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Solar Floor Heating

The Distinct Advantages Of Using Solar Heating For Your Floors

Solar floor heating is one of the most modern floor heating systems available today. Solar energy is not only an environmentally friendly option but also it can help to save thousands in electricity bills and reduce reliability on traditional energy grids.

This energy can be used in its active form where heat energy from the sun is converted to electrical energy through a set up and in its passive form where you can harness it without a set up, merely through the proper positioning of windows.

Solar floor heating falls in the first category; if you are keen on using solar energy to heat the floors in your house, here is a look at how this heating works, its benefits and the edge that it has over regular heating options.

How does solar floor heating work?

Solar energy is used to heat air or water that is passed through pipes installed in between a sub layer and the floor. As the hot water or air passes through these pipes, the metal heats up; this heat energy is in turn absorbed by the flooring material.

Different types of solar floor heating

Although the heat collectors use the sun as their primary source of energy, they can be used in two different types of floor heating assemblies. There are several common factors between the two systems; for instance, the thermal mass of the floor which acts as a large and natural storage device; it also functions as a heat sink which prevents the floor from overheating. Based on the fluid in the solar floor heating system, they can be classified into two categories:

Solar Radiant Air Floors: In this system, solar energy is used to heat the air which is then circulated through air passages made in the flooring with material such as plastic drain pipes, hollow core concrete panels, concrete blocks laid on their side or layers of corrugated steel. The air when passing through the passages helps to heat the flooring material. While solar radiant air floors are more cost effective and easy to install, the system is not very efficient as air tends to lose heat energy faster than other mediums.solar floor heating

Solar Radiant Hydronic Floors: In this type of a under floor heating system, solar energy is used to heat water stored in a tank which is then circulated through the system with the help of tubing laid below the floor in a pattern.

Individual thermostats with solenoid valves and manifold are used to regulate the flow of the hot water to each room in the house.

The active solar energy system is hooked up to the radiant hydronic floors in two ways:

  • The simplest assembly involves pumping the heat transfer fluid (hot water) directly from the solar collectors to the tubing in the floor. However, this system offers very little control over the temperature, hence over heating or under heating are inherent flaws in such as assembly. If you underestimate the area to storage mass ratio of the solar collector, you will end up with too much heat and if you overestimate it, you will have very cold floors. Most solar floor heating systems will incorporate an electronic pump control device that regulates the system.
  • A more suitable and efficient solar floor heating assembly is one in which the hot water is transferred from the solar collectors to a storage tank. The fluid is then pumped through the piping and a heat exchanger is used to warm the floors, mimicking the solar thermal glycol based systems. This type of an assembly offers better temperature control and enhances the heat storage capacity of the system.

Benefits of solar floor heating

Can be used to warm floors throughout the house - Solar floor heating are perfect to be used in spaces that are prone to water spillage and high moisture such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Can be used with a variety of flooring materials - It can also be used to warm wood as well as marble floors, along with carpets and tiles.

Offers Steady Heat - You get consistent heat through out the long dreary winter months; also, warm floors provide just the right environment for comfort where your head is cool while your feet feel toasty warm.

Energy Efficient - Because your feet are in contact with the heat source, you will be able to keep the thermostat setting on low, which will help you to save as much as 20% to 40% on your energy bills.

Complete control over temperature - You will be able to control the temperature in every room of your home with solar floor heating, so that you can provide the maximum amount of heat where it's needed the most.

Does not interfere with the decor - Because the assembly is encased in the floor, it does not interfere with the decor of your home. You do not have to worry about unsightly heating devices or even hampering the even distribution of heat.

No forced air - Solar floor heating is particularly suitable for people who suffer from air borne allergies. Because there are no noisy fans that blow allergens and dust, you do not have to worry about allergy flare ups. Also, warm floors dry faster, deterring bacteria from infesting crevices in the floor.

Will help you to make use of the damp areas in your home - With solar floor radiant heating, you can also turn the damp, inhabitable areas of your home, such as the basement into comfortable and cozy living space, thus adding to the value of your home.

The advantages of solar floor heating over regular floor heating options

  • It does not rely on traditional energy sources, so it's more affordable and cost effective.
  • It's safer than electrical floor heating systems that are prone to failure and electrical issues.
  • The heating cables used in electrical floor heating systems are prone to splicing which may lead to a short circuit.
  • Electrical floor heating systems that are not grounded can give electrical shocks.
  • Also, electrical systems produce EMF (electromagnetic radiation); this can lead to several health concerns in the occupants of a house that uses electrical floor heating because of increased exposure to the radiation.
  • A solar floor heating system offers just the right amount of heat and you have better control over the temperature than in an electrical system that might over heat and pose a fire hazard or damage the flooring material.