Can Solar Heating Have an Impact on Your Home’s HVAC System?

Solar heating takes advantage of the largest free energy source — the sun — to warm your home. Because there’s no meter on sunlight, monthly energy costs of solar heating are potentially reduced to zero.  However, the systems required to convert that sunlight directly into heat energy — or into electricity to power a furnace — are not without cost and complexity. Here’s what’s up with solar heating options in the here and now and what’s on the horizon in the future.

Passive Solar Heating

Passive heating refers to utilizing building materials and house orientation to absorb and retain heat from the sun efficiently. For example, a home that has at least 60% of its windows facing south gains enough heat from the sun to reduce monthly heating costs by 25% or more. Another example of passive solar heating is utilizing construction materials with high solar absorption such as stone, brick, and ceramics. These materials absorb heat from sunlight all day, then radiate that heat slowly to help warm the house into the night.

Solar Thermal Heating

These systems incorporate rooftop solar collector panels that circulate a mix of glycol and water through grids of tubing.  When exposed to focused direct sunlight, this mixture heats to temperatures exceeding 200 degrees on a sunny winter day.  The heated liquid is then pumped through radiators or radiant-floor heat systems to warm the home. An efficient solar thermal system can provide up to 60% of heating requirements during the winter in homes with adequate sun exposure.

Solar Panels

The most widespread use of solar energy, photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, convert sunlight directly to electricity. This power may then be utilized to run an electric furnace during the winter, as well as other household uses. Because solar panels generate electricity only during daylight hours, most utility companies offer “net metering” that allows residential solar customers to feed surplus electricity back into the grid during daylight hours, providing an offset that reduces (or eliminates) the monthly cost of electricity usage at night.

Learn more about solar-heating options from the experts at Paitson Bros., your Terre Haute source for effective, efficient heat since 1922.

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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    Ethan Ethan Rayburn is a lifelong resident of Terre Haute and a 2005 graduate of Purdue University.

    An Eagle Scout, Ethan spent four years as a non-profit executive with the Boy Scouts of America before joining Paitson Bros. as a comfort advisor and later General Manager. In that role, Ethan has brought a renewed enthusiasm for customer care, integrity, value, and service to Paitson Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning.

    Ethan enjoys singing and was a member of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club. He also enjoys playing and coaching soccer, spending time with his family and two young boys, and volunteering his time and resources with his church, Terre Haute First Baptist Church, which he has attended from a very young age.
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