Bob's Solar Heated Ice Shack


This is a really simple, efficient and cost effective way to heat an ice fishing shack using solar.  It appears to work very well.

Thanks very much to Bob for providing this material!

If Bob can heat an ice shack with solar, what are you waiting for!


From Bob:


Being retired and already having installed Solar Domestic Hot Water and an active Solar Air Heater on our house I was impressed with the ability to capture meaningful heat even in frigid conditions. Since I ice fish on the Lake of the Woods and have a friend who owns an 8 ft X 12 ft ice fishing shack I began thinking about how I could heat the shack with Solar. It came to mind that such an application would have some key considerations in its favor.

1) There is no need to worry about buildings or trees blocking the panelís exposure to the sun.

2) Since the ice shack is portable a southerly alignment is not an issue.

3) The use of the shack is typically only during the daylight hours.

4) The reflection off the snow should give an added boost to the panelís performance.


The insulating, sealing and installation of the panel was done on dry land last summer.

I was fortunate to acquire 8 used 4 ft X 8 ft boards of 2Ē foil faced polyiso insulation so I insulated and sealed the shack first.


Interior of the ice shack.  The 2 X 6 plank resting on the barbeque
is to stabilize the shack during transport.

For the Solar Panel design I decided on Garyís double screen mesh passive design.

Since this was to be a low cost/ no cost project the glazing used was 6 mil poly rather than the more durable, better looking but more expensive clear corrugated polycarbonate panels.

The treated 2 X 4ís were recovered from a deck replacement project.

Even the black paint used on the shack was only $10 because it was a wrongly mixed tin that I just had them add black coloring to.

The only other actual expense was for the 4 ft X 7 ft times 4 bug screen that was used for the flow through absorption surface.

The construction of the panels was very simple using 2 X 4ís on edge for the frame and 2 X 4ís ripped in half to support the bug screen.


This is an interior view of the panel wall with slot cut through
for the thermal siphoning heated air to return into the shack.




There are 4 identical holes under the bench to allow cooler air to enter the bottom of the panels.

Back draft dampers are installed over the top holes to reduce back flow on non sunny days.

I initially used 6 mil plastic for the dampers but found they were too heavy and impeded the weak thermal siphoning forces.

As suggested by Gary these dampers have since been replaced with light weight garbage bag plastic which do work better.

This interior wall was left uninsulated to take advantage of the radiant heat emanating through the wall which appears to be quite significant.







Yesterday February 18th on a beautiful calm sunny day with an outside temperature of 31 F I was pleased to find temperatures in the shack varying from 90 F at the ceiling to 55 F at the floor. Midpoint temps were perfect if not slightly too warm at between 70 and 80 F.


When installing the plastic glazing it is important to do it on a sunny day otherwise it will stretch and become baggy.

Sealing and insulation of the structure being heated is very important.

Overall this was a simple cost effective and satisfying project that I hope others like minded fisherman will find useful.




Questions and Comments?

Bob will answer email questions -- you can reach him at:
Bob Allan:  ballankenora AT gmail DOT com   (replace AT with @ and DOT with a period).
Kenora on beautiful Lake of the Woods in Ontario Canada

Or, leave a comment/question below.

blog comments powered by Disqus



Gary Feb 20, 2010