Solar hot air collectors (AKA solar heating systems for homes that use passive solar heating) can directly heat individual rooms or can potentially pre-heat the air passing into a heat recovery ventilator or through the air coil of an air-source heat pump. Air collectors produce heat earlier and later in the day than liquid systems, so they may produce more usable energy over a heating season than a liquid system of the same size.
Also, unlike liquid systems, air systems do not freeze, and minor leaks in the collector or distribution ducts will not cause significant problems, although they will degrade performance. However, air is a less efficient heat transfer medium than liquid, so solar air heater collectors operate at lower efficiencies than solar liquid collectors. Solar air collectors are often integrated into walls or roofs to hide their appearance.
Room Air Heaters
Air collectors can be installed on a roof or an exterior (south facing) wall for heating one or more rooms. Although factory-built collectors for on-site installation are available, do-it-yourselfers may choose to build and install their own air collector. A simple window air heater collector can be made for a few hundred dollars.