Thinking of going green with some dog house solar projects? It’s always better than running an ugly extension cord across your yard. Especially if you have a lawn you need to mow. Solar is efficient, free energy and there’s lots of it to go around. So why not take full advantage for you and your pooch.
I’ve scoured the net for the BEST dog house solar ideas and dog house solar projects, to bring them together in one place. I’m going to share exclusively with you in this article these ideas. Let’s take a dive into the beauty of solar with these great dog house solar projects.
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Introduction To Solar
In order to fully grasp the possibilities of what we can do with solar and our dog houses, we need to jump right into solar. I’m going to start by bringing it back to the basics. That way we can get an idea of what we can do here. After all, you don’t want to wind up needing a field of solar panels to power your dog house disco right? So let’s start at the beginning and learn some basic principles first.
Dog House Solar Fundamentals
Solar systems are actually fairly basic electric circuits when we look at fundamentally how it works. Here are the basic concepts and steps of a typical solar system setup:
1) The Sun rains down upon us with about 430 quintillion joules of energy at any given moment. That’s 430 with 18 zeros, according to the US Department of Energy, some of which hits your solar panel.
2) The solar photons are absorbed by individual photovoltaic cells that make up the solar panel
3) The photovoltaic cells send a direct current charge to the controller module.
4) The controller sends electricity to a battery to charge it or to use its power.
5) A load is attached to the controller, such as a light or a fan or something.
6) You might also have an inverter connected to the battery which changes the power from direct current to alternating current. An inverter would be used when you have ac powered devices as opposed to dc powered devices. For example, your car uses DC current, directly from your battery and alternator which charges the battery. Your house, however, has circuits that run on AC power, not DC. The reason for this is that DC power loses power the greater distance it must travel down a power line. AC power does not lose as much energy and thus makes more sense for a power grid than DC. But DC is ‘stronger’ energy and is therefore used when a circuit does not have to be concerned with voltage drop.
Dog House Solar Battery Or Not?
When you are working out the details of your solar project, you will need to consider one very important aspect of your system. That is will you want to have power at night, or during overcast periods. If you do, then you will need to incorporate a battery into your system. Obviously, if you don’t have a battery, then whatever load you put into the system will only run when the sun is beating down on the solar panel. This can make it difficult if your solar panel is providing power to a heater. I think it makes sense to include a battery into your setup. Adding a battery will accommodate those times when the sun is low, but you still want power.
A Battery’s Purpose
The purpose of your solar design will determine if a battery is truly required. For example, if you want to have some nice lighting around or in your dog’s house that will light up at night, then you need to have battery power to do that. Batteries can be consumed over time and will eventually need to be replaced. This is the downside to having a battery as a part of your solar setup. Again, it really depends on your intention with how your project will function. But enough of the dry, boring part of solar. Let’s jump into some cool (and hot) ideas.
Dog House Solar Fans
One of the most common and useful solar ideas I came across is utilizing solar to power a fan to keep air moving in the dog house. There are a variety of small fans on the market that seem to have mixed reviews. A lot of them look like nothing more than a small computer fan connected to a small, cheap-looking solar panel. Well, I have a better idea.
Attic Fans and Dog House Solar
I found some really cool solar powered attic fans on Amazon that I think will work really well and they don’t even look bad either. They’re a bit pricey compared to the smaller ones I found online that claim to be exclusively for dog houses, but I believe the reviews tell the tale. All the cheap, little fans that run on solar that I found have pretty bad reviews. A lot of people complain about the fans not running well unless the Sun is in full bloom so to speak. The other thought I had about these is that they appear to be cheaply made.
You Get What You Pay For
Why spend $20 on something that won’t work well and will likely break? It makes more sense to me to look at a product that is intended for a more reliable purpose. That’s why I believe the solar-powered attic fan is a really cool idea (no pun intended). The fan is after all intended to be used on your home roof. Therefore it is designed with longevity, aesthetic appeal and functionality all in mind. People would get pretty upset if they installed a solar attic fan onto their roof to have it leak, or not work after a short time. The companies selling these would be in trouble. That’s why I say go for the gold and get the right thing, after all, you get what you pay for right?
Conditioned for Cool
I’ve looked everywhere online for solar-powered air conditioners and here’s what I’ve found. Most true air conditioners that use a refrigerant and work just like your refrigerator, all use too much power for a solar dog house unless you have more than just the roof covered in panels.
However, I did find an air conditioning unit that uses water, so you do need to refill it from time to time. But it is 12 volt which is ideal for our solar setup. And it only uses up to 30 watts, which makes it reasonable to supply power to form the solar on the roof of your dog house as you can pick up a solar panel that runs around 50 watts that is 26″ x 21″ roughly.
Air Conditioning Power Requirements
Two of these solar panels on the roof and you’re going to have enough power to run this air cooling unit and some lighting as well maybe. Not bad if you ask me. The reviews of both the solar panel I found and the air cooler seem pretty solid too. I’ve added links to these units on the recommendations page. If you want to check it out further (or even buy it, yes they are affiliate links but hey I have to pay for this site somehow right?).
Keep in mind I only recommend products that I’ve researched, read all the reviews and honestly believe is a decent purchase. Anyway, having a cooling unit on a dog house is a really cool idea. No pun intended, and it will keep your pooch comfy on those hot days outside.
Dog House Solar Heating Things Up
The next thing I researched setting up was a solar heating pad. This is for inside the dog house to keep my dog warm during cooler times. I found a 9″ x 12″ heating pad intended for rabbits which state on the box that it uses 25 watts. Again, this is well within our range for a solar panel like the one I mentioned earlier. I did look into other types of heaters, like the ones you might buy for your desk at work or for a home for a small room. The issue with these is that the majority of them draw far too much power.
The solution here is definitely going the route of a heating pad instead as it uses much less power. That and if it is intended for rabbits, who like to chew by the way, then it is likely to be safe for your dog. The pad even has cord protection. The only issue I found was that the pad is 120V AC. This, compared to the 12V DC that we would prefer for a simpler electrical setup. So I suppose the catch is that you would need a power inverter and transformer. Due to cars being 12v, getting the power issues resolved really doesn’t seem like a big deal, and it isn’t.
I found a bunch of inverters that all offer transforming both from DC to AC and also bumping our voltage up to 120V from 12. I found one that was only $50 but also 400 watt and even has USB charging ports. Now I know it’s not likely your dog will need to charge a phone. But how cool would it be to have a small phone charging station mounted on the outside of your dog house? You could be hanging out with your furry friend(s) in the yard and still have your phone handy while charging. I bet that’s one no one has pulled off yet.
Having a USB charging port also offers a variety of other things we can do due to the plethora of different things that can run off USB power. You could get fans or lights for example that runs off USB. I’ve linked to some really cool stuff on the recommendations page. Should you want to go take a look at what I found that is.
Rambling Down The River
At this point, I believe you must be primed to hunt for 12-volt things you can power with solar for your dog house. Well, how about a running waterfall or a drinking fountain outside. I was searching around for ideas and came across a picture of an old mill on a river’s edge. That led me to think: “What if I had a small goldfish pond and waterfall on one side of the dog house?” That would make the area landscaped for a showcase event!
Fountains & Waterfalls
Then I remembered how my cat always feels the need to ignore her water bowl and meow at the tub faucet for running water. That reminded me that again running water tends to be somewhat cooler than the atmosphere around it. This is due to evaporation which is accelerated by water movement of course. So you could run a waterfall or a drinking fountain for your dog.
Dog House Solar – Water Pumps
The best concept here is to utilize a marine water pump. These are typically 12V, just like you have in your car so we don’t need to use an inverter. I found a pretty decent marine water pump. The decent ones run from $30-50 and up so it isn’t going to break the bank. This water pump I found also uses around 35 watts of energy if my math is correct that is. Okay, so I double-checked the math and we’re good. Again, a 50-watt solar panel could easily power a 35-watt pump.
I’m not certain how long the pump would run for off a car battery, say at night for example when the panel isn’t producing any energy though so this is something to keep in mind that you may want to turn it off at night or install a timer. Once I’ve completed my solar dog house project, I’ll write another article with all the exact numbers. So make sure you sign up for my mail list at the bottom of the page so you get that update.
Dog House Solar Lights, Camera, Action!
I think adding lights is one of the more obvious projects to add a level of awesome to your dog house. As we are talking about solar power being the source of energy, I recommend we look at LED lighting. I found some really cool 12V LED light strips that are intended to be used for cars to make some cool lighting effects. This would work great again with our solar project as we again don’t need an inverter to run these lights. The other great thing about LED lights is that they use minimal power. This is good, for your dog house solar project because it would be easy to add some lighting. I’m going to keep this section short because really you can only do so much with lighting. I will throw out a few decent ideas though.
You can add one or more exterior spotlights. Maybe they focus on a water/food dish. Or maybe you mount them on the side of the dog house focusing on some planted gardening surrounding the dog house.
Under Fascia Mounted Lighting.
Under that edge of the roof that I assume protrudes from the edge of the dog house is the fascia. This is a great place to mount some LED strip lighting and looks VERY cool.
Spot Deck And Floor Lighting
If you’ve made a porch extension to your dog house, a neat concept is to install some recessed lighting. This can be installed into the deck of the porch. This looks very modern and gives a professional look to the dog house.
Adding colored light to the inside of the dog house can look really cool as it floods out of the dog house doorway. This tends to look best with colored lighting.
Jetson Is That You?
Adding automation to a dog house is the ultimate solar project. This concept is to add automation to your dog house solar project. Imagine you had a door that would open when your dog walks up to it. You could use a pressure pad so if the dog is standing close to the door, that it will open. Likewise, you could also use motion detection to activate a door or activate the lighting.
For making the door move, or to add other movement automation you can use a 12v linear actuator. I came across this concept a few years back when I had a pickup truck. I purchased two 12v linear actuators and used these along with a switch and some wiring to make my tailgate automated. To control the tailgate, I had a switch in the cab and another in the truck bed. Of course, I had disconnected the locking mechanism as the linear actuators held the tailgate in place.
Using the linear actuator gave me all kinds of ideas like having an automated sliding door on your dog house. Have you ever seen the show Star Trek? You know those doors they have on the ship that WOOSH open or closed? Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing on your dog house? Another neat idea would be to add a rotating statue on the roof or something along those lines. Or you could go all out and have a built-in waterfall watering dish fountain that rotates and has built-in LED lighting. Now we’re cooking with gasoline!
Dog house solar projects can not only add that immensely cool look and feel to your dog house but are a fun project. That project is awesome for saving the environment. You could brag to friends about your ‘green‘ dog house and it will feel great. A solar dog house project is an awesome way to bring your dog house into the future.
If you like the ideas I’ve shared here, take a look at my recommendations page. I’ve compiled all the solar items I’ve researched for your reviewing pleasure. Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed the article. Add yourself to my mailing list to stay up to date.
Dog House DIY Articles
- Dog House Size Charts – 440 breeds with recommended minimum sizes for your dog house including doorway size and floor space.
- Making a wood plank dog house – the video and article
- Wood plank dog house plans – free for you and all
- Wood Materials for building your dog house – Know which woods are bad for your dog and which are safe.
- Best Solutions For How To Insulate A Dog House Cheap
- Dog House Building Materials Basics
- Roof Guide – Roof Types, Roof Materials And More For Your Dog House
- Dog House Air Conditioner Guide
- Waterproofing Your Dog House
- Dog House Recommended
- 10 Best Dog House Door Ideas
- Dog House Types And Considerations When Buying
Dog House Videos
- Mobility – Dog House Reno – Episode 1 – Enter The Mobile Dog House – How to install a set of wheels on your dog house to make it mobile.
- Insulating – Dog House Reno – Episode 2 – Insulating a Dog House – How to install a double layer of insulation and an all-weather carpet to make the dog house warm and cozy for your dog.
- Strip-Curtain Door – Dog House Reno – Episode 3 – Making a Strip Curtain Dog House Door – How to make a double layer strip curtain for your dog house door and install it.
A Couple Of Dog Breeds Worth Reading About
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