Solar water heating for house radiators and hot water tank

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Old 03-30-10, 07:14 AM
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Solar water heating for house radiators and hot water tank

Hi there,

I have an oil heating system in CT. The heating system heats pipes that are dispursed to the hot water radiators throughout the house (floor radiators like what electric radiators look like, not the old iron cast ones) and also to heat the hot water tank.

Ive been looking online to suppliment my oil heating system with solar heating to reduce my oil bill and detach from dependancy on oil as much as possible. All the articles i've found for DIY solar heating appears to be small scale for mid-western climates.

Has anyone tried or have articles or know if its possible to meet the following requirements:

-solar heater would attach to the closed loop system that heats the house and the hot water tank
-the system must allow the oil heater to kick in if it needs to
-as points 1 and 2 stipulate, this project is to supplement, not replace, the oil heater.


I spend $2400 a year on oil to heat our hot water tank and heat our home throughout the year. This is actual usage over the past two years since we owned our home. Ideally I would like to reduce our oil consumption by half, but I am not sure if this is even remotely possible. On the other hand I am under the impression $2400 a year on heating the home and water is below average, so maybe it is possible to reach such a goal.

Let me know your thoughts.
 
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Old 03-30-10, 08:43 AM
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Hi Capslock

I'd suggest to start with these pages
 
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Old 03-30-10, 09:02 AM
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Hi Capslock,
One of the first issues you will run into is that it takes a large system to collect even a relatively small amount of energy. To make solar energy more effective, it is first beneficial to reduce the energy use of your home. 100 gallons of oil per year for every 1,000 sq. ft. of heated space is a worthy target, not that everyone will get there, but it illustrates what can be done. Once you have reduced your heat load, it is then time to revisit the economics of solar or other alternate energy sources. Glad to help if you wish to move in that direction.

Bud
 
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Old 03-30-10, 11:39 AM
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100 gallons of oil per year for every 1,000 sq. ft. of heated space is a worthy target
I consider myself to be energy conservative as much as I can, i leave the house temperature at 63 degrees, sometimes 60 in the winter, I do not use air conditioning, and take short showers.

still - 100 gallons of oil per year for every 1,000 sq. ft in new england? I'd like to see read some success stories to that end and how that was obtained.

I have a 1300 sq. ft. home with low ceilings and we consume 1,000 gallons of oil per year to heat the home and water usage for two people.

at any rate i agree about conserving as much as possible, we just installed new insulation to try to do just that.
 
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Old 03-30-10, 12:24 PM
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I know of two homes that were built new that are below that number. Building new does help, however, the current recommended insulation numbers, plus an extreme job of air sealing will easily cut that 1000 gallons in half. Go beyond the recommendations when and where possible and you are moving even closer.

Give me some details and I will run some numbers via long distance and see if there are some obvious areas of concern. My initial thoughts are you are running high for that size home with your conservative approach. I applaud the conservation, but I don't see the results you deserve.

I also like solar. Domestic hot water is the place to start, IMO. How is your home orriented, lots of sun?

Bud
 
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Old 04-05-10, 02:05 AM
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Don't tie solar into you existing system. An inexpensive solar air heater will heat when the sun shines preventing your boiler from starting. Don't heat your tap water with a boiler. Too hot and too expensive to keep running year round. A water heater cost much less to run and is easier to solarize.
 
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Old 05-08-10, 11:08 AM
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Yes, Solar works great in New England . The first step on any home is to use solar to heat your domestic hot water (DHW is used for washing people, cloths, dishes, etc.).
A 2 person household usually takes 2 solar collectos and an 80 gal storage tank. It will cost about $7,000, and qualify for tax credit rebates that should pick up about half the cost. It will be the best investment you've ever made.

Getting into using solar for space heating a much more complicated and costly.
 
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