Different Types of Solar Heating

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In a perfectly contained system, where humans could capture all of the power from the sun to use it to power cities and homes, the sun's output could meet the yearly energy requirements of the country within a few minutes. Instead of relying on fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas, all of which create pollution, humans could be reliant on the power of the sun to provide a virtually unlimited source of clean energy. Modern science has just begun to realize the potential of harnessing solar energy and slowly but surely, products that take advantage of it are appearing on the market and growing in popularity. In recent years, many homeowners and business owners are making the switch to solar heating to warm their properties and to provide hot water.

There are two broad categories of solar heating options that are available today. The first type of solar heating is called passive heating. Passive heating relies solely on collecting the power of the sun without using mechanical devices to transfer the heat. For example, a greenhouse relies on passive heating to maintain the interior temperature during cold months. Energy from the sun passes through the glass of the greenhouse, which then traps the heat, causing the temperature to rise. Other examples of a passive system include large picture windows, skylights, and some solar water heaters. Passive systems work best in areas where there is good air flow and can decrease utility bills by a substantial amount when implemented correctly.


The second type of solar heating is called active heating. Active solar heating involves the use of machines and other complex systems to collect and distribute heat throughout a building or home. These types of systems have a much higher capacity for transferring and distributing heat than passive systems. The collectors in an active system can be filled with either a liquid or a gas to collect and transfer the heat from the sun. Liquid-based systems are more efficient since liquids by their very nature can hold more heat than gases.

The choice between an active or passive solar heating system depends on a variety of factors such as budget, geographical location, climate conditions, and design of the structure. Regardless, both are viable options for providing environmentally friendly heating options.

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