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Do Solar Room Heaters Work Very Well?
By Karl Schultz
How well do solar space heaters work? Here is how our experience with Solarsheat solar room heaters has gone so far.
Last year we installed a solar hot water heater with rebates from our electric utility. It worked so well and lowered our bills in our Texas home we decided to give solar room heating a try. Granted we do not get many sub zero days we do get many days each winter with temperatures around or below the freezing mark.
Since we had a big area of southwest facing wall with no windows we figured it would be the ideal spot for the solar room heater's collectors. In November of 2007 we bought a double collector solar home heater made by "Your Solar Home" and sold at Northern Tool and other retailers.
The solar space heater we bought is advertised to heat a room up to 1500 square feet and since that is just about the square footage of the upstairs of our home it was sized right.
The solar space heater contains a solar photovoltaic panel that makes the electricity for the internal fan and thermostat. The solar room heater does not require any extra wiring so that made installation easier.
First I located the studs on the outside wall and with the help of a friend installed the mounting brackets. Next using the template I cut a hole in the outside wall for the duct kit to go through the wall..
The whole solar room heater installation process from start to finish took 5 hours with the help of my neighbor to raise the panels into place and bolt them down.
The fist really good cold spell came last year at the end of November and we opened the duct work to let in the warm air. The unit only warms when sunlight is hitting it and for maybe an hour after direct sun has gone away.
The air coming out of the solar room heater's duct when sunlight is falling on the solar room heater is warmer than what comes out of your heating ducts. In about an hour after the sun had started shining on the solar heater warm air started to circulate through the ducts and fill the room. The central heat shut off and for about six hours we enjoyed pure solar heat and giving the electric meter a break.
Throughout the winter the solar space heater worked beautifully on sunny days however don't expect too much on cloudy days.
Drawbacks Of Solar Room Heaters.
Drawbacks to the Solarsheat solar room heater are that it only works well on sunny days. For some areas of the country where it is mostly always cloudy, such as Seattle, I would not recommend it. However, for anywhere there is ample winter sun, such as the desert southwest it is great.
In the summer the unit just sits there but I did notice that the backside became a nesting place for wasps. I had to spray once to get rid of the paper nests.
Added Benefit Of The Solar Room Heater On The Exterior Of The Home
One added benefit is that the area over which the solar room heater panels are installed is shaded from summer sun. It is a bit like having a shade tree or awning over that area so it helps keep that part of the wall cooler in summer as we noticed.
Solar Home Heater Hail Test
Because it is made of tempered glass and aluminum it is resistant to most flying debris and small to moderate hail.
Because it is not facing straight up it will not get direct hail impact. We had a small hail storm in Austin this summer and our Solarsheat solar room heater panels withstood hail that was marble to nickel sized with no damage.
Specifications Of Solar Space Heater We Used
The dual collector solar room heater measures 87 x 43 inches for each panel and is about 4 inches deep. The single collector heats a room up to 1000 square feet. The cost runs around $2995 for the dual model and for the single about $1900. You can always buy the single panel and add on a module for more heating for about $1000
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