How much money do you spend every month for household appliances that involved heating elements such as electric stove, water heater or iron? In the United States alone they are responsible for 40 to 50 percent of the total utility bill, together with the AC. Such expenses can be reduced if people know how to convert their residences to solar homes.
There are some options available to reduce your electricity bill using the free sun energy. The simplest way to save energy without requiring any special equipment is by converting the houses to passive solar homes that utilize the homes design to provide natural light, heating and cooling. Basically passive solar homes will block the sun’s heat in sunny summer months and utilize the same heat to keep the residences warm during winter months. The construction materials and design play a significant role to achieve this goal.
Passive solar homes can use sunlight to directly heat the rooms or living area where the radiant heat will be absorbed by the flooring materials and furniture inside. You should have a south facing window for this purpose. Another way to heat up your home is by utilizing a Trombe wall to collect heat and distribute the heated air throughout the rooms by means of fans and thermal mass such as stone or brick. Thermal mass are materials that have the natural ability to collect and store heat. Trombe wall is also equipped with passive cooling to block the sunlight from entering the south facing window during summer season.
For general household hot water used for cooking, cleaning, laundry or showers you can use solar heating panel. There are two types of solar heating panel. The first one is an open loop system. Heat collected from the sun is used to directly heat the water filled tubes. Water inside the heated tubes will then be circulated to the water tank with the help of an electric pump. The other type of the solar thermal panel is the closed loop system. This system does not allow fluid change between the tubes and the water tank because the fluid or water inside the tubes will only be circulated inside the tubes. Heat exchange is done by the tubes body which will heat up water in the tank through a heat exchanger.
To power your household appliances you can install the electric solar panels. Unlike solar heating panels that use the sun heat to directly heat the fluid, electric solar panels convert sunbeams into electricity via the photovoltaic cells. The panels’ output is DC so you have to invert it to AC to power your home appliances through the use of the solar inverter.
The solar electricity can either be stored in the utility grid or in the battery bank. Having an on-grid system is the most economical way to go because you don’t have to buy the expensive solar batteries. The home solar system is integrated to the utility grid allowing you to send the electricity to the grid thus reversing the meter backwards. You get credit from the utility company and if your solar panels don’t produce electricity – in cloudy days or during night for example – you just withdraw the electricity from the grid as other ordinary homes do. However this system will not give you electricity during power outages. If you live in a place that commonly bothered by utility blackout you may consider purchasing batteries to back up the main utility source.
People living in isolated areas with no power lines available can only rely on the off-grid system. To back up this system a wind turbine can be a perfect companion provided there are enough wind in that areas. Other option is to back up the system with a gas powered generator.
Regardless of which options you prefer, energy efficiency is the most critical factor to successful solar homes application. You have to be able to minimize the need for electricity, cooling and heating. Never use the solar electricity to power your electric stove or water heater for example because any devices using electric heating element to create heat consume a lot of power.
Make sure to visit the solarcost.org and learn more about solar homes benefits. You will also find other useful tips and articles about solar energy for your household application.
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