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Old 08-28-16, 01:14 PM   #1
Geo NR Gee
Journeyman EcoRenovator
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Seattle
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Default Help needed incorporating Solar collectors

For years I have been wanting to use the suns energy to heat and power my home. I have read countless stories of people here and elsewhere adding energy wise equipment to improve their home and workshop comfort in the winter heating and summer cooling times with great success and money savings as well.

Recently that desire was made front and center when I got a call from our very own, AC_Hacker with an offer for some free used flat plate solar collectors. After a long drive and some great conversations with AC and his son, we loaded them up for my journey home. Thank you AC, you are very generous and I am very grateful for our friendship!

There is a total of 8 collectors. 6 which are very similar. The other two are smaller and have curved plexi glass like material over the flat plate collectors. I cannot find company name on them, just a serial number and date code which are not legible. I haven't measured them yet.

They have low iron content in the glass and consist of flat plate copper collectors. I tested one by hooking it up to a garden hose and was amazed to see the water come out steaming hot. Too hot to touch with your fingers!

The question is how to incorporate this gift into my house and the heating and cooling system?

I have been planning on drilling 6 - 200ft. 4" bore holes into my back yard for the geothermal heating and cooling. I have a used geothermal unit, 6 - 210 ft rolls of down and up geo pipe (including the u-bends), fusion tools, and fittings along with the drill rig almost ready to go.

Installed in the house, I have a 3 ton heat pump with a backup high efficiency gas furnace in line. We use the gas furnace part a couple of weeks in the coldest time of winter.

Without knowing the specs on these panels, it would seem that 6 panels would put out a lot of hot water.

My gas-electric bill lately is about $110-$120 a month with an small increase in the winter time. I have a 2012 all electric Nissan Leaf that I use as a daily driver too. I recently installed a slightly used heat pump water heater for the hot water and noticed a significant drop on the monthly bill.

The house is a two story 1720 sq. ft. made of mostly 2x4 construction and built in 1998. It was labeled as a "Good Sense Home", however, I have reservations about that. The attic was recently super insulated and a huge improvement was noticed. The windows are vinyl and are not of high quality, but are double pane.

A blower door test was conducted and air intrusions were eliminated for the most part. The home would benefit from additional exterior wall insulation which is not in the budget at the moment.

The underfloor crawl space insulation is subpar and an additional layer of insulation would increase the floor temperature comfort as the winter time the first floor is cold on the feet.

Incorporating the solar thermal heating into the existing house heating and cooling system is my current dilemma. Do I drill the boreholes, dump the heat generated from the solar collectors in the ground and use the heat for the winter?

Do I use the collectors for heated floors on the first floor where I spend a majority of the day? The bedrooms are on the upper level and everyone likes the rooms cold when they sleep anyway.

There is room for 3 or 4 collectors on the side of my house or all of them on my roof. However, I am not educated at this moment on the optimal angle.

Talking to Randen about this, he suggested to read about the Drakes Landing solar community Drake Landing Solar Community. Thank you Randen for that. The community is using solar thermal energy to heat their home and cover about 95% of their heat load!

Maybe I could use this set up in connection with my solar collectors? One for the solar flat plate panels and the other for the geothermal heat pump?
Geothermal Sure Clip LLC - Double Ubends

Not sure where to go from here?

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The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Geo NR Gee For This Useful Post:
AC_Hacker (08-31-16), Daox (08-29-16)