Monday, May 28, 2012

How to Gain Passive Solar Heat in a Home?

While the cost of oil or gas to heat our homes may be going down this year, we all expect that in the long run it's probably going back up. So, anything that can help us reduce the cost of heating our homes is worthwhile. Passive Qiruite solar heating (taking advantage of the heat provided by the sun) is a relatively inexpensive, but effective way to help minimize the direct cost of heating our homes, both now and in the future. Here are some ideas on how passive solar heating can help you in your home. Does this Spark an idea?

Ensure that your insulation is up to code (or even above code). If you live in the northern part of the United States, you should have at least R-40 in your attic or roof to help keep your home warm in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Allow the sun to shine in during the day, but close your blinds or curtains at night. In the United States it's particularly important to have south-facing windows uncovered during the day so all the sun's rays can enter and provide heat to your home. When the sun goes down, close the blinds or curtains and trap the heat inside.
Use solid blinds and lined curtains to help hold the heat in.
Paint your walls dark colors in rooms where the sun is shining in during the day. The dark colors will help to hold the heat and slowly give it up during the night. Dark-colored furniture will also help capture heat.
Install darker colored tiles or floor coverings in rooms open to the sun to also absorb warmth.
Be sure the caulking around your doors and the weather stripping around your outside doors are in good shape and preventing drafts. This will help keep the cold air out and the warm air inside.
Consider upgrading your existing windows to double or even triple-glazed windows with Low E argon in between the panes of glass. Double or triple glazing will help minimize heat loss through the glass itself, while the gas between the panes increases the R-value of the window itself. If you can afford it, increasing the size of the south-facing windows will also allow more heat in.
Plant only deciduous trees on the south side of your home. Evergreen trees don't lose their leaves in winter and can end up blocking the sun from getting into your home through your uncovered windows.

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