customer and with no inducement or financial consideration to do so.
An earlier email from Phil describes in more detail how he mounted the unit:
I was going to have it mounted outside but the quotes were running about $600-800 for the mount and then a couple of hundred for the window alterations to allow both the cool and warm air to circulate. I figured that fitting it into the window space, tilting it back about 20 degrees to best capture the average position of the sun and removing it when the weather gets warmer and storing it in a closet vertically was the best way of doing it.
The real laugh is how I mounted it to the window frame. One brass round eye screw on each side about the level of the top of unit, using two cable ties going through the top hole on the frame and adding a shoelace as a fail safe. When it's time to take it down, it's simply snip off each side and wait for winter.
Travel Writer & Consultant | www.philtripp.com