The 3 Types of Solar Heating for Your Home

Are you looking for a way to lower your energy costs that is both efficient and environmentally friendly? With the rising cost of gas or electric heat, you may be looking for an effective alternative. Fortunately, there are several choices available, one of which is the use of solar energy.

Today there are 3 types of thermal solar collectors-low temperature, medium, temperature and high temperature. And while the names may not be all that original and the concept of solar heating is not brand new, there is still much to be gained by opting to use solar energy. The use of solar energy works on the principal that what is gotten out of a solar collector is the difference between what went into the collector and what the collector lost to its outside environment. What is left is used for heating.

Low Temperature Solar Collectors

A low temperature solar collector typically loses nothing to the outside air as it works below the outside air temperature. An example of is a solar swimming pool which is heated by hanging a black plastic mat out in the sun, run pool water through it and Viola! Your pool water is warmed. In this scenario, the black plastic will receive approximately 95% of the solar energy and the efficiency drops significantly. This principle can applied to heating the water in your home, by having metal panels that are filled with water built or installed to the outside structure of your home. The water travels through these panels to your home’s plumbing system. You can even have built water filtration added to the system so you can enjoy cleaner, healthier water as well.

Medium Temperature Solar Collectors

This is actually the most commonly recommended form of solar energy for residential use. It works by trapping the sun’s energy in an insulated box, typically located on the roof of a building. As outside temperature rise the collectors retain the energy in boxes made of aluminum, copper, foil and low iron tempered glass. Traditionally, as the sun hits the shingles in a non-solar heated home the heat passes through, get absorbed or is reflected. The solar boxes, however, collect this heat and store it as energy to be released as needed into your home. In fact, sometime, there is so much energy collected, that your meters will actually turn backwards meaning that you are creating far more energy than you are actually using.

High Temperature Solar Collectors

Ironically, the high temperature solar collector is not seen as the most efficient as it requires thicker insulation, more cover sheets, or forcing more air from the collector. In fact, of the 3 types of solar collectors it only has a collector efficiency rate of 50% as compared to the 75% of the medium and low.

It should also be noted that studies show that solar energy materials will pay for themselves in 2-3 years and have a life expectancy of 20-30 years.