Solar energy is a gift to mankind by nature. It is free and unlimited to use as long as we can reach it. Solar energy has been used in the past, mainly for cooking food and heating water. But now with advancement in technology, usage of solar energy has been extended to heating homes and even for electricity generation.
In this article itself we will be looking into a solar heater that can be used to heat your home for free, and at the same time saving on electricity bills.
This solar heater will differ from other such devices in some different ways. There are two types of solar heating, passive and active. Furthermore, active solar heating is further divided into three types. So let’s look into different types of solar heating in a little more detail and which type might be the correct choice for you.
How do you Choose the Right Solar Heater for your House?
When attempting to make this decision, it will mostly boil down to how much heating you require and how much you can spend. The biggest factor that will play a role in this decision will be your location. If you live in a particularly cold region and require a large amount of heating, then it might not be possible to do with a simple passive system due to cost and space constraints.
In such situations active solar heating can be used widely as there are many products available in the market for this purpose. But if your house doesn’t need a heavy level of heating, passive systems can be an ideal choice as they work properly without much maintenance and provide free energy from the sun effectively.
What is Passive Solar Heating?
Passive Solar Heating is the most economical way to get heating, mainly due to lack of installation and maintenance costs. However, the building design plays a crucial role in passive heating.
In order to utilize the free energy from the sun, your house should have a large area of windows on the side where the sun shines. The entire heating process is completely driven by natural buoyancy and convection currents in air, so no extra effort is required from you. You can also have triple glazed windows and thermal mass inside the house to increase efficiency of trapping this free energy altogether.
What are Active Solar Heating Systems?
This is a type of heating that requires more installation and maintenance costs than passive systems but it can provide a higher level of performance if properly configured and installed. Active systems use pumps, valves, tubes or other devices to move fluid around so it can absorb more heat from the sun’s rays.
Different Types of Solar Heaters
The following are different types of solar heaters being used in most homes.
1. Solar Water Heating Systems
A great solution to heating water with solar energy is with the help of solar water heaters. This type of system uses electric pumps, valves, hoses or control devices to move fluid around so it can absorb more heat from the sun’s rays.
Once this fluid absorbs enough heat it is transferred via a system of tubes to an insulated storage tank situated inside your home where you can use them later for various activities including showering, washing clothes and dishes etc.
2. Solar Space Heaters
When it comes to heating your home, space heaters are the most flexible option. This type works in a similar way to solar water heater systems, but they can be even larger as they need more collectors. They work with pumps and valves and control devices to move fluid which has absorbed heat from sun’s rays.
Once the fluid absorbs enough, heat is transferred via circulation inside your home. If the room where the heater is located is connected with a duct system that leads to other rooms, then this fluid will directly transfer heat into those areas thus saving on energy bills.
3. Solar Pool Heating Systems
As the name suggests, these systems are used for heating pools of water i.e. swimming pools, spas or any other type of water body that you have in your home for recreational purposes. They use panels to absorb the sun’s rays, which are situated above water in a pool or spa.
A pump transfers fluid from these panels to your pool or spa where it absorbs heat and then gets transferred back into the panels to repeat the cycle again.
Can solar power heat a house?
Under the right conditions, yes, solar heating can be a viable option to heat a house. Using passive solar heating methods, houses that already use insulation and triple glazed windows can be heated using free energy from the sun. But if the house requires a heavy level of heating, active systems may be required as they work properly without much maintenance and provide free energy from the sun effectively.
Are solar heaters worth it?
Put simply, yes. Systems of solar heating are cost effective and provide the household with free energy from the sun without much installation or maintenance work. However, if you live in an area where weather is not that sunny throughout the year then you may require something more than just passive systems to keep your house warm.
Does solar heating work in winter?
As long as you live in a sunny area, yes solar heating can work in winter also. However, if you live in an area where the sun’s rays are covered by heavy clouds or where it is dark throughout the day then solar systems may not be enough to keep your house warm.
What are the disadvantages of solar water heaters?
There are little to no disadvantages other than initial cost of installation. However, if the house is located in an area where weather is not that sunny then active solar heating systems can provide extra boost required to keep your house warm.
In summary, solar heating can be a great solution to heat your house if you already use insulation and triple glazed windows. In general, it’s cost effective, provides free energy from the sun which is good for the environment also.
However, if the house requires a heavy level of heating then active systems may be required as they work properly without much maintenance and provide free energy from the sun effectively.