Solar Radiant Heat is the Smart Home Heating Choice
When most people think of the term solar power, they typically conjure up an image of a home with a collection of solar panels on its roof generating electricity for its owner. While it is true that the vast majority of home solar power systems are conventional PV solutions that are used in this way, the power of the sun can also be used to heat your home. Solar radiant heat uses the warming power of the sun to either heat the home directly, or by the circulation of water through a floor or wall that has been heated by the sun.
Old Concept, Updated Technology
Radiant heat is a very old concept that was first used in large-scale construction by the Romans. The original roman baths used radiant heat to warm the building and the water used in the baths and was a quite effective use of radiant heat for its time. Modern solar radiant heat systems use the same concept as these early models and have updated the collection and distribution methods to improve the efficiency of the system dramatically.
Modern System Components
A modern solar radiant heat system consists of a bank of solar collectors that are normally located on the roof of the home. Even though these solar collectors appear similar to PV solar panels, their construction is completely different. Inside these solar collectors are a series of small pipes. These pipes are exposed to the sun and when water is circulated through them it is warmed to a very high temperature. This hot water is then returned to the home and sent through a series of pipes that are located in the floors or walls of the home. This circulation of hot water will warm the objects in the room through radiation of the heat. If these pipes are located in the floor, this heat will rise and warm the entire room very comfortably.
Unparalleled Heating Comfort
The advantages of solar radiant heat are many and it provides a very comfortable and consistent heat for your home. Unlike conventional forced air heating, there are no drafty areas when you use solar radiant heat and it also doesn’t dry out the air like many of the forced air systems do. By using the power of the sun to heat the water used in this type of heating system, it becomes a very affordable alternative to a gas or oil fired burner and can easily save you thousands of dollar a year on your heating bills.
Windows Work Wonders
Another more direct form of solar radiant heat relies on large windows located on the southern facing side of the home to allow the sun to penetrate into the home. This sunlight will heat up the floor and walls that it strikes and these surfaces will slowly release this heat as the home cools in the evenings. This form of passive solar radiant heat is used in many of the modern energy efficient homes being built today and can help to significantly lower a homes heating bills with the warmth it provides. There are even specialized materials that can be applied to the walls and floors of a home to improve their ability to collect and retain this solar radiant heat and increase the benefits it provides.