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randen 09-13-13 10:40 AM

Solar space heating for shop
7 Attachment(s)
Here in Ontario Canada fall weather is beginning. Nice weather for working outside. For fellow Eco-renovator that have been following and remember 2 yrs. ago I had built and installed a homemade Ground source heat-pump under the tutelage of AC Hackers Manifesto in the shop. I would say the GSHP was a resounding success. Reduced my shop heating bill (furnace oil) from $2800.00/yr. to less than $500.00

Many may also remember the solar hot water heating system we had installed to my home also a very successful adventure. Reducing energy costs by a min of 1/3. If we receive a good solar fraction in-excess of 1/2 of the heating energy. Dollar wise $1200.00 approx.

Now I would like to install a solar heating system in the shop. The south facing wall is perfect for the application. I know what you maybe thinking, at a cost of $500.00 /year for heating why bother. 1./ the position of the shop is perfect. 2./ I still have a lot of copper left from the home system I had assembled as well as recycled tube. 3./ Windows have rotted corners I have to open the wall anyway to replace. 4./ Already have a hot water system ready for implementation. 5./ May reduce my shop heating bill to near zero. 6./ Electricity will always increase in cost therefore solar hot water is an excellent investment Sunshine will always be free!!.

In the photos is a captured typical temperature of glycol (solar collector)circulating in the system. When the sun is shinning minimum 6 hrs. per day is a lot of heat!!

So far the steel siding has been removed and the copper tubing that was used to convey the furnace oil from the tank to the furnace (removed 2 yrs. ago) has been pulled from the walls and readied to be recycled into riser tubes for the solar collectors. Boy I enjoy this type of recycling. I have a very simple method to straightening the tubing- give it a tug with the lawnmower and tree. It makes the tubing as straight as an arrow. The steel siding was replaced with couple screws to keep the insulation dry. In the photos is a pic. of the simple copper form tool that puts a groove in the copper strip stock to solder the copper riser tubes.

A little side note: I had stopped into my previous furnace oil sales office and the cost of furnace oil has increased to the price that would have pushed my costs for keeping my home and shop comfortable for the heating season to $10k WOW.:eek:

I would say the extra efforts and capital costs of Solar Hot Water and Geo thermal have well been justified. So if any other Eco-Renovators are on the fence It does work well!!:thumbup:


Daox 09-13-13 10:45 AM

Randen, you are a machine... I'm really looking forward to seeing this project progress. :)

Mikesolar 09-13-13 10:02 PM

Randen, I have 3 sheets of solar glass (46" x 96" x 1/8") if you need them. Good price, give me a call. It's hard to ship the glass and it is available to anyone but local will be easier.

Daox 09-20-13 12:57 PM

Are you planning on using heat storage of some form? If not, why not just go with hot air panels?

randen 09-20-13 04:11 PM

Solar hot water space heating for the shop
2 Attachment(s)
Well yes on the storage.

The office portion of the shop has in-floor heating. Its made up from 6" of concrete so it stores heat nicely. The shop however was built before I gathered much wisdom and knew nothing of efficiency. However the shop is full of machinery that do hold some heat. If the heating is shut off for a long weekend in cold weather I've never seen it below 5 Deg. C.

Here is a photo of the ceiling air handler that is already plumbed for the solar hot water. I believe that the solar hot water may even thermal-syphon we may require only a slow running fan motor.

And a photo of the manifold for the concrete in-floor heating. Originally the in-floor heating was done with an oil-fired hot water heater. It was fabulous. Many times I would see my secretary with her shoes off warming her feet directly on the floor.

As I had mentioned financially it isn't making any sense to install this solar hot water being heating the shop with the home-made Geo thermal is so economical, But we're on a roll. :thumbup:

As storage goes I do have another additional option. The original 1000 gal fiberglass storage oil tank that once supplied my home is slated for removal. One could have it spray-foamed and buried again for storing hot water. :eek:

We'll have to consider that a little longer.


randen 09-24-13 07:39 PM

The Hard work has begun
2 Attachment(s)
I was a beautiful day here in Ontario. In fact the last couple have been. We have begun the task of replacing the shop windows with new narrow windows. This will increase the number of copper risers I can install for the width of the south wall. All the steel siding was installed with screws so its made it a non issue to remove. The bottom of the 2 x 6 studs have been drilled to make way for the 1" copper pipe. This will supply the lower manifold with the propylene glycol mix to then rise through the copper finned risers and gather all that free heat to keep the shop warm.

I had built the shop in 1987. I was 27 yrs. old Wow has time flown. The original windows were purchased in a lumber yard sale. Got them cheap. They are wood framed sliders. Not a great performer but did the job for a nice well lit shop.

By the end of this week should have the windows in and sealed up from the weather. More importantly the rough in for the Solar hot water. After which let the soldering begin on all those riser-tubes. (about 80 pcs.)


Mikesolar 09-24-13 07:47 PM

Randen, I have more glycol and I have to come out your way in the next 2-3 weeks, if you need some.

randen 09-24-13 08:07 PM

Yes please I'll run some calculations for the amount required.


Daox 09-26-13 03:50 PM

So you're building the collector into the wall? What are you going to use for insulation behind it?

randen 09-26-13 08:02 PM

I'm intending on using Thermax insulation with the aluminum foil face. I will spray them black and fasten them with plastic washers and screws.


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