Renewable energy sources like solar and wind have rapidly improved in the past decade. Those improvements in efficiency and affordability have opened up new opportunities to heat and cool our homes more sustainably. Heating with solar power has quickly become a viable option for millions of Americans. It’s more than just running an electric furnace or heat pump with solar power; engineers have developed solar heating systems that are incredibly efficient.
Can Solar Power Heat Your Home?
Yes, and there are several ways to tap the sun’s enormous energy potential to heat your home. Residential solar heating is typically divided into two categories.
Passive solar heating – Open the curtains or blinds, and you’re already saving energy. Passive solar heating requires no specialized equipment or wiring. All direct sunlight through windows as often as possible during the heating season. Your floors, walls, and other interior elements absorb and radiate heat, which warms the room.
Active Solar Heating – These systems rely on solar energy collection and storage, usually in the form of solar-heated air or liquid. Active solar heating requires specialized equipment and varies based on your existing heating system.
How Active Solar Heating Works
Both forms of active solar heating are based on the same premise. Sunlight warms a medium, which is used to directly or indirectly heat an area of your home.
Liquid active solar uses a series of tubes and pipes to move heated liquid throughout your home’s floors and walls. Sometimes known as a radiant slab system, the liquid used within the lines is usually made from water and propylene glycol. This non-toxic chemical is also a crucial component in antifreeze.
Solar air heaters work a bit differently. First, air is heated in a solar collector or cell, then blown throughout a home’s ductwork via a blower fan or heat pump. Solar air heaters are much easier to install than liquid because they utilize existing heating equipment and infrastructure.
Your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning technicians can help you determine the right active heating system for your home and other opportunities to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Raise the Roof: Can Solar Power Heat Your Home?
Rooftop solar panels can supplement grid-sourced energy to power your heating system as well. Solar panels are not technically considered solar heating because they technically generate electricity for any purpose. For example, you can’t run your heat pump on solar heat, but you can convert solar heat to electricity to power a heat pump.
The Benefits of Heating Your Home with Solar Energy
Households in colder climates will realize a faster return on investment when they incorporate solar heat. That’s because solar heating reduces and sometimes eliminates the need for more expensive heating fuels, like heating oil. With solar, the more you use it, the more money it saves. Supplementing your home heating system with solar heat can significantly lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint.
Keeping Your System Running Smoothly
Like any heating or cooling system, solar heating systems require regular maintenance. Always work with an experienced technician to design, install, and maintain your solar heat system and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations closely. It’s also worth noting that while most solar heating equipment comes with a 10-year warranty, not everything is covered. Check your warranty and homeowner’s insurance before installing your system to avoid surprises!
Sustainability Is a Priority at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning
We know that everyday heating and cooling have a tangible impact on the environment and your wallet. That’s why your local One Hour is always ready to help choose, install, and maintain energy-efficient HVAC upgrades to improve your home’s energy efficiency. See what an experienced HVAC technician can do to lower your energy bills. Book an appointment or call (800) 893-3523 today!