One of the most important factors in energy efficiency is home insulation. And one of the most important parts of insulation is keeping the material dry. There are two reasons for this:
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Most, if not all, proponents of solar energy will exhort the long-term value of installing passive (and active) solar systems. The return on investment over the life of the installation is always impressive on paper and professional installers will happily spend hours explaining how the cost works out as a tiny percentage of your income. Then they'll just as happily bill you five figures!
Windows have undergone a huge number of advances over the last few decades. While most construction methods and materials have remained the same, windows have changed from heat-sucking drafty holes to efficient light-capturing devices which help improve energy efficiency.
There is a definite art to plumbing with copper pipes. Thankfully it's fairly quick to learn, though your first few cuts and joins are likely to produce amateur results. If you've never installed copper pipes before, buy some extra parts and practice!
If you're new to plumbing, you will want to practice soldering pipes before you try your skills on an actual solar thermal installation. It's not difficult but it's extremely important to do the job well or you'll get leaks and other problems. Practice makes perfect!
Back when modern radiant floor systems were first installed, copper or steel pipes were used. They were embedded in concrete under the floor and hot water ran through them to heat the building. It doesn't take a genius to see where the problems came from:
There is an upper limit on how much Pex tubing you can use in a radiant heating installation. If the circuit is too long, the solar fluid will cool off before it reaches the end and you will get uneven heating. For standard-sized Pex tubes (half-inch or 5/8-inch internal diameter), the circuit length should not exceed 300 feet – which is conveniently the size of the coil supplied by many manufacturers.
Before you begin laying Pex tubes into your heating area, you must prepare the ground. The area should be flat and level, with the insulation in place and a vapor barrier under the insulation. If you are going to enclose the Pex tubes in a slab, you can cover the insulation with reinforcing wire or rebar.