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Old 09-17-2010, 10:18 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Solar heating

Greetings, I have a project I am starting. I have about 4500 square foot of space I want to heat with an add on heat exchanger to my existing electric forced air furnace. This space includes an out building.
I have aquired a 1,000 gal. insulated stainless steel dairy tank to use as my bank. I am considering purchasing fluid solar collectors similair to pool collectors. Then running the heated fluid into the tank in my garage and maybe put 50 ft. of coiled copper tubing inside the tank to transfer heat to the fluid in the tank that will be pumped to the heat exchanger in the house where I will attach it to the furnace.
My question I guess is how much surface area of heat panel would I need to collect enough solar heat to keep the 1,000 gal. at a temp. that would be enough to keep my furnace from engaging at say 70 degrees f.
I was also wondering if there are solar powered pumps that would move this fluid good enough to do the job? Any ideas would be welcomed, but I am determined to get this on line by next year.


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Old 09-17-2010, 11:06 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Downriver Michigan
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Ok there is ALOT of information missing here to even give you a way out there estimate...

1. What are the solar resources of your location and site.
2. Any shade at all?
3. What fluid do you plan to use?
4. What is the coldest temp you will have to deal with?
5. Is the dairy tank rated for the VERY hot water that will be produced. Solar hot water systems can produce water so how that alot of traditional water tanks are not rated for it.
6. What sort of insulation do you plan to use for the tank and piping?
7. What is your rate of consumption of water per day and is there a peak demand period like in the morning?

Do you have a one line or sketch of your system?

Alot of times buying a premade system offers MUCH better results than trying to make it work with random parts. Please PLEASE read this article to get an idea of scope. And refer to the 2nd link to checkout alot more information on solar hot water heating.

It will require alot of calculations to determin the equipment you will need.



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Old 09-17-2010, 02:04 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2010
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solar heating

Thanks for the reply and yes I have been known to do things on the fly. The dairy tank is stainless steel and regularly withstood steam cleaning when it was in the dairy. It is insulated itself like a thermos bottle having an inner and outer wall. I have it in a dedicated area of a garage that is closed off to the rest of the building. r19 in the walls and r34 ceiling. I can put more insulation under it as it is on legs.
I was going to try to spend as little as possible on anything I could make and buy the premade insulated dual hose pex for running the fluid which will probably be a filtered solution of used antifreeze/water mix 50/50 as I can get this from a friend who collects used oil. I thought once I filter it it should stay clean with no residue from combustion getting to it. I only am going to use this to heat my house and buildings. I have a tankless water heater that has saved me a lot already. I really want to try this on the cheap to see if i can pull it off. I live south of you in Lima, Ohio and I have a wide open southern solar collection area to put the panels.
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