Build Your Own Solar Dehydrator
Building your own solar dehydrator is easier than it sounds. You might want to build one for fun, if you're the type that likes to create things.
Or, maybe you want to save money on electricity (as well as the cost of an electric dehydrator).
Or, maybe you can build one for a science project at school. Whatever you want to do it for, know that it's not too difficult and doesn't cost much.
Solar Food Dehydrator Plans
Try these links for detailed plans on how to build a food dryer at home. The first one, a solar tunnel, is something that's probably more ambitious than other plans, but it's pretty interesting to read about.
- Here are plans to build a solar tunnel. The idea is foods will dry much quicker when in direct sunlight than in shade.
- This is a food dehydrator that's made of two cardboard boxes and plastic wrap.
- More Homemade Dehydators
Why I Recommend an Electric Model
A solar dehydrator uses sun energy instead of electricity, so you won't have any energy costs when using it. However, the benefits stop there. You're limited to using it only when it's sunny. In some climates, it'll never be dry enough to dehydrate your food with only solar power.
Although a commercial dehydrator costs money to run, they bring many benefits.
- First, the cost of the electricity to run a home dehydrator is negligible. You can run it all day long and it won't use up as much energy as a large TV.
- Second, you have on-demand drying. You can dry any time of the year, day or night.
- Third, you have total control. With most home dehydrators these days, you can adjust the thermostat so you're able to dry anything at any temperature.
Drying times with a dehydrator are also more predictable. Sun drying is great, but it simply doesn't work for everyone.
An electric dehydrator may not be as energy efficient as a solar dehydrator, but the benefits far outweigh the cost to run it. The best thing is to try both and see what happens. For some, drying in the sun is going to work just fine.
Solar Food Dryer Book
If you still prefer to build your own, you can take a look at a book called The Solar Food Dryer: How to Make and Use Your Own Low-Cost, High Performance, Sun-Powered Food Dehydrator.
It has complete step-by-step instructions for building a low-cost solar food dehdyrator from readily available materials, solar energy design concepts, food drying tips and recipes, resources, references, solar charts, and more.