Residential Solar Space Heating
Solar space heating is a way to harness Sun radiation to warm up a residential building. See bellow what is it, how does it work and whether or not it might fit to your specific situation. Does it always make sense?
Home Heating and Space Heaters
Homes located in mild or cold regions need a heating system to make the inside temperature comfort to people (68 to 72 F, 20 to 22 C). If not for the heating system the inside temperature can drop well under what is comfortable. We are familiar with the different ways to heat up our home.
- Air conditioner working as a heater (Heat Pump)
- Furnaces of all types (oil, electric power, gas) spreading hot airShop All Heaters at Air-n-Water.com
- Warm water running through radiators on the wall or through radiant pipes under the floor
- Small heating elements (usually electrical or gas) that can heat up one room
- Residential solar radiant heating system, as described in my page Solar Radiant Heating
Non Solar Heating
Not ready for solar space heating yet?
Look into conventional heating, cooling and air freshening equipment at affordable prices.
Saving Heating Energy Tips
There are a few tips to consider before you decide on any major investment on a solar space heating system
- What is the annual expense on energy that goes into heating the home (if it is very low - it doesn't pay the effort)
- Is the home insulated and doesn’t loose heat to the exterior world through windows, doors, attic, basement and walls? You can audit your home energy efficiency or call a home energy auditor
- This one is more relevant to new homes in the planning phase – increase the area of the windows that are facing South, build the home with the longest wall facing South, use materials for walls and floor that have more thermal mass
Thermal mass (or heat capacity) is the heat storage capacity of an object. The thermal mass is in a direct proportion to the object mass and to its specific heat capacity (its heat capacity per a unit of mass)The specific heat capacity of water is about twice as good as that of concrete and sandstone and about three times better than that of a brick wall.
How does a Solar Space Heating System Work?
This is a 3 stages process:
- First one is to capture sun radiation and convert it to heat. This is done by the solar collector. In cold regions it will be inevitably an indirect system employing flat plate solar collector or an evacuated tube solar collector
- After the solar radiation was converted to heat, we want to store the heat in a heat storage with a big thermal mass. The idea is to store as much heat when the sun radiation is available and use it day and night as necessary. Water are very efficient in storing heat
- Spread the heat using radiators or pipes under the floor
An Expert Might be Needed
This is the system in principle. The toughest questions an expert can help you to answer are:
- what is the right size of the collector and of the storage
- Is it possible to use elements of the existing heating system and in what way?
- What would be the back up (and supplementary) system?
Single Room Residential Solar Heating Solution
To heat a single room one can install a solar air collector, this is a straight forward and cost effective space heating solution
Combine a Water Heater, Exploit Tax Credits
It is very sensible to install a solar hot water system in the same time you install a solar hydronic space heating system because they use similar elements. A good store can provide you with ample of advice and information based on their expertise. As can be expected, a good solar heat store head quarter is to be found in cold regions where these systems are most needed.If the installation is feasible, taking into account energy tax credits the investment will return itself in a few years
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