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Solar Heating

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Solar Heating

Solar HeatingMany homes use solar heating. In a passive solar home, the house works as a solar collector. A solar collector allows light to travel in, turning into heat that is not let out. The interior of a car on a hot day is a solar collector, as is a greenhouse. How much solar energy it receives depends on the time of year, day, the season and latitude as well as the weather.

A passively solar heating home relies on well placed windows – they should all be facing the sun (which is south in the northern hemisphere) with as few as possible on the north or opposite side. Sunlight passes through the windows and is absorbed by the walls and floors and turned into heat. Opening and closing windows is the main way of controlling temperature and heavy curtains must be drawn at night to prevent that daytime heat from escaping.

Actively solar heating a home often uses a combination of solar collectors, blowers, pumps and a way to store excess heat. A solar collector is placed high on a roof facing south, then air or a liquid is run through it, when it is warm enough it can be pumped through the house heating the interior. Heat storage is the most difficult factor, thick walls of dense material retain heat well, or liquid tanks can be used to store the extra heat or rock bins underneath a house can be used.

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