It’s been long established that solar power is an outstanding source of renewable energy, and the energy industry is increasingly coming up with ways to capture and adapt solar power in our homes. One of the most popular options these days is using solar energy to provide some kind of heat to the home. Here are five options to consider:
Rooftop Solar Panels
The roof is the most popular place to put solar panels for a reason – it’s typically a wide, empty, and relatively flat space that gets a great deal of contact with the sun. In fact, for most homes, from a bird’s eye view, the roof takes up a majority of the property’s space, making it ideal of laying solar panels.
As the standard form of installation, rooftop panels are available from essentially every contractor currently doing business. The question really isn’t whether or not it can be done – it’s whether or not it will be effective. Most solar panels should face due south in order to maximize electricity production throughout the year, and the easier this is for your house, the better off you’ll be.
Furnaces come in all shapes and sizes – and while most existing furnaces exist for industrial purposes, it’s entirely possible to create an inexpensive solar furnace that can heat your whole home. If your home doesn’t quite permit that, you might still be able to build a smaller-scale unit for cooking or other household projects.
The market has yet to truly start working on household-level furnaces, so don’t expect to find many contractors who could help with this. It’s better to focus on this as a DIY project, which you can do by following plans available for free online.
Solar Water Heaters
How would you like to have more hot water for bathing, laundry, or dishes? That’s one of the goals of solar water heaters, which interface directly with the water tank to provide a steadier supply of hot water to your house. While these systems aren’t perfect – they often need backups for when the sun isn’t shining – they’re an extremely cost-effective way of having hot water on-demand.
As a major plumbing fixture, solar water heaters should only be installed by professional contractors certified to perform the entire job from beginning to end.
Solar Heater Window Units
Do you have an open window and some extra space facing south? If so, you might be able to create a solar heater window unit – and these are DIY projects that can be completed in a few hours even by complete amateurs.
Basically, these units exist to capture light and immediately convert it into heat. There’s no need for moving parts, or even any generation of electricity – when the air heats up, it moves and brings cold air in, creating an automatic heating device that works well even in the middle of winter.
Solar-Ready Heaters and Air Conditioners
A lot of talk about solar power focuses on installing the panels themselves… but how do you actually use that power once you have it? Solar-ready appliances are built to understand the difference between power from the grid and power from the panels on your home, meaning they only draw on external sources (and rack up those energy bills) when no other option is available.
As appliances, these are only available from the companies that sell them, and you’ll probably want a professional installation to go in after you’ve gotten your solar panels installed. There’s no need to rush out to buy them, either – most heaters and air conditioners will last for a very long time, and replacing them early could actually cost you money instead of saving it.