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There are many ways to heat a home. You can use a woodstove, propane stove, oil burner or solar windows. The simplest is solar heat.

Solar heat is wonderful in the Winter. It is so quiet and peaceful. Sunshine streaming through a window warms the room. It warms you. It warms the air and any thermal mass that it hits. Sunshine brings light and pleasantness into a home. Sunshine during the winter makes the home cheery.

While windows can let light pour through during the day, the cool the air because of lack of insulation during the night. But not to worry, you can simply cover the windows with made-to-size pieces of solid foam insulation.

Heat Gain through Windows

It is a universally recognized way of heating a home by building in south-facing windows. During the winter months, the sun is lower in the sky. It appears to rise in the South East and sets in the south west. That means that you would get little light through the East or West facing windows. However, during summer mornings, the sun will shine into the home on the East and also shine in the evening through West facing windows.

There are solar calculators that can help you find how long the sun could shine (without clouds), where it will rise, where it will set, how high (in degrees) above the horizon it will rise, etc for any day of the year. The solar calculator is a very valuable tool for designing a solar-heated home.

Conserving Heat: Solar Heat Storage

It is a simple premise that you can gain solar energy only when the sun is shining. Without a way of storing this energy, the temperature in a home will fall. Air itself does not hold heat for very long. To hold solar energy gained during the day, a thermal mass is used to store day time solar energy and release it when the sun is not shining.

Thermal mass is used to store solar heat. Since the sun may only shine for 8 days out of the year in winter (depending on where you live), then this heat needs to be saved and then released when outside the temperature falls.

Reducing Heat Loss by Minimizing Temperature Differences

It's a principal concept in heat conservation that when temperature differences are greatest, then heat transfer is greatest. To minimize heat loss from a home, the temperature difference between the inside of the home and the outside of the home should be minimized.

During the winter, it could be -20 degrees Farenhet air temperature outside your home. The ground underneath and beside your home could be 20 degrees F because of the enourmous mass of the ground. And it may be 70 degrees inside your home (due to heating).

Now let's do some math and see where the greatest temperature difference lies. The difference between inside and outside air temperature would then be 70 deg F - (-20 deg F) = 90 degrees temperature difference! The temperature difference between the inside air temperature and the ground temperature would be 70 degrees - 20 degrees = 50 degrees temperature difference. Can you see where I'm going with this? Which temperature differnce would you prefer during really cold weather? The temperature difference of 90 degrees with the air or 50 degrees with the ground?

You can minimize temperature differences between inside and outside of your wall and insulation by digging into the ground and/or berming earth around your dwelling. (Obviously you shouldn't start throwing dirt against you foundating and siding up to 6 feet deep without considering rot, moisture, and structurural strength.) While the earth you berm against your home will be more exposed to the air and in less contact with the dirt to the side of it, it will have a much greater thermal mass than the air and thus reduce temperature difference.

Reducing Heat Loss by Insulating

Insulation reduces heat transfer. By putting insulation between the item you are trying to keep warm and the item that is cold, you reduce heat transfer. You can put insulation in walls between studs in wood walls. You can install solid foam insulation between the exterior plywood and the siding to even cover around the studs and even the plywood. There are different insulations for between stud walls (fiberglass batting), solid foam insulation for fastening outside the exterior plywood and even spray-foam insulation for outside domed surfaces and concrete walls.

The information on this website is for informational purposes only. Use at your own risk. I am not responsible.