Solar Heating System: How to Heat Your Home with Solar Power

Solar Heating System
Solar Heating System

Are you looking for more eco-friendly ways to heat your home? If yes, then you should think about using solar power. While solar power might be expensive, it’s possible to add it to any just about every home – but it’s not always easy to add it, especially if the home you live in wasn’t designed with solar power in mind.

In simple terms, solar heating uses solar heat collectors that absorb heat and light generated by the sun to heat liquid or air and then uses that to warm your home. It is very different from using a chemical reaction to create an electric charge like normal home heating systems. With this being said, there are a couple different types of solar heating systems that you can have installed into your home, and they all look and work differently. So, let’s look into three different types of solar heating systems that you can use in your home.

Passive Solar

This solar heating system uses south-facing large windows to heat your home. These windows will allow sunlight to enter the home, which is then absorbed by a storage unit that usually looks like black-tinted water barrels. Passive solar heating systems are designed using the idea that black absorbs light, and that energy can be converted into different energy. Therefore, the black-tinted storage units that are in your home will convert the sunlight it absorbs into energy that will heat your home.

Active Solar

This solar heating system uses solar energy collector units that contain air or liquids (i.e., water or nontoxic antifreeze) that are then heated by the sun. The heated air that is collected inside the collector is used to warm up individual rooms or the entire house using different types of heat pumps. This type of solar heating is best for central heating systems, but can also be used with radiant heating systems, boilers, or even absorption heat pumps and coolers.

Liquid Active Solar

This solar heating system uses panels of tubes or even pipes; this is called a radiant slab system – these are the typical black panels seen on homes, that are installed in the walls or floor of your home. The liquid that is used in these systems moves quickly, so the temperature only increases a little bit as it moves through the collector, therefore it works best for heating up individual rooms or small areas.

Most homes will end up using passive solar heating systems, but you might be able to find a purpose for an active solar system. But you should always consult with a professional when it comes down to picking out the best solar heating system for you and your home. Whatever heating system you choose to use in your home, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to disperse the heat throughout your home. This can be done by installing either a radiant floor, hot water baseboards, or a forced-air system, all of which work well with any of the three heating systems above.

USING RADIANT FLOORS

Solar Heating System

Radiant floors are truly invisible heating systems that work well with solar heating systems and are one of the simplest and cost-effective systems to use. Most radiant floor systems use low to medium temperature; this can range from 90 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

With this system, you’ll need to have pipes installed under your floors in order to allow the heated water from the solar heating system to flow through. Plus, since heat rises, you’ll be able to enjoy the warmth of heat under your feet all over your home. You can use solar heating with radiant floors, by doing this you can lower your energy costs 20-80% depending on the size of the system you have installed.

USING HOT WATER BASEBOARDS

Solar Heating System

Hot water baseboards are designed to be incredibly easy to install and are just as efficient as radiant floors to heat your home. They use hot water, heated to around 180 degrees Fahrenheit, to heat a room properly.

These systems are designed to provide a flow of warm air from the lowest point of your home to the highest point, thus providing an evenly heated room. Another added benefit to choosing this heating disbursement system is that it doesn’t rely on forced air ventilation, which lowers the amount of dust that is being sent to your home. Hot water baseboards are best used during the day and can cut your energy costs by around 50%.

USING A FORCED AIR SYSTEM

If you’re looking for a heat dispersing unit that will closely resemble the system setup you have now, then a forced air system is best for you. This sort of system uses an HVAC system that is fitted to work with the ducts and hot water coils that are already installed in your home.

This system works by circulating the water that was heated by the sun to circulate through your homes’ ducts and only the fan from the forced air system will need to run in order to heat your home. By using this system, you can lower how much you spend each month on electricity and prevents you from burning propane and other fuels to heat your home.

So, what are the benefits of heating your home with solar power? What are the downsides to using solar power? In this next section, we’ll look at some of the biggest pros and cons when it comes to installing and using a solar-powered heating system for your home.

Pros

  • Lowers your utility bills

The main benefit to installing and using a solar heating system is that you are generating your own energy, and will, therefore, become less reliant on your utility company. This means that you can drastically lower how much you pay for your utilities per month, or you can completely eliminate it – you could even potentially earn refunds from your electric company for producing a lot of energy. Plus, a solar heating system has a long lifespan (about 25 years), which means that your home will be producing its own electricity for a few decades thus increasing the savings you’ll have earned.

  • Eco-Friendly

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, solar heating systems are eco-friendlier than fossil fuels usually used to produce energy. This means that you’re reducing your carbon footprint while producing a renewable and sustainable energy source that generations can use. Who wouldn’t want to help promote and create a healthier world to live on?

  • Government Support

In many cases, after installing and using a solar heating system for a few years, you can receive tax credits from the government. While this will help you save money over the years, it also shows that the government supports the decision you have made to reduce your reliance on nonrenewable energy sources.

  • Energy Independence

By owning a solar heating system, you’ll be in control of the energy that your household consumes. You will no longer have to worry that a storm might turn your power off for days on end – as long as there is sunshine, you’ll be able to produce energy for your home to use.

Cons

  • Expensive

Installing a solar heating system is expensive, and it will take years of usage before you see any sort of return on your investment. You’ll have to purchase the solar panels used to absorb sunlight, the heating system you’ll use in your home to disperse the heat, and you’ll need to pay for the installation.

But after using a solar heating system for a few years, you will begin to notice a return on your investment in the form of lowered utility bills, refunds, and even tax credits.

  • Works best for homes that have high utility bills, to begin with

Solar power is designed to produce energy and thus lower your utility bills. However, this notion works best for a home that starts out with high electricity bills instead of low ones. There are some areas, such as Louisiana where electricity costs 27 percent less than the national average for electricity, where it just doesn’t make sense to install solar panels. In these areas, the homeowner will end up paying a lot of money upfront to see a very small return.

  • Doesn’t work for every roof

Solar panels are often installed using a mounting system on your roof. However, certain materials used in older homes, such as slate tiles, can be incredibly difficult for installing the mounting system for the solar panels. Living in an older home, or a home with skylights or roof additions (i.e., roof decks) makes installing solar panels for a solar heating system much harder.

But, there is still the option for ground panels or a community solar garden that might make it possible for you to use solar power. But with these, you need to keep in mind that they will require large amounts of space in order to install the proper number of panels needed to power your home.

There are plenty of pros, cons, and relevant information that you need to consider if you’re thinking about installing a solar heating system to your home. In order to make the best decision for you and your home, do some research on your own or talk to a professional in order to get the best information for you to use.

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