Archive for the ‘Solar Hydronics’ Category
One of the more environmentally friendly ways to heat a home is with solar hydronic heating. The sun is an abundant and constant source of energy that is available every day of the year. Even on cloudy days there is some radiation from the sun, though it is greatly reduced from sunny days of course. The use of such energy in modern day homes is increasing and solar hydronic heating is just one of them.
A hydronic heating system that is dependent on solar energy will require a hydronic heating collector to be installed on roofs or in open areas that are constantly exposed to the sun. In the northern hemisphere such collectors will have to be oriented towards the south for allowing the maximum effect of the sun. Such a collector must not be blocked by the shade of trees or buildings.
Normally the heat from the sun may not be enough to completely heat the water used for the hydronic layout, especially in the winter months. In such cases, the heated water from the solar collectors is sent through other boilers using gas or electricity to increase the temperature to the desired level. However, as the feed water is fairly warm, this still leads to a huge increase in energy savings.
How Solar Hydronic Technology Works
Solar collectors situated on a roof or in open space have an evacuated tube collector system. The radiation from the sun heats special fluids within this system. Such fluids are chosen for their efficiency in collecting and retaining heat. This fluid is then led to heat exchange coils that are positioned within a water tank, where the water that is used in the hydronic system is heated.
It is also possible to use such fluid directly in the installed hydronic system, and it is quite common where radiators are used to dissipate the heat. Some sort of pumping system is necessary to circulate the fluid or water, though very small installations can even dispense with this and allow convection to take up the cooled liquid back to the solar collector.
Hydronic Heating Is Superior to Forced Air Systems
In hydronic heating, the heat is concentrated on the floor in tubing that is specially laid beneath it. It helps to warm a room gently and leads to almost no loss of energy. Forced air systems on the other hand produce greater heat near ceilings and uneven heat in other areas, depending on the efficiency of the circulation. Earlier hydronic systems used copper tubing that was prone to leaking. But present day technology uses high density polythene pipes that are literally indestructible and can never corrode.
Using the heat from the sun for solar hydronic heating in a home can lead to savings in heating bills that can be measured in thousands of dollars every year. This more than makes up the cost of installing this system with the required collectors and other equipment.