If you live in an area with lots of wind, you might be wondering if you could use it to power your home. We put together a quick guide to show you how to build a wind turbine for your home.
Building a standalone wind turbine may require help from a professional. But a small rooftop turbine could be built using the following steps:
- Construct the wind turbine blades
- Build a hub for the turbine equipment
- Mount the turbine to the hub
- Connect the blades and the turbine together on the mount
- Install the charge controller and battery
- Install the wind turbine on the edge of your roof
For more detailed plans, read the step by step guide below.
Types of Home Wind Turbines
Wind power is one of the fastest growing sources of renewable energy worldwide, with 40% of the total power consumed by the world now coming from wind turbines. There are over 61,000 wind turbines installed across the United States. Today, there are a couple of options for powering your house through wind. First, let’s learn about the two different designs of home wind turbines.
Two Types Of Home Wind Turbines
Horizontal-Axis Wind Turbines
The horizontal-axis home wind turbine uses a rotor that spins horizontally. Most wind turbines for homes are horizontal-axis wind turbines. They end up converting more wind energy into electricity. This has boosted their popularity. However, they take up more space than their counterparts. This is due to the blades needing to be long to capture more torque.
Vertical-Axis Wind Turbines
The vertical-axis home wind turbine is also known as the Darrieus style turbine. It looks more like an egg beater and has a rotor that is vertical to the ground. They are not as efficient as the horizontal-axis turbines. But they take up less space than their counterparts. This makes them ideal in small environments like urban homes. They also are less harmful to the environment. They injure less birds and animals since they take up less of a footprint.
Types Of Home Wind Turbine Installations
Now that you are familiar with the two different types of wind turbines, let’s dive into the two different places that you could install them at your home.
Rooftop Home Wind Turbine Installation
The most popular residential wind turbine installation is on the roof of your home. This installation keeps it away from children and others in the backyard. It also keeps it further away from animals. Though it requires more pre-work from a structural engineer, it is less costly overall.
There are sizing and power limitations, since you are relying on the structural integrity of your roof. So your maximum power generation will be smaller than a ground-level wind turbine. But the wiring to your home will be easier, since most of the additional components can be installed in your attic.
Standalone Tower Home Wind Turbine Installation
A standalone tower wind turbine can be installed on the ground near your home. The further away from your home it is installed, the more your installation costs will be. It means longer tunneling and wire runs from the turbine to your electrical panel.
Since this turbine is built free standing from your house, you have a high power maximum. In fact, the only power limitation you will have is spacing. You need to consider how much space the blades require to freely rotate. As a rule of thumb, the longer the blade, the more energy output.
These residential wind turbines will require a new foundation to be laid to provide structural stability. Here’s a quick video showing you how that foundation is built.
How To Build A Home Wind Turbine
Building a small residential wind turbine yourself is completely possible. But you will likely need the help of an electrician and engineer if you would like to build a wind turbine that generates over 100 watts of energy.
Prepping For The Home Wind Turbine Build
When building a wind turbine, you should determine the location in which it will be installed. As with any new project, the first step is to decide what type of wind turbine you want.
They come in two basic forms. Rooftop and ground-mount. Rooftop wind turbines are the most popular, but they are more complicated to install. You need a structural engineer to ensure that the roof can handle the additional weight from the rooftop wind turbine.
Ground-mount turbines are easier to install. They require less engineering considerations, but the equipment is more costly.
How To Build A Rooftop Wind Turbine For Your Home
Step 1 – Construct The Turbine Blades
You’ll need to buy a PVC piper that is roughly 4 inches in diameter. Cut the PVC pipe down to 20 inches in length. Then cut the PVC pipe into four equal section that will give you four rotary blades.
Draw diagonal lines on each of your blades and then cut down those lines. You should now have eight blades that make rotating triangle shapes. Sand down the blades to remove any sharp edges.
Step 2 – Building A Hub
You will need a 5 inch aluminum disk and similarly sized toothed pulley. Attach both of these together, one on top of the other.
Then you will need a 100V generator, also known as a rotary motor. The toothed pulley and aluminum disk will fit in the 100V generator motor.
Step 3 – Mounting The Turbine
For this step, you will need a 2×4 piece of wood that is 40 inches in length. This will serve as the turbine mount. You will also need hose clamps and a small 5inx7in piece of aluminum. Attach the PVC pipe on one end and a small aluminum piece to the other end. The aluminum piece acts as the tail.
Step 4 – Connect The Blades And Turbine On The Mount
The generator will connect to the PVC pipe. Then, connect the turbine blades to the generator. Thread the wires from the motor through the aluminum tail (drill a hole for the wires). Leave enough slack in the wires to the charge controller. Add a small weight to the tail as a counterbalance to the wind turbine. Lastly, connect an antenna holder to the mount.
Step 5 – Install The Charge Controller
Now, you want to connect the wires to the charge controller. This device is used to send electricity to the NiMH battery. It will make sure electricity is not sent to the battery when it is full. Attach the charge controller to the base of the turbine.
Step 6 – Install The Wind Turbine On Your Roof
Install the battery next to the device you would like to power. Here’s a list of the best rechargeable batteries you could get for this project. Then connect it to the lead wires from the charge controller.
Lastly, you will want to mount the wind turbine to your roof. Try to install it near the edge of your roof instead of the middle of your roof. You get more wind there and can maximize your energy generation.
If all of this was hard, there are rooftop wind turbine kits that can be installed over the weekend.
How To Build A Standalone Tower Wind Turbine For Your Home
If you are looking to build a large scale wind turbine, you should work with a local contractor. Dealing with high voltage can be dangerous. And there are local permitting issues that they will help you take care of. Lastly, you will want to make sure it is grid-tied. This requires more paperwork and approvals from your local utility.
However, small scale residential wind turbines can be built for under $50. In fact, here is a video showing you step by step how to build your own wind turbine for the cost of a meal out:
Here is an easy to install standalone home wind turbine that could be put in over the weekend.
How Much Energy Can A Home Wind Turbine Produce?
We already learned that there are two types of home wind turbines:
- Standalone tower wind turbine
- Rooftop residential wind turbine
Residential standalone tower wind turbines can produce up to 50 kilowatts of power. This is more than enough to power your entire home. Rooftop home wind turbines have a maximum output of 300W and a maximum rotational speed of 4,000 RPM.
Depending on the size of wind turbine you build, it can power the following home appliances:
- Air conditioner
- Water heater
- Washing machine
- Drying machine
The Department of Energy put together a guide book that helps you determine how much energy your home wind turbine will produce in a year.
Home Wind Power Improvements
Winder power has been responsible for more than 25% of all the power generated in the United States, as well as producing 22% of our electricity. Worldwide, the same sources account for more than 20% of the total energy used, making it the fastest growing source of renewable energy.
As it stands, the world uses roughly 30% renewable energy in total, and by the end of 2015, it is estimated that 40% of all electricity demand would be met through these sources.
Yet, just one percent of the world’s total wind energy is actually generated at home, thanks to the development of wind turbines that are now cheaper and more efficient than ever before.
According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the costs of installing wind turbines for home use have come down by more than 50% since 2008. At the same time, the cost of wind-generated electricity is 10% cheaper than conventional electricity sources.
This means that, if you want to take advantage of wind power, you need not have large sums of money at your disposal. With this in mind, you should know about the turbines that can be bought for home use.
If you have more sunlight than wind, then solar energy might be a better option for you. For the average household, you could save $1500/year on energy costs by switching over to solar. You can get free quotes that will give you different payment options and savings analysis.
If you don’t want to pay upfront or get a loan for solar, there are many companies that lease solar panels to you for a cheaper rate then your utility bill.