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Old 04-26-12, 12:05 AM   #1
Uber EcoRenovator
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Strathroy Ontario Canada
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Default Solar space heating in Canada

I had recieved some requests from some fellow eco-renovators for some more details of our solar install with some pictures. If it may help any others who are thinking of solar space heating we have had some very good results.

Four years ago the decision was made for our family that burning furnace oil was no longer an option for us. The cost sky-rocketed. Our home is 11 yrs old with heated concrete floors. Although the heating method was extremely effiecient we couldn't afford it. We had to find a better way. Some research resulted with Geo-thermal GSHP and some solar hot water information popping up. Only finding one example at the time and many people blogging about solar hot water space heating, it seamed plausible that one could heat their home. Noticing just one sunny day and with our southern exposure the air temp in the house would climb about 4 deg.C. One other trick we had already taken advantage of was utilizing black floor tile to absorb any solar gain thru the windows. And it is amazing in the dead of winter how warm that concrete floor gets with that sunshine. Hey, "this solar heating could work" We fully realized that solar won't supply all our heating requirments so GSHP would be the most economically to operate back-up.

The same time period that the oil prices spiked we found our home needed some major repairs. During the original construction, the stucco was not installed correctly and had become loose. With that the windows and structure had become damaged with moisture and all became rotten. All had to replaced. It was a very expensive and heart-breaking time that our relatively new home needed massive repairs due to ignorant contractors. The only up-side was the installation of solar hot water panels could be done as an integral part of the re-constuction therefore all the tubing could be routed within the insulated wall. It made for a really nice looking install as the solar panels are set into the new stucco/styrofoam.

A Geo-thermal contractor was hired to install the geo-thermal in Sept. 4 yrs back. We removed the chimney and all things related with oil. The oil fired hot water tank was retained and a hole with a 1" pipe fitting was welded into the side to install a heating element. This was to provide domestic hot water for 3 months until the rest of the system was installed.

During that time I had constructed a combination Solar/geo-thermal buffer tank. The tank is actually two tanks one on top of the other sharing a common partition between. The tank has the top portion for domestic hot water with a electric element and copper heat exchanger for the solar input. The bottom tank that shares the partition and has a copper coil for the solar input as well , 6 electrical heating elements (for future wind energy dump) and the input for the GSHP. The really neat thing is the shared partition between the top & bottom tank is: the heat from the GSHP warms the top domestic tank with in-expensive heat. And if need be can be further heated with the electrical element. The tank is made entirely of stainless steel and insulated with 3" of rock wool with a polished stainless jacket. The lower tank recieves the hot water from the GSHP or from the copper solar heat exchanger and circulates it thru the hydronic floor heat.


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Last edited by Daox; 01-10-16 at 03:18 PM..
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