This is my first Blog, so I hope I am blogging right.
It has been four days of cloudy rainy weather I can tell that the Solar tank temperature is down because I have to turn the handle for the faucet all the way to the left in the shower to get the water hot enough. That means my water heater is running or just about to. It has had a pretty easy life though. It was installed in May and I doubt that it has fired half a dozen times since then. I knew something about what the water heating system could do from reading and taking classes. But I didn't know what it would feel like to actually harness the sun's power until I saw it working.
I knew my solar window would get a little shorter in the winter and that the fall months were generally more cloudy. But during the summer and the crisp fall days I loved the fact that My solar storage tank was at 140, 150 and on up to about 180 for a high. I am not sure if the Solar heated water Actually is better but it sure feels better than Propane heated water. Or maybe it is because I replaced a 25 year old water heater when I put the solar thermal system in. Whichever the case is I am happy to have the solar collectors out there and I look forward to sunny winter days! I am excited to have the system running for a full year and see what the full spectrum looks like.
Phase two is in the works now and I am putting a heat exchanger in to heat a semi protected concrete wall in the basement. The simplicity of the system is very appealing to me and I am looking forward to not burning nearly the amount of energy I did the first year in this house.
In 2005 we moved into this house and burned 1300 Gallons of propane and were cold for an entire (Mild) winter.
First thing in was biomass, in the form of an airtight wood stove. Since we live amongst the trees and there are people being employed by cutting the wood and delivering it, there seemed no alternative but start using it.
Our electric usage was out of control as well, with 500 watts of yard lighting and terrible inefficiency our usage for the first year was around 22,000 kWh.
Windows throughout the house needed work, and we hung ten new storm windows. It is amazing how much warmer you stay when the winter wind isn't blowing though your house! Last year I added about 300 square feet of r38 batts in the attic. Though it was not even half of the ranch house it was over a semi temperature controlled area and made a huge difference in the overall building envelope. New Ceiling and Insulation in the Living room and more caulk and we have improved more and more through time. Of late we have found some great LED Bulbs and have replaced all of the main floor lighting with them.
The difference we have seen is nothing short of stunning. If all goes as I hope to see it we will be close to 250 Gallons of propane and around 10,000 kWh. The wood burner should use about 1 to 1.5 cords over the year and we have a long way to go. It is good to take steps in the right direction though.
It's 12:30 and I digress.....