Solar power has entered the HVAC industry and is changing how heating systems are designed. Solar heating systems reduce air pollution and can significantly lower your utility bills in the winter. You can pair conventional heating systems with solar systems to act as supplementary or backup systems. Let’s explore the solar heating options currently available.

Room Air Heaters

Solar air collectors can be installed on an exterior wall or roof to heat one or more rooms. They come with an airtight metal frame and black metal plate, which gets heated by solar radiation. The heated plate, in turn, warms the air inside the solar collector. An electric blower or fan pulls the air from the room. The air flows through the heated collector and is blown back to the room.

Transpired Air Collectors

These consist of dark-colored, perforated metal plates placed on the south-facing wall of a building. Sunlight rapidly heats the plates, even when it’s cold outside. A fan pushes air through the warmed perforations. The air heats up as it flows through the perforations and is then distributed by the building’s ventilation system.

Solar Liquid Collectors

These systems use liquids like water and antifreeze to absorb solar heat. A controller triggers a pump to move the fluid through the collector at a suitable time. The temperature of the liquid increases as it flows through the collector. The liquid then moves to a tank for storage or to a heat exchanger for use.

Solar liquid collectors include:

  • Flat-plate collectors. These have copper tubing inside a glass-covered frame.
  • Evacuated tube collectors. They consist of copper tubes filled with water. Smaller tubes are placed inside larger vacuum-sealed tubes, which help lower your heat loss.
  • Concentrating solar systems. These are shaped like a satellite dish or a parabola. They have a mirrored surface for capturing sunlight.

Solar heat from liquid systems can be distributed through radiant-floor systems, hot-water baseboard units or radiators, and central, forced-air systems.

The performance of solar heating systems largely depends on system design, effective siting, installation, and the quality of the components. Therefore, it’s crucial to work with an experienced HVAC contractor that can design and install such systems properly. To learn more about solar heating systems, contact the heating experts at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. Since 1970, we’ve been helping homeowners in the Indianapolis area with all of their heating and cooling needs.