Solar Home Heating Systems For the Handyman

The most basic of solar home heating projects require a minimum of components. Some can be made yourself, which is great if you can handle a tool box, but many can be bought from specialist suppliers in kit form, along with plans and the support needed during your construction project.

Here's Five things you will need to think about.

   1. Flat plate solar collectors, mounted on your roof, capture the solar energy and pass it very effectively to water or other fluids in small pipes circulating in the panel. This type of solar panel is pretty simple, being a rectangular box usually painted black to maximize the absorption of solar energy. It can be insulated to minimize against heat loss.

   2. Evacuated tube collectors are more efficient, but also more expensive and probably beyond the skills of the handyman as they require specialized equipment to manufacture. The tubes, being round always get the best from the suns angle, maximizing the total amount of solar radiation they can absorb in a day. They work like a vacuum flask, minimizing heat loss and can heat water to quite high temperatures.

   3. Your solar home heating system will require a well insulated storage tank and the associated plumbing to support it. You may need a form of back up heating like gas or electric to get the water to your desired temperature on cloudy days when there is less sun, or at night.
   4. There are solar home heating systems that come supplied as self contained units with the solar collectors, either flat plate or evacuated tube type and the storage tank packaged together. As these come as a complete unit they can be a lot easier and therefore less costly to install.

   5. To get the best out of any solar collector they need to be installed where they can maximize the amount of sunshine they receive, best angled on a roof and away from obstructions such as high buildings and trees that might obstruct the suns energy.

You can retrofit a solar home heating system in a house already using a domestic water system. It can be pretty easy as most of the plumbing and storage is already in place and can be effectively used, however there may be restrictions altering an existing plumbing system so you should always check with your local authorities.

There you have it, five of the things you need to consider when building your own Solar Home Heating Setup.