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Solar Heating System

By SSK Admin September 11, 2022

Did you know that there many different ways for you to use the sun’s energy to run your home? In addition to solar panels, you can also use a solar heating system.

Let’s first explain solar heating and understand the difference between solar heating and using solar panels. While they both use the sun’s energy, they do very different things.

Then, we break down the benefits of solar heating in your home, as well as some things to consider if you are building a house.

Solar Heating

solar heating system for house

Solar heating is all about using the sun’s thermal energy. You can use the sun to heat up air or water to warm your home.

It’s a great way to stay warm in the winter without raising your electricity and gas costs. 

This system can either replace or run alongside your current heating solutions. It’s a highly customizable process, allowing you to design a system that meets your needs at low costs. 

To use solar heating, you need a solar collector to capture solar energy and run your system. You also need a solar storage tank to hold the heat. 

Solar Collectors vs Solar Panels

So what is a solar collector and how is it different from a solar panel? This is the most significant difference and also the thing most people get confused about. 

Solar panels, like this 200-watt portable solar panel, take the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. You can then use a solar power inverter to use this electricity to power your home.

solar heating systems

Solar panels are all about collecting energy from the sun and turning it into electricity that you can store or use to run appliances. 

Solar Collectors

On the other hand, a solar collector is focused on absorbing the sun’s heat. It’s connected to a pipe containing both air and water, and this pipe is the key to solar heating. 

You can either get solar collectors made of flat photovoltaic cells or evacuated tube solar collectors. 

Evacuated tube collectors are more efficient because they provide greater surface area and can therefore collect more heat to be passed into your system. 

Both kinds of collectors involve the use of dark material to more effectively catch and trap the sun’s light because dark colors absorb light better.

The pipe that’s connected to your solar collector contains a mixture specifically designed to help conduct heat, and this heat is then channeled to your solar storage tank. 

Once this heat has been collected, it can either be stored, vented, or pumped into your home. 

You can choose either a ventilation system or a water pipe system, depending on your needs. You could even combine them both. 

When setting up a solar heating system, you need to consider how many solar collectors you will need. Most households need between 3 and 5 to collect enough heat to properly warm the house. 

If you opt for flat panels, you may need a few more to compensate for the lower efficiency. 

Of course, the number of solar collectors you need is dependent on the size of your house. A three-bed, three-bath home is going to need a lot more infrastructure than a cabin solar system to run effectively. 

Solar Storage Tank

active solar heating system

A solar storage tank is another essential part of your solar heating system. Once you’ve collected the sun’s heat, you need a way to store it.

Solar storage tanks are specially insulated to allow them to retain the heat that you have collected.

It’s important that you have a correctly sized solar storage tank. If it’s too small, it won’t be able to store all the thermal energy that has been collected.

If it’s too large, it won’t be as well insulated, and you’ll have a hard time keeping your home warm. You need to take the time to design a system that perfectly meets your own needs. 

How to Use Solar Heating in Your Home

There are many different ways to include solar heating in your home. The two primary ways are through ventilation or through underfloor heating. We’ll explore both of these options. 

It’s important to note that incorporating solar heating doesn’t mean you have to make a total switch. You can have a hybrid system, with traditional heating methods coexisting with solar heating.

There’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to keeping your house warm, and we just want to help you understand the various choices on offer. 

Ventilation System

In a ventilation system, the hot pipe circulates in an air tank that pushes hot air into your room. 

The pipe that forms part of your thermal system heats up the air in the tank using nothing but the sun’s light. This pipe contains a liquid, often water or a non-toxic anti-freeze that conducts heat and warms the air.

The now heated air is then pumped into your rooms. This system makes use of the existing vents in your house and can replace or supplement your central heating. 

Any heated air that you are not currently using can be stored in your solar storage tank. 

However, if your home doesn’t have this kind of ventilation system, this might not be a viable option. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use solar power to regulate the temperature of your home.

Using a DIY solar kit for your home means that you can use solar energy to produce electricity to help run your existing heating system. 

solar home heating system

Alternatively, if you have a problem with too much heat, you could look into a solar system air conditioner

Water Pipe System

One of the other main ways that people use solar heating is through radiant ground heating. This refers to water pipes underneath the floor that circulate warm water and make the floor less cold.

This can be done using traditional heating systems, but it can be done far more cost-effectively if you get the sun to do all the hard work of heating up the water. 

The concept of underfloor heating is nothing new, and even the ancient Greeks and Romans did it. It is normally done through a radiant floorboard system, where the pipes are encased in a thin concrete floor with tiles above.

Having hot water running under the floor prevents your feet from freezing in the winter, but radiant floor systems can take a while to heat up.

Another option is hot-water baseboards. These are installed closer to the ground, and require hotter water in order to keep the floor at a comfortable temperature. 

However, it can be very expensive when it comes to gas or electricity costs. You can add solar collectors and a solar storage tank onto your house and incorporate them into your existing underfloor heating.

While there are some upfront costs, the savings from going solar make it more than worthwhile for many people. 

There are also many benefits to be had in switching more of your household to solar energy. If solar heating interests you, then you might also think about installing a solar system to supplement your electricity.

For an average household, you need enough panels for a 5kW system. This would go quite far in terms of meeting your electricity needs, but would not be enough to go fully off-grid.

If you are looking for total separation from the grid, ShopSolarKits provides some great off-grid solar systems

solar home heat system

Benefits of Solar Heating

Solar heating can be a really good way to cut down on your electricity bill, especially during the winter.

If you find yourself using central heating or a lot of heaters during the colder months, then investing in solar heating can be a good long-term solution.

Solar heating is also a much more environmentally friendly way to stay warm. Consuming gas for central heating or running electric heaters uses significant amounts of fossil fuels, and contributes to harming the planet.

There are many small ways that you can incorporate solar power into your lifestyle that benefit both you and the planet.

By switching to solar heating, you are reducing your gas and electricity prices while still ensuring that you don’t freeze in the winter. 

The sun is a free resource that we don’t take enough advantage of. Solar heating is also a more natural way to keep your home temperature comfortable throughout the year.

Switching or simply introducing solar heating can also help to reduce air pollution, which is a major benefit for you and your family. 

But investing in solar heating can be expensive to get started. You have to pay the upfront costs before you start to see the savings. 

You can also look into solar panels as another way to offset your electricity bills. You’ll need to understand the average residential solar system size in your area to get a clearer sense of what size solar system you need

Building Homes for Solar Heating

solar heat system

We’ve been focusing on active solar heating, where you add components to an existing home to take advantage of the sun’s heat.

But there is another aspect of solar heating, and that is passive solar heating. This refers to designing homes in such a way that they take advantage of the sun. 

If you’re a land owner or property developer, there are certain things you can include in your building design to allow the sun to naturally warm the house. 

You can design the house to have large windows that face the sun in order to let light and heat in. 

You can also build using concrete, which conducts heat well, and ensure that the outer walls of the house are properly insulated to regulate heat. 

Of course, adding insulation is also something you can do to an already existing house, and it is a good idea to invest in quality insulation. This will help regulate the temperature of your house in both summer and winter. 

If you are also wanting to regulate temperatures during the summer, make sure to include air vents and windows to maintain good airflow.

When building, you want to keep sustainability in mind, and there are many ways to incorporate solar energy into your construction project. 

solar heating system for your house

If you are purchasing any equipment relating to solar power, make sure to check out ShopSolarKits’s solar energy affiliate program to see the kind of rewards you can get from referrals. 

Final Thoughts

Solar heating can be a great way to cut your electric and gas bills while also keeping your home warm in the winter. 

There are a number of different options available, meaning that it is relatively easy to find something that works for you, once you understand all the options. 

You can use the sun’s heat to warm the air in your house, or heat up the floor, and can stay cozy inside without having to pay hefty gas and electric bills.

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