How does the panel on the roof heat my home?
Just like the sun will heat your car parked in the street on a cold winter day. The Sun also heats the box on the roof. The difference between your car and the box on the roof is that inside our box we have the Patented Asciak Heat Exchanger which has been designed to impart turbulence into the air stream and is covered on the side that the sun actually hits by a special Solar Selective finish. This selective finish has a high Absorptivity of between .88 and .94 to absorb the solar heat and a low Emissivity of between .28 and .49 to avoid reflecting or giving off heat that it has already absorbed. The heat exchanger has about twenty five kilograms of aluminium with grooves and channels for the turbulent air from your home to flow through, not just a black plastic sheet or black felt as you find in some other systems. The top of our panel is made from a Low-iron toughened Glass sheet again not a Perspex sheet that will cloud up with time. The Low-iron glass is used because it allows more solar radiation to pass through. The box is then well insulated using a 22mm thick board of Polyisocyanurate that is bonded on both sides with aluminium foil to give maximum insulation.
The system is installed with a filter grill placed down low near the floor in a wall to suck up the cold air and send this air up to the panel on the roof using 200mm diam. flexible ducting. This air passes through the turbulent channels in the heat exchanger and absorbs the heat from the sun and it is returned back to your home through insulated flexible ducting to registers in your ceiling at some point that is distant from where we sucked up the cold air. The light heated air floats above the heavy cold air and is drawn down to replace this cold air as it is drawn away to be heated. The system is a closed loop so we are not introducing the wood smoke riddled air with carcinogenic particulates from your neighbour’s wood heater flue. Other systems that bring in external air have this problem inherent.
The air is pushed through the system by a simple 200mm diameter inline duct fan that uses less than Thirty Cents a day to run for the total number of hours that the fan operates. The heart of the system is a microprocessor that sits on the wall in your room and measures the temperature in your room and the temperature in the box on the roof. When the box is hotter than your room the controller turns the fan on and starts heating your home and when the sun stops shining the box will cool down and when the temperature of the box drops to the temperature in your home the controller turns the fan off and the system is at rest till the box heats up again the next day.
Who will install the heating system?
The system is suited to a DIY. There is no requirement for a plumber or Air conditioning Installer. The ducting is joined together with duct tape and cable ties. The penetrations through the roof are done using Dektite flashings. The Panel is fixed on the roof using screws and brackets. This will require help as the panel weighs seventy kilograms and working on a roof is DANGEROUS and requires safety equipment. The filter and return grill are simply cut into the walls and into a duct or passed through a cupboard. If needed, a Carpenter, Builder, Plumber or Electrician can be employed to do the installation. Locally in the Armidale area we can arrange the installation and as time passes we will find installers further afield. 240Volt power to the controller is required to be supplied by a licensed electrician.
How many panels will I need to buy?
Each panel will ideally warm up to one hundred and fifty metres squared of a well-insulated home. Keeping in mind that no home is very well insulated and “Ideal” conditions never exist in the real world you need to reduce this area to get optimum results. Any number of panels will increase the comfort of your home no matter what size. Most people’s budget will dictate the number of panels they install and this can be adjusted by only heating defined areas not trying to heat the whole home at once. The system can direct the warmed air into areas that you use mostly and this can be changed by adding more registers to the areas you wish and closing and opening different ones as required. Two or more panels can be controlled by the one controller. Two panels will heat a larger area than one. Likewise four panels will heat a larger area than two panels. Likewise two panels will heat the same area better on cloudy days then one panel. Think about solar water heaters if you have thirty evacuated tubes you will store more hot water than if you only had twenty tubes in the system. Also a small air conditioning will not be as good as a larger air conditioning unit. Installing more panels is not as expensive as the first because the labour is about the same just the actual more time for the second unit but you are using the ductwork and fittings that you have already paid for. The controller will control the extra panels, so a saving of scale comes into play.
Will the system heat my home at night?
As the name implies this is a solar heating system and works when the sun’s radiation is available. For that reason the system will not heat at night. The big advantage with solar heating is you get to store energy in your home but unlike solar electricity you do not require expensive batteries that need replacing eventually. You actually own a storage system and its called the walls, floors, doors, furniture and fittings in your home that will store the energy for you for later release at night. See the graph of how the energy was stored overnight HERE.
Can I throw away my existing heater?
You will still need a heater of some type for those extra cold snaps where it rains for days in a row. Remember that when you do use the heater you are only topping up a home that has had the temperature already raised so it will be cheaper to top up than heating from scratch. Just like batteries deplete with use the energy that your home has been storing will deplete if you have no solar energy to top your storage up again after a cold night. Think of your solar hot water, you need to top it up with an element over night when you have no sun shining during the day and you did not collect enough solar energy to heat the amount of water you need.
Will the heater work in cold places?
Unlike an electric heat pump or a reverse cycle air conditioner where the heating efficiency of heat pumps drops off as the temperature outside drops off or falls. The reason for the drop in efficiency is because there is less heat in the outside air for the heat pump to collect. Our SolRheating system collects solar energy in the form of solar radiation and not from the heat in the air. Because of our good insulation and the excellent efficiency, our heater is not as affected by the colder districts. What we need is good solar Isolation which is present ideally in a clear blue sky but the heater will also absorb the solar radiation in cloudy skies although to a reduced rate.
Can I pick the unit up and save freight?
We manufacture the units in Armidale and ship to anywhere. Freight will have to be added and a price quoted when an address is given. You are welcome to pick the units up in Armidale if preferred. You can even arrange your own freight if you so desire.