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Q: Can I just add solar collectors to my existing heating system?

A: Unfortunately, usually not. But you may be able to add a solar heating system to your home and use your existing heating system as a back up.

Many people are looking for a very simple, low cost way to solve the problems that fossil fuels are causing us. Unfortunately, there are fundamental differences between solar heating systems and typical fossil fuel systems that are difficult to overcome. They do not combine very well.

Boiler temperatures are too high for solar collectors - Solar heating systems must operate at fairly low temperatures (100°F- 120°F) in order to be efficient. Most heating systems that use a boiler are engineered to operate at temperatures above 180°F.

A boiler system has no efficient way to store significant amounts of heat - A solar heating system should have some way to store solar energy for nighttime use and for use on cloudy days. If heat storage is not provided for, the solar heating system will only be useful when the sun is shining, and most buildings do not need much heat under those conditions.

HOWEVER, it is often possible to simply add a solar heating system to a home and use the existing heating system as a back up.

If you can see the underside of the first floor from the basement, it will be possible to retrofit an underfloor radiant heating system.

Under Floor Radiant Heat

What if you want to retrofit an existing building? Click here to learn more about your options.


We invite you to explore this website and to click on Next Step if you would like more information.

Our solar technicians are always ready to answer questions.

Call 1-800-451-7593