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  1. #1
    john thurmond's Avatar
    john thurmond Guest

    Default Passive Solar Heating Help

    I need to educate myself more about Passive Solar Heating that has 3 storage tanks. I dont know much about what to expect, I have not seen this system and the Realtor that booked this with me could only explain that roof mounted panels are present with 3 storage tanks. The house is in Littleton, Colorado located at latitude 39.613N. The longitude is -105.016W and the panels face directly south at a elevation of 5300 ft above sea-level. Any idea if this would have a back-up electric or gas water heater to keep storage tanks hot on consecutive cloudy days? Would it have antifreeze in the water? Does it only use concrete or stones for heat storage? Any help, guidance, or direction would be helpful. I plan on calling a couple of my HVAC guys to see if they can join me at the inspection, but I would like some knowledge about it before I get there. References? Regards, John

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Capistrano Beach, CA
    Posts
    1,416

    Lightbulb Re: Passive Solar Heating Help

    Hi John,

    Welcome to the board.

    Here are a few sites that might have some information until someone with direct knowlege chimes in.

    Passive Solar Heating and Cooling

    Your Home Technical Manual - 1.4 Passive Solar Heating - Part 1

    WBDG: Passive Solar Heating

    DOE Building Technologies Program: Passive Solar Design

    See InspectionNews' Secret To Getting More Inspections

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    Brian Hannigan
    InspectionNews.net / InspectionReferral.com
    Helping Inspectors $ucceed Since 1997TM

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  3. #3
    john thurmond's Avatar
    john thurmond Guest

    Default Re: Passive Solar Heating Help

    Thanks Brian, I have read a couple of articles from some of those sites. Seems like a really simple set-up in theory until I actually get there and the brain fades.
    The realtor told me she never saw a water heater onsite. I guess I'll know what I got when I get there. I am sure to have plenty of questions once there. JT


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Capistrano Beach, CA
    Posts
    1,416

    Default Re: Passive Solar Heating Help

    Some pictures might help too.

    That's all I've got is info, no knowledge

    Passive Solar Heating Pictures

    See InspectionNews' Secret To Getting More Inspections

    -----------------
    Sincerely,
    Brian Hannigan
    InspectionNews.net / InspectionReferral.com
    Helping Inspectors $ucceed Since 1997TM

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InspectionNews
    Twitter: @InspectionNews

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    1,222

    Default Re: Passive Solar Heating Help

    Sounds more like an active system, with roof panels and storage tanks. It may have glycol in the lines. If it doesn't, it will need to be a drain down system, where the system drains back down into the tanks at night. They're not as common as the continuous type of system. There are plenty of this type of setup where I live. It's probably got an electric water heater for back up, or else they just use a wood stove or something similar. There may even be two water heaters. Many of the storage tank systems also have an option for an electric heating element. Grumman and Amtrol both make this type of unit. There is a heat exchanger coil in the tank to warm the water from the glycol in the collector panel, and a heat coil in case the panel fluid is not warm enough. You'll see the larger wires for the heating element if it is connected. The smaller wire will be for the termostat sensor.

    I don't know if you are talking about baseboard heat, or if they are using in floor radiant. Either way works pretty easily. With three tanks, one is probably for the domestic hot water, and the other two for the heating system. They may be able to swap in the summer time so that all of the stored heat is for domestic hot water if it's a real advanced system.

    They will most likely need to have some type of system for the summer time to deactivate some of the capacity. This can be done by draining the fluid from the panels, or some other means of controlling the heat build up.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  6. #6
    john thurmond's Avatar
    john thurmond Guest

    Default Re: Passive Solar Heating Help

    Thanks Jim, Gives me something to sort of look for. I do the inspection today and do have one of my HVAC guys showing up to walk me through it. I'll take pics and let you guys know what the hay I run into.

    JT


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