sizing a solar water heaterby Admin
Jul 2014

Message: Hello, I have a cottage in Maine that I'm considering heating with solar.  The total space is approx 1300sq ft.  I currently heat the home with a K-1 Toyo heater located in a 400 sq ft room with cathedral ceilings.  A large fan has been installed at the peak of the room to force air back down.  Of course, we have many cold spots in the house since we are using a single source heater.  We also have a very tight addition (300) sq ft that uses a gas heater.  Our total energy use during the winter months are approximately 200 gallons on K-1 and 125 gallons of propane.  We also have a wood stove in the new room and if we are home, use about a cord of wood during the winter months. I'm providing this information to give you an idea of how much energy we need to heat the home in hopes of determining the correct size solar system.   My goal would be to have the solar heating system provide domestic hot water for showers and other hot water needs, which is currently provided by a single 30 gallon electric hot water system, and to install a radiant heat tubes throughout the wood floor system which I have access to in the basement.  I would also like to have some type of radiator in the basement to keep that space above 50 degrees.  I would also like to entertain a backup heat source such as a Rennai hot water heater to make sure I can keep my water supply at the proper temperature for my heating purposes.   I know you advocate that your systems are DIY capable but I may have to hire someone with some experience to provide support. I also am wondering what kind of Federal Tax Credits would be allowed for this type of system.  Your website says 30% but is there a monetary cap to that %. Thanks for your guidance on making the right decision for my needs.

Dated on : 07-17-2013

Replies :


Don, thanks for your enquiry.  Yes we can help you design a system for your needs.  We always start with the domestic hot water and then increase the size for space heating which would be the 2nd zone.  Our systems come with a 4.5 Kw back up heating element which would allow the system to be the primary heating source for your domestic hot water and solar space heating.  The size of the system I would recommend would be a SWH-4 package with the second heating zone for hydronic heating.  The solar pump stations that we provided would allow you to control the flow of the hydronic loop and the solar loop.  I have attached our quick reference manual that should help you visualize the system better. We supply the complete package system except for the tubbing and manifold for the in floor heat with very clear installation instructions.   We currently have a FREE shipping promotion on all our heating system until the end of the month.    Please let me know if you would like to pursue this further in terms of a simulation report.   Dan

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Post By : Dan Jung Dated On : 07-17-2013

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