Solar Heating for the Do-It-Yourself

Solar energy is energy that is generated from the sun and then stored for later use. This is an inexpensive and renewable source of energy. You can use solar energy for heating water for your home as well as your home itself. Passive Solar EnergySolar energy is a cost efficient and effective way for many homeowners to heat their homes during the cold winter months. Solar energy systems that do not have pumps and circulation methods for energy transfers are referred to as passive solar energy.

The south facing side of your building is the most important part of these systems. To maximize the amount of energy that can be generated you will need to clear away anything that shades the south side of the building. Windows that face the south side of the home are the keys in DIY solar energy systems. You want to have the largest windows possible to take full advantage of the suns energy. It is also a good idea to install special flooring materials which will absorb the suns warmth and release it back into the room after dark.

This is a direct gain passive solar energy system. One of the disadvantages of this type of system is that it results in a large amount of heat loss. Sunspaces and trombe walls will need to be installed as well in order to prevent this loss of heat. SunspacesThis small greenhouse like area is built into the southern side of the solar structure. Sunlight passing through the glass actually heats the structure.

The air is circulated through the building through the use of proper ventilation.TrombeĀ  Wall
This is a common technique used in passive solar heating systems. This masonry wall is usually between 8 and 16 inches thick and coated with a dark heat absorbing material. It will also be faced with a single or double layer of glass. A small airspace is created by the addition of the glass to the wall.

Heat from the sun is absorbed by the dark coating on the masonry wall after it passes through the glass. This heat is then slowly transferred to the interior of the wall and released. You can improve the effectiveness of a trombe wall by adding a sheet of metal foil that reduces the amount of infrared energy radiated back through the glass. You will often feel more comfortable in a room heated by a trombe wall than one heated with a traditional forced air furnace.

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