Environment Magazine

Solar Home Heating with Evacuated Tubes

Posted on the 13 March 2014 by Rinkesh @ThinkDevGrow

Over the past few decades, solar water heating systems for heating domestic hot water have greatly increased in popularity. It’s easy to understand why, as solar heating has so many benefits and so few downsides. The benefits include saving money by reducing your heating bill and doing something good for the planet by reducing your carbon footprint. For these reasons, many countries around the world now have mandatory requirements for use of solar water heaters. Now, the use of solar heating is finally becoming more popular for home and space heating applications, and is no longer considered an option just for domestic hot water heating.

These technologies are becoming popular largely because of the development of solar evacuated tubes(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_thermal_collector). Evacuated tubes, which are also commonly referred to as “vacuum tubes”, allow for a much higher temperature than other types of solar collectors. Compared to other solar technologies such as flat solar collectors, evacuated tube is a much more efficient means of capturing the suns energy, especially in the winter. Flat plate collectors lose a lot more captured heat back into the atmosphere, although this does have the benefit of helping melt snow that can accumulate on the collector.

Home owners living in cooler Northern climates require constant, reliable space heating to maintain a comfortable temperature in their homes during the winter months, which has traditionally been difficult to accomplish with older technologies and methods of solar home heating. Evacuated tubes are also preferable in more Northern climates because snow and other precipitation is not able to build up on a smooth cylindrical tube the way it would on flat plate collectors. In order to provide adequate solar home heating energy, solar vacuum tubes are now used in the following process:

  • The solar heating system captures the sun’s energy via a vacuum tube.
  • This energy is transferred using a glycol based heating fluid (http://www.dynalene.com/Articles.asp?ID=283).
  • A small, energy efficient pump moves the heating energy from the solar collector and into the home for space heating use.
  • The solar energy is then transferred throughout the house through a heat exchanger. 

Evacuated solar tubes are widely used, and so there are a variety of types available. A few examples of evacuated solar tubes include:

Solar heating is ideal especially for use in homes that are equipped with in floor heating, as the in floor heating system uses the same heating fluid as the solar heating system.  A properly installed solar space heating system can also save the home owner up to 60% off their annual heating bill. Solar space heating saves the most money when the home it is installed in has already been made as energy efficient as possible.

These two factors together can make your home more environmentally friendly, and also help insulate the home owner against any possible fluctuations in energy costs. Evacuated tube collectors can also be easier to install than flat collectors, because they come in smaller, lighter sections and therefore are not as difficult to raise and mount.

Solar home heating systems may also qualify for a 30% federal tax credit in the USA (http://energy.gov/savings), which makes this a great time to make an affordable investment into green energy.  Depending on where you live, there may also be incentives available from energy companies. Also, in some homebuying markets installing a solar heating system can actually increase the value of your home significantly.

If you are interested in demonstrating your commitment to lowering costs, doing your part for the environment, and increasing your energy self-reliance, you can learn more about evacuated tube solar collectors and other solar technologies at SolarTubs.com (http://www.solartubs.com/how-do-solar-vacuum-tubes-work.html).

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