Active solar home heating employs solar thermal energy to heat space in the home. First, solar collectors transfer the sun’s heat to air or liquid. Once the solar radiation is absorbed, the air or fluid is transferred either directly to a space in the home or to a storage tank. Often a back-up system provides any additional heat that the solar home heater cannot produce.
Learn more about different types of solar heating:
- air space heating is best for directly heating rooms
- liquid space heating is best for central heating
Cost and Performance
Solar space heating systems are most economical when they are used for the majority of the year – that is, in cold climates with good solar resources where the home requires heating – and when used in place of more expensive heating methods.
EnergySavers.gov recommends installing a solar heating system to provide 40%-80% of your heating needs. A heating system to satisfy your full heating needs may be impractical or expensive. Also, many building codes and loan lenders require a back-up heating source.
Most solar heating systems have at least a 10 year warranty, and some states offer tax credits for home solar thermal heating. If using a liquid space heating system, it is more economical to use the solar collector for hot water heating, too.