solar supplemental heat

liv2learnMay 28, 2006

We were considering purchasing a pellet stove for a 1500 sq. ft. first floor area as a supplement to oil-fueled forced hot water baseboard heat. The oil is getting expensive and also we have an elderly parent who needs this first floor area warmer in the winter (without turning up the oil heat to 72!). I am not fully sold on the pellet stove after hearing about pellet price hikes in New England, potential pellet shortages, and stove cost and maintenance. I would love to figure out how to use our south-facing home (Colonial style) to add solar for additional heat without it costing many thousands of dollars. I've been reading about solar space heating, but the front of the house faces south and has many windows - not much flat space for panels. However, the yard itself is pretty much in full south-facing sun all day. We could possibly do just some space heating for the bedroom of the elderly parent. Is there some way to put panels on the ground in the yard (not attached to the house) and connect them to run interior electric space heaters? I need some ideas. Thanks.

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RCMJr

.

You do NOT want to put in solar panels and then run electric heaters with them . . . horribly inefficient and will require LOT$ and LOT$ of panels . . . PV panels run about $4 ~ $5 per watt . . . a space heater is typically 1250 or 1500 watts . . do the math . . . .

You will be far better off overall to use some solar heat collection panels . . and then use this to space heat your area of concern . . . get in touch with a local place that does these types of installations . . . they should be able to readily tell you what to expect and give you a good idea of the costs involved and paybacks. Even where I am in central New York state; payback from such collectors for either space or domestic water heating; can pay off rather quickly . . . . and once that's done the "fuel" to run them . . . is free and not controlled by anyone or subject to "shortages" etc . . .

Bob

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 7:21PM
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liv2learn

Could you clarify how solar heat collection panels are used to heat a specific room? Or perhaps send a link to something that gives details about this set-up? I've seen solar hot water heaters. Are you talking about solar space heaters? Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 9:34PM
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liv2learn

Ok, I think I know what you mean: Solar air room heaters. What does one do at night (or after 4 pm in the winter) when the temperature falls and the sun isn't shining?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 10:37PM
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RCMJr

.

I have heard of solar room heaters . . . fairly simple devices; not sure how well they work. However; when the sun goes down / is not out; there will be little or no heat from them.

I am suggesting solar collectors that heat up a storage tank of hot water . . . can be circulated as needed through a heat exchanger to heat a space. A large storage tank would allow you to store heat during sunny periods; to use at most any time; such as night. These are commonly used to heat or pre-heat hot water for domestic purposes . . again; I am no expert on this stuff; but it perhaps offers something that may be of help. You are best off contacting a "local" place that does that type of work to get an idea of performance / cost etc. . . . .

Bob

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 9:29AM
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liv2learn

Thanks. I am not sure how a rooftop collector would be hooked up to a storage tank to heat just one room. You'd need to hook it up to a water-circulated space heater of some sort I guess? To connect it with the baseboard heat would require a much bigger and more expensive solar system. I will look for someplace locally that has more information.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 12:31PM
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liv2learn

Thank you for the information. We are looking into the solar air heaters, thermal window coverings, and also increasing insulation in accessible areas. We may still consider the pellet stove for more ambient heat on the first floor. We'll likely need a variety of things to accomplish what we need to do.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 10:26PM
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liv2learn

I am just catching up on some emails and I wanted to say thanks for your reply. Didn't realize this thread was so old! We have since had a pellet stove running for the past three winters and it has helped heat the first floor. We never did anything about solar for heating my father's room. However we've installed a few solar panels to charge batteries as back up for the pellet stove. So the solar experimentation still continues.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 7:04PM
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