The weather has turned cooler and it is time to dust off the solar heating system and get it running for the winter.
This system replaced my version 1 system:
When I had to rebuild the patio enclosure that was the solar collector for that system.
The new system uses solar hot air panels on the roof to pull heated air down into the house. I installed the basic components in Dec. 2010. It supplies nearly all the heat for my house in the SF Bay Area of CA, USA. The only other heat source I use is my fireplace a few nights a year.
Panel information below:
Clear Dome Solar – Building Integrated Solar Forced Air (BISFA) Heating Panels for Sunlit Walls:
Each 8 foot panel can capture up to 2400 BTU of solar heat per hour and comes with a 4″ – 12V – 110CFM fan and built-in thermo-switch. I run two panels in series, using both fans to push air in one inlet, then the outlet of the 1st panel feeds the inlet of the 2nd panel. The outlet of the 2nd panel is split into 2 4″ insulated ducts that run down to the main blower.
With the 2 DC inlet fans, the two 120mm PC fans inside the house and the 7″ exhaust fan, that consumes about 4 amps of DC current. The inverter uses about 11 amps of current to produce the 120 watts of power for the main blower, so all told, it takes about 15 amps or about 200 watts of solar power to operate the air handlers.
The system works quite well. I only need to turn on the inverter in the morning and enable the thermostat system, then it runs by itself all day long. If clouds roll over, it’ll shut down if the panels cool off and start back up when the sun returns. It’ll gain 1 – 2 degrees F per hour up until mid-afternoon. Then the combination of decreasing sun angle lowering the incoming air temp. and the rising inside air temp. usually limits the temperature rise. I’ll shut off the system later in the afternoon as it starts blowing in air that is the same temperature as inside the house.
Funny thing is I am still reluctant to turn on the heating system in the fall. I still think of it like a furnace and I would always try to wait as long as possible before I had to turn on the furnace. But now, I have to remind myself every fall that this heater is totally free and green. There is no cost to operate it.
If you have any questions, use the comments section below. I hope you enjoyed the video and found it informative.
Thanks for watching!