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Posts: 24
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi - I'm Alan from near Bel Air MD where I believe Scott is. I found the forum through his writeup that I found on build it solar!

I had bookmarked with $1k solar system a long time ago, and every few months I swing back around to it and decided to join the forums to see what ideas I could come up with.

My plan is to do a winter of research as I look to change my new home. I recently purchased it, but I've lived here with my Mother-in-law for a few years.

I live on a bit of a north facing slope, but I'm hoping any gain I can get with a few hours of usable solar energy will supplement my space heating and DHW needs in the winter, and supply DHW, 3000g pool heat for some of that excess summer sun, as well as the future for hot tub.

I have some room where there's no trees, though my house is fully shaded by neighboring trees. My neighbor owns 200+ acres, and doesn't even come down here, so I'm hoping that I can come to an arrangement to take about 10 smaller trees (6-8" dia) and maybe 3-5 bigger ones (12"+ dia) to give me some direct sunlight on the south facing wall that currently has a total of 0 windows.

Current space heating is a propane forced air system that is dying. I am not attempting to fully replicate that need, and will still likely replace the furnace with another propane unit, or a heat pump (preferred) pending cost and other factors. But my #1 goal of the system is to tell my propane company where to stick it. Environment cleanliness is a great bonus to that.

My storage tank will be a drainback system on the south wall basement, with a current usable width of ~10.5' of exterior space, so I can do a standard 4x8 with just a little extra footage.

I'd like to add radiant floor heating (where financially feasible), but I've also got an interesting house space that I'd like to consider options.. Between my dining room and living room is a good steel beam under the floor. Beneath it in the finished but not fully insulated/drywalled basement can easily fit a post if truly necessary. That separating wall (to me) makes for a great way of doing a PEX wall or other heat distribution system that to me seems hundreds of dollars cheaper than trying to run 2 loops of between-joist PEX with plates or hangers.

I don't know what questions I have, but I look forward to hearing people's opinions on the matter and hashing this out.

Have a great evening!


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Posts: 1,074
Reply with quote  #2 
Welcome to our forum Alan. Lots of ideas in your post so keep us posted as you proceed. BuildItSolar has some info on radiant walls:

Both temperature rise and airflow are integral to comparing hot air collectors
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