Solar Thermal Radiant Flooring Covington KY
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Solar Thermal Radiant Flooring
Solar thermal radiant floor heating is an old idea that has been made new again. Many years ago, both the Greeks and Romans heated the floors of baths with wood fires. The concept makes perfect sense - heat rises, after all. Today, solar energy is used to heat water that runs through piping in the flooring. Floors have a thermal mass, so they act as a sort of battery, storing heat for long periods of time.
The following information is adapted from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy fact sheet put out by the US Department of Energy:
In many areas of the country, the amount of solar heat gain from solar thermal radiant flooring is not enough to heat a house by itself, but it can supplement a conventional furnace or boiler and reduce heating fuel consumption from 10 percent to as much as 90 percent.
Types of Solar Radiant Floor Heating
Solar heat collectors can be used with two types of radiant floor heating systems. Both systems use the sun to heat the fluid (air or a liquid) in the collectors. The thermal mass of the floor (the fact that it is 'solid' and 'deep') acts as both a storage battery and a heat sink. The latter function helps keep the room air from overheating.
Solar Radiant Air Floors
In solar radiant air floor systems the sun warms air from the collectors or a sunspace. Air passages might be made out of any of the following materials: plastic drain pipe, concrete block laid on its side, hollow-core concrete panels or layers of corrugated steel deck. In most cases, radiant air floors are not cost-effective because air does not retain much heat. Radiant air floors are used in some cases because they are relatively easy to install.
Solar Hydronic Radiant Floors
Hydronic radiant floor systems pump heated water from a storage tank through tubing laid in a pattern underneath the floor. An individual thermostat regulates the flow of heated water through a solenoid valve and manifold to each room in the house.
There are a number of ways you can use active solar collector systems with hydronic radiant floors.
Back-Up Heating Systems