Winter is already around the corner. We all have started preparing our winter outfits, quilts, carpets, rugs, and a variety of other stuff. Amongst all this, we forget about one of the crucial requirements of this cold, dry but pleasant weather. Yes! We are talking about heaters and warm water.
We all need a system to keep ourselves warm in our fuzzy sweaters when the temperature drops down while enjoying a cup of hot coffee in our rooms. Also, how could one forget about the chilled water that comes from the taps? We need a system for warm water too. But electric heating causes a hole in the pocket when it comes to paying all those long and heavy bills.
The ultimate and sustainable alternative to this is solar heating. Whether it is for heating water or air, solar heating never disappoints. Below, we have discussed the solar heating system in detail to make it easier for everyone to understand.
What Is Solar Heating?
Britannica describes solar heating as the utilization of solar energy to heat water and air in a building. It is by far one of the most environmentally-friendly and renewable energy sources. It is an unconventional way of trapping or converting the sun’s heat into a form that can be used to fulfill our needs.
Solar water heaters harness the energy directly from the sun by employing large solar energy collectors. You don’t always need large panels for heating water since panels generally generate electricity whereas solar water heaters heat the water for your domestic needs.
Types of Solar Heating
There are two kinds of solar heating systems:
Active Solar Heating System
This type of system only depends on external sources of energy. It captures the sunlight and converts it into heat or electricity using electrical and mechanical equipment before using it to heat water or your personal space. It usually requires the setting up of solar collectors or photovoltaic panels on the roof. The solar collectors use heat energy from the sunlight to heat a fluid and afterward, transfer the heat to a storage system for use in the future.
The components of an active solar heating system are:
- A solar collector (mostly flat-plate collectors to capture the sunlight)
- A distribution system (to heat the fluids and distribute the heat generated)
- A storage system (to store hot water)
The active solar heating system uses the principle of thermodynamics. Active solar heating can be classified based on its application into solar water heating, solar pool heating, and solar space heating. The best advantage of active solar heating over passive solar heating is that it doesn’t require changing the orientation of your house as it is in passive one. It is also beneficial because it allows you to use solar energy when you need it.
Passive Solar Heating System
It is a more natural form of solar energy as compared to active solar heating systems. Passive solar heating systems don’t use mechanical equipment. Here, the orientation of the house or building plays a major role to absorb, collect and distribute heat.
The main goal here remains, to capture the sun’s heat in the building materials that are known as thermal masses, and then releasing it when the sun isn’t shining. Thus, the architecture of a house plays a crucial role. A south-facing window with the potential of capturing sunlight is a basic requirement. Once it is captured there are different ways to distribute the heat and prevent its loss.
Just like passive solar heating systems, we have the option of passive solar cooling systems too. This system is advantageous since it doesn’t use any external equipment, so the cost of the entire setup itself decreases. On the other hand, it depends on the climate and house-structure which makes its use limited to certain areas.
Advantages of Solar Heating Systems
Both the active and passive heating systems do not use electricity or fuel to work. This cuts on the cost. They have zero maintenance cost once they are installed as they don’t need to be moved from one place to another.
Solar energy is a renewable and inexhaustible form of energy that we can depend on for our future. It is pollution-free and a sustainable alternative.
Solar heating systems have a long life. Even in areas where the water conditions are bad, they would last for at least 5-10 years. Just remember to invest in good quality PV systems or solar collectors and you won’t regret it ever. One prominent example is Beny electrics.
Disadvantages of Solar Heating Systems
A Lot of Space Is Required
The solar panels used to capture the sun’s energy are large and occupy a lot of space on your roof. The more amount of energy you want to produce, the greater number of solar panels you will need to install. Some roofs aren’t big enough for their installations too.
Solar heaters and panels will work only when the sun is shining out bright. on cloudy and rainy days, it isn’t that efficient though you can use the stored energy for a few days. Solar heating systems are limited to areas receiving good sunlight only.
The Initial Cost Is High
The initial cost of installing solar heating systems is high due to panels, wires, batteries, etc.
The Bottom Line
Before installing any solar heating system in your home, you need to consider a few points. The weather conditions in your area should be favorable to install the solar heating system. You need to determine the amount of heat energy you’ll require daily and the purpose for which it is needed, such as for heating water or air. Your budget also plays a major role in deciding the type of solar heating system.
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Review Solar Heaters at Home: A Complete Guide.