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can my solar setup be optimized?

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Posted by EricY on January 3, 2008, 6:06 pm
 
I've got a fairly simple setup that I'm using to heat my woodworking shop.
The system consists of the following:

- 24x32 shop with 4" concrete slab, three 200'+ loops of PEX in the slab for
radiant heat
- 6 - 4x8 refurbished collectors on the roof, facing SSE (I know it's not
optimal, but gets good sun from 10-2, and don't really have a choice)
- homemade drainback tank made from a recycled hot water heater
- taco 009 circulating pump
- differential temperature controller

The system is a drainback, and the pump draws water directly from the slab
manifold, sends it through the collectors, returns to the drainback, and
then back to the floor.

I considered building one of those big heat storage tanks like Gary did, but
I figured the concrete slab would be just as good of a heat store and the
configuration would be simpler, plus lower operating temps means less heat
loss from the collectors.  So far this winter I've been pretty pleased.
There is a temp sensor in the floor and on a good day it will raise the
floor temp 7 or 8 degrees F, putting the shop temp in the low 60s which is
pretty comfortable for working.  Granted I'm in VA and we don't get that
much really cold weather, but even today where it's 30F out the shop is
still 55F.

Any ideas for improving this?  The shop is well insulated, and the slab has
perimeter insulation and is also insulated under the slab.

Thanks!

Eric



Posted by Morris Dovey on January 3, 2008, 6:23 pm
 
EricY wrote:
| I've got a fairly simple setup that I'm using to heat my
| woodworking shop. The system consists of the following:

| Any ideas for improving this?  The shop is well insulated, and the
| slab has perimeter insulation and is also insulated under the slab.

Insulation? Weatherstripping? Caulking?

How about adding vertical passive air-heating panels and a
variable-speed ceiling fan?

(It's really fun to spend other peoples' money and let them do all the
work <g>)

--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA
http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/



Posted by EricY on January 3, 2008, 6:37 pm
 

Hah, thanks Morris.  You know, I've been looking at your air-heating panels
with interest for a while now.  Tried convincing my dad to put some of those
on his shop b/c he's got an ideal location for them.  The only thing is that
he probably doesn't spend enough time in the shop in the winter to justify
the cost (he uses the shop primarily to maintain his farm equipment, and
much of that is done in the summer).  I'll have to do some thinking to
figure out if it'll make since for my space.

My shop is only a couple of years old and I did the insulation,
weatherstripping, etc. myself.  It's pretty tight, much more so than my 55
yr old house, that's for sure :)






Posted by Morris Dovey on January 3, 2008, 6:59 pm
 EricY wrote:
|| EricY wrote:
||| I've got a fairly simple setup that I'm using to heat my
||| woodworking shop. The system consists of the following:
||
||| Any ideas for improving this?  The shop is well insulated, and the
||| slab has perimeter insulation and is also insulated under the
||| slab.
||
|| Insulation? Weatherstripping? Caulking?
||
|| How about adding vertical passive air-heating panels and a
|| variable-speed ceiling fan?
||
|| (It's really fun to spend other peoples' money and let them do all
|| the work <g>)
|
| Hah, thanks Morris.  You know, I've been looking at your
| air-heating panels with interest for a while now.  Tried convincing
| my dad to put some of those on his shop b/c he's got an ideal
| location for them.  The only thing is that he probably doesn't
| spend enough time in the shop in the winter to justify the cost (he
| uses the shop primarily to maintain his farm equipment, and much of
| that is done in the summer).  I'll have to do some thinking to
| figure out if it'll make since for my space.
|
| My shop is only a couple of years old and I did the insulation,
| weatherstripping, etc. myself.  It's pretty tight, much more so
| than my 55 yr old house, that's for sure :)

The shop for which I posted the panel installation pix stays pretty
much in the low to mid 70's (even with outside temperatures now in
single digits) and the owner opens up his 10'x10' overhead door every
morning and evening to get his pickup truck out/in. He also uses the
concrete slab (6" in his case) in conjunction with a slow-turning
ceiling fan for storage. His two 8'w x 6'h panels deliver a lot of
heat.

Since you have a woodshop, why not build a 2'w x 6'h panel as a test?
That panel should provide about as much heat as a milkhouse heater,
and if you decide you like the way it works, build a wider one for the
following winter. Even with twinwall polycarbonate glazing, it
shouldn't be too expensive. If you do build a larger panel after the
test, you can install the smaller one on your dad's shop so he can
brag to his friends about how smart his kid is. :-)

--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA
http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/



Posted by dold on January 3, 2008, 8:06 pm
 
As I am having my fifteen year old house painted, the painters made note
that almost none of the "cracks" that are not visible from ground level
have any caulk at all.  There are gaps of 1/4" along the tops of some
sliding glass doors, and unsealed gaps over every window.  Some of the
openings are large enough that they had to insert backing material before
caulking.

Hmmm.

--
Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley Lake, CA, USA  GPS: 38.8,-122.5

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