The Notion of Passive Solar Heating and Its Usage
We can frequently hear about awful disasters in the world's coal mines and in the exploration projects of deep sea oil even in the modern age of highly developed science and technologies. These disasters don't only lead to damages in millions of dollars but also to deaths of hundreds of workers, environment destruction and natural resources and habitats. All these events have stimulated a great number of contemporary people to look for more rational ways of getting energy. One of these ways is the Sun that can become an excellent energy solution for many years to come.
If you want to save our environment and make human life more comfortable and happier you will consider using passive solar heating that is produced by the sun's heat provided completely free and in abundance.
So, what is Passive Solar? If you're going to use this miraculous technology of passive solar, it would be wise at first to give a definition to this unusual term. Well, solar is undoubtedly connected with the sun that supplies the humanity with unbelievable amounts of heat and light every day of our life. Passive means that no moving or mechanical parts are involved in the process of getting passive solar heat. Everything is done in the most natural way with no mechanics.
Opening your drapes on any south facing window (in the Northern Hemisphere; the Southern Hemisphere requires the opposite action) in the morning is the easiest way to create the simplest passive solar heating system. The next moment you're going to feel the warmth touching your skin, especially if it's a warm and sunny day.
You can ask why it's necessary to open the window facing the south, not the east, for example. Well, this can be easily explained - the sun's path is to the south that better allows the heat and sunlight to enter your home. However, this is the way to do in the Northern Hemisphere only. In the Southern Hemisphere you'll need to open the drapes on the north facing window. This will offer you the most adequate amount of sun rays.
When the sunlight enters the room through the window, its heat from is stored in the walls and floors of the room raising and maintaining the room's temperature at a comfortable level for many hours. However, this energy is further released during the night in the natural way. As a result, the room's temperature is lowered. This basic concept is called a thermal mass.
The thermal mass has great power. If a passive solar heating system is properly designed, you'll need to find the way to retain the heat received through south facing windows in order to use it later when the temperature falls down. This heat can be retained with the help of a thermal mass. The latter is represented by the material used to retain heat for later use and release. The following materials can be used for thermal mass: concrete, stone, rocks, and water. If there are concrete floors with no carpets in your home and they are exposed to the sun, it will work as thermal mass, just like walls do, as they can easily absorb the sun's heat.
If there is no thermal mass in your living space for you to use passive solar heating, just install any thermal mass such as canisters or glass bottles with water. These can be even 55 gallon drums. However, it should be remembered that the smaller the container, the greater amount of heat can be absorbed on dull days. Even 3-4 inch sized rocks can be located in a tub under direct sunlight. They will also function as thermal mass that will give your room much heat.