Active Solar Space Heating Systems for Your Home

Discover options for heating your home with an active solar system.

| January 2011 Web

Convert Your Home to Solar Energy book cover

"Convert Your Home to Solar Energy" covers planning, installing, operating and maintaining a residential solar energy system, as well as all the relevant solar technologies, including solar space and water heating, photovoltaic electricity and secondary uses such as pool heating.

Photo Courtesy The Taunton Press

The following is an excerpt from Convert Your Home to Solar Energy by Everett M. Barber Jr. and Joseph R. Provey (Taunton Press, 2010). The excerpt is from chapter 6: Active Solar Space Heating. 

Types of Active Solar Space Heating Systems 

There are a variety of active solar space heating systems and many ways to incorporate them into a home. Some include thermal storage; others don’t. Solar heat distribution can be integrated with a conventional system. Other systems are designed so solar and conventional components supply heat independently. (An industry convention is to call them solar integrated and solar separate.)

Some designs work better than others, and some designs are easier to service than others, as discussed next.

The following five active solar system types are the most common. The systems contribute from less than 5 percent to about 60 percent of the annual space heating load, depending on the size of system and the heating load of the house. The ratios of collector area to heated floor area cited here apply mainly to existing houses with the code-minimum levels of insulation and tightness of 10 years to 15 years ago. Extremely tight and well insulated houses, with moderate to significant passive solar provisions, will require fewer collectors (some none at all).

Small Air-Cooled Array Without Storage 

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