Fuel prices may increase at anytime, but sunshine will always be free. And this is why many people are turning to solar air heating systems to keep their homes comfortable during the winter season.
Aside from keeping homes warm all year round, solar air heating also offers several benefits:
- Protects the environment and reduces your carbon footprint
- Electricity bills savings
- Maintain heat, even without electricity
- Less dependence on foreign fuel sources
- Easy to build with minimal maintenance
- Can be fitted directly into existing central air systems
- Lasts for 25-30 years
How does solar air heating work?
Solar collector plates are mounted on a wall to capture sunlight energy, and are used to heat air. They’ll be able to do this even if it’s partially overcast. As long as there is some sunlight, solar collectors can keep your residence comfortable by harvesting heat.
Solar air heating systems are typically used to help supplement existing heating systems. It works together with the existing main heating system to provide heat in the home which results in a lesser need for the primary heating system to produce heat.
This translates to reduced fuel cost of as much as 30%.
How is a solar air heating system installed?
Now that you know the benefits of a solar air heating system, you’re probably wondering how you can have one installed for your home.
The good news is solar air heating is a simple technology to implement. If you are into DIY, you can buy the panels online and do it yourself. But if you’re not confident to do it yourself, you can hire a professional installer to do it for you.
We will discuss the types of solar air collector plates so you have a good idea of what to expect during the installation process.
Solar air collector plates typically come in two types; passive direct gain and active direct gain. It is called direct gain because the collector receives sunlight heat that shines directly onto it.
A passive solar collector requires no fans to circulate the air through it. It is mounted vertically with the outlet at the top and the inlet at the bottom. The change in temperature forces the air to suction at the bottom and heats up as it rises.
On the other hand, an active solar collector consists of moving parts which circulate air through it. Typically used to heat bigger spaces, this type of solar air heating system doesn’t require the inlet or outlet to be mounted in a certain direction.
These collectors are then placed in a shade-free location, ideally on a south facing wall where it can best absorb sunlight. Because solar air collectors are heavy, it’s recommended to have a friend help you out when doing the DIY installation.
But is a solar heating system a good investment?
After you pay the initial investment of installing a solar air heating system, you can begin heating your home entirely for free! The best part is you do not have to wait long to recoup your investment. In as fast as 3 to 6 years, the cost for the electricity or gas you have saved will have already paid for your solar air heater investment.
To best enjoy the benefits of a solar air heating system, it’s recommended that you speak with a professional solar installation expert. They’ll be able to tell you what type of system has the best performance, is easiest to build, and is the least expensive – for your individual needs.
If you have an interest in solar solutions like this, let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.