I have an off grid solar house at 9000 ft. I’m only there in summer but (at altitude); it gets cold at night, so I’ve been thinking about a little under floor solar heating. Basics: I know there has to be a heat source e.g. solar water heat panels on the roof, a pump or pumps for moving the water around, probably some kind of thermostat, tubes or mats for the hot water under the floor and, maybe some kind of holding tank between the heat source and the under floor tubes etc.
What I need to understand is the automatic parts of all this. How do the pumps know when to move the water (Some kind of trigger in the thermostat……..solenoid) from the heat source to the (if there is one) holding tank? How do they know when, how fast etc. to circulate the water in the floor tubes, when to replace it etc. Does it go back to the heat source for reheating………..or to the tanks, what, etc.
I’m looking for some kind of diagram/explanation of how all this works. Any suggestions e.g. websites, links etc.?
Possum, perhaps someone will take the time, but there is just "gobbs" of stuff on the internet that already explains the question thoroughly. You could also call a leader in the industry and ask them to explain it. The folks at Radiantec are wonderful folks (friends I often lean on for idea and concepts.) Bob, the owner, is retired but the crew of "tech" folks there have been doing it for as long as it's been in the country.
Ive used pre-assemebled kits from Radiantech with great success for some of our solar water heating projects.
I have to point out that solar floor heating other than passive solar design can be complicated, expensive and trouble prone. If you havent already, get aggressive with your weatherization for a much more cost-effective approach to increasing comfort and decreasing energy costs. Air seal your basement/subfloor and ceiling and add more insulation where it makes sense. This is much more proven and cost-effective than under floor heating with solar thermal. Doing this first will give any system you do decide to install a fighting chance to work well.
"If you want to save the environment, build a city worth living in." - Wendell Berry
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