Adding (retrofitting) a solar space heating system to your home is one way to combat increasing energy costs and to raise your home's market value. The two major types of solar retrofits are active systems (requiring mechanical energy and hardware such as pumps and fans to distribute heat) and passive systems (which depend on the natural circulation of a fluid for heat movement).
Electricity is a versatile but precious energy source. Because it is needed for refined power equipment such as computers and medical machinery, when it is used for less-refined needs such as heating it should be used as efficiently as possible.
Older space conditioning systems (more than 10 years old) are often unreliable and much less efficient than a modern system. When it's time for a new replacement, choosing one of the correct size (heating and/or cooling output) is critical to getting the best efficiency, comfort, and lowest maintenance and operating costs over the life of the new system. Some national surveys have determined that well over half of all HVAC contractors do not size heating and cooling systems correctly.
Active solar heating systems consist of collectors that collect and absorb solar radiation and electric fans or pumps to transfer and distribute the solar heat in a fluid (liquid or air) from the collectors. They may have a storage system to provide heat when the sun is not shining. An active system may be more flexible than a passive system in terms of siting and installation.
Before innovations in glass, films, and coatings in the past decade, a typical residential window with one or two layers of glazing allowed roughly 75-85% of the solar energy to enter a building, which has a negative impact on summertime comfort and cooling bills, especially in hot climates.
Solar water heaters, sometimes called solar domestic hot water systems, may be a good investment for you and your family.
Vapor diffusion retarders, air retarders, and air/vapor retarders all relate to the interaction of temperature and moisture in and around the building envelope. A vapor barrier or vapor diffusion retarder (VDR) is a material that reduces the rate at which water vapor can move through a material.
Whether you are increasing the insulation levels in your current home or selecting insulation for a new home, choosing the right insulation material can be challenging. Fibrous loose-fill insulations such as cellulose, fiberglass and rock wool are options you may wish to consider.
Regardless of the type or radon test you choose, there are a few steps you need follow to ensure an accurate reading in your home.
There is a wide variety of indoor pollution contributors - radon, tobacco smoke, household chemicals. Use this guide to evaluate your home.