Solar Air Heater, A Homeowner's Guide To Solar Space Heating
With this solar air heater guide, the homeowner can make informed decisions
about using solar space heating. In many areas, the heating of the home can require a significant amount
of the family budget but there are ways to minimize the expense. The easiest way to lower the cost is by
using resources that are free to supplement or even replace those that we must pay for. The largest
resource the world has for providing energy is the sun and we get to use it for free.
The basic solar furnace consists of a panel with a material to absorb the
energy from the sun.
This energy is usually transferred directly to the air in the home. The air can
be moved naturally through convection or by the use of a fan. Most systems will use a small fan to
circulate the air as this provides a greater heat output than natural circulation.
The fan can be powered by the home's electric system or through a built-in
photovoltaic panel. The air can be taken from the inside of the home or can be drawn from the outside
and provide ventilation at the same time. In either case, the air is pulled into the bottom of the
collector where it passes over the absorber and gains heat. The heated air is then blown out into the
room. The system is usually controlled by a thermostat that monitors the room temperature, the collector
temperature, or both.
These systems can be relatively inexpensive and can even be a DIY project. One
disadvantage is the fact that they do not produce heat during the coldest part of the day which is
usually after the sun goes down.
Another option is to install a solar water heater that has a
storage tank with more than one heat exchanger. In this case, the water that was heated by the sun is
stored in the tank and can transfer some of its heat to a hydronic heating system. These systems will be
more expensive but they can store heat during the warmest part of the day to be used during the coldest
part. The return on investment (ROI) will be quicker as you save money on both your water heating and
your space heating. You will also continue to save money on your utilities during the hotter part of the
year as you will still be saving money on the domestic water heating.