Solar Power Your Home For Dummies

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John Wiley & Sons, Feb 9, 2011 - Technology & Engineering - 384 pages
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Want to take advantage of solar power in your home? Whether you’re looking to save on your energy costs by adding a few solar components or you want to build a solar-powered house from the ground up, Solar Power For Dummies takes the mystery out of this energy source and shows you how to put it to work for you!

This friendly, hands-on guide is packed with tips for making your home more energy-efficient though solar power—and helping the planet at the same time. You’ll see how to survey your home to determine your current household energy efficiency and use, and evaluate where solar power would best benefit you. You’ll also calculate what the return on your investment will be before you make any decisions. Once you’ve decided on a project, you’ll see whether it’s best to hire a contractor or do it yourself. We leave no stone unturned—you’ll also discover how to:

  • Choose and install your best solar system
  • Handle small to large solar projects
  • Heat and cool your house with solar energy
  • Install exterior solar lighting
  • Handle swimming pool, water heater, or ventilation solar projects
  • Create greenhouses or solar rooms
  • Build, buy, or sell a solar home
  • Finance your solar investments
  • Take advantage of tax rebates and incentives associated with solar power
  • Avoid the worst solar mistakes

Featuring ten of the easiest and cheapest do-it-yourself solar projects, Solar Power For Dummies is the fun and easy way to meet your energy needs with this clean power source!


What people are saying - Write a review

Solar Power Your Home For Dummies

User Review  - peggylov -

The book was very helpful and informative. I hope to have my home solar powered completely by 2010. This book gives great tips on lowering costs and where to look to get grants and subsidies. Imagine not having to pay for electric after about 8 years! Read full review


Foolish Assumptions
Doing It Yourself Small and MediumSized Projects
The Part of Tens
Part I
Chapter 1
Looking for Sustainable Energy
Understanding Why Solar Is King
Installing an ICS Batch System for Mild Climates
Installing a Drainback System for Most Climates
Installing an AllWeather Closed Loop Antifreeze System
Taking a Quick Peek at Radiant Heat Floor Systems
Chapter 13
Catering to the prevailing winds
Chimney effect
Developing a strategy to optimize air movements

Erasing your carbon footprint
Enjoying solars unlimited supply
Acknowledging the Dents in the Crown
Initial costs and falling prices
Red tape and aesthetically minded neighbors
Choosing Your Level of Commitment
Large projects
Chapter 2
Dissecting Your Energy Bills
Divvying up costs month by month
Checking out a sample electric bill
Accounting for anomalies
Adding Up Typical Energy Usage
Auditing Your House
Checking insulation
Analyzing your major appliances
Chapter 3
Conserving Energy without Reducing Quality of Life
Changing Habits and Equipment Is Hard to Do Or Is It?
Appliances and electronics
Hot water
Heating ventilation and air conditioning
Windows and roofs
Swimming pools and hot tubs
Blinds Awnings and Shades
Shades and screens
Controlling heating and cooling
Opening and closing windows and doors
Part II
Chapter 4
Radiation Reacting with Matter
Look Up in the sky Light through the atmosphere
Using Sunlight Converted into Heat
Modes of heat transfer
Photovoltaic Cells
Chapter 5
Plotting Your Sun Charts
Adding skyline effects
Noting sunlight intensity
Collector Cross Sections
Mounting Your Collectors Optimally
Chapter 6
Calculating net costs
Figuring out monthly savings
Figuring payback
Analyzing risk
Examining RealLife Scenarios
Putting money in a bank or stock market
Reaping rewards of rising energy costs
Thinking about tiered rate structures
Replacing broken water heaters
Blowing hot air
Investing in a fullscale PV system
Installing both a water heater and PV
Chapter 7
The Best Projects for DoItYourselfers
Getting the Most Out of Your Equipment
Playing It Safe
Intertie PVgenerating systems
Solar panels
Part III
Chapter 8
Making a basic barrel solar fountain
Designing your own master creation
Lighting Your Yard with Solar
Planting Trees and Shrubs for Shade and Wind Control
Using Awnings Lattices and Overhangs
Chapter 9
Washing with portable showers
Doing yard work with solar machinery
Letting Or Not Letting the Sun Shine In
Investing in blinds and drapes
Installing sunscreens for summer
Putting up radiant barriers
Securing Your Home
Hosing down your problems
Engaging in Small Power Projects
Using just a modest amount of power
Working with RV appliances
Installing solar light tubes tubular skylights
Using tabletop solar fans
Cooking with the Sun
Cooking with a solar oven
Improving your next solar oven design
Chapter 10
Getting the Scoop on Solar Components
Collecting the sunlight
Setting up the flow of traffic
Completing the flow system with valves and monitors
Forcing the issue with pumps and thermosiphons
Addressing mounting concerns
Deciding Whether to Do It Yourself
Going alone
Purifying Your Drinking Water
Chapter 11
Understanding how covers work
Getting the most out of your pool cover
Making Your Swimming Pool Efficient
Deciding on the Size of Your Collectors
Installing a Complete System
Creating a Simple Homemade System
Making Your Own Collector
Chapter 12
Looking at the Various Systems
Skimming through the lesser systems
Considering factors that dictate the type of system
Following Good Advice Mine
Heating Things Up in Your Old Hot Tub
Dealing with seasonal variations
Choosing and Using Your Fans
Considering fan types
Directly Powering Tabletop and Ceiling Fans
Installing a Solar Attic Vent Fan
Choosing the best location
Selecting the type of fan for your application
Building a Solar Space Heater
Chapter 14
Directly Powering Pumps and Motors
Swimming pool pump systems
Working with PV Systems with Batteries
Powering remote and mobile locations
Blowing with the wind
Using water resources for your power needs
Part IV
Chapter 15
Being Realistic about Codes and Regulations
Passing code
Hiring a Contractor
Getting bids
Comparing bids
Interviewing a contractor
Chapter 16
Choosing a Type of Solar Room
Basking in the sunroom
Understanding the greenhouse effect
Up up and away with the chimney effect
Taking a Quick Look at Typical Projects
Anatomy of a solar room
Following design and building tips
Chapter 17
The Benefits of Powering Your Home with PV Systems
Hooking Up for a Little Electrical Give and Take
Selling your power makes the difference
Reaping netmetering rewards with timeofuse rates
Understanding the Basic Parts of Every PV System
PV panels
Mounting equipment
Wiring and fuse box connections
Evaluating Your Hardware
Installing a PV System in a Nutshell
Analyzing Payback in Detail
Energy prices and utility rates
Local climate and system output
Working with different utility rate structures
Chapter 18
Understanding OffGrid Ramifications
Looking green
Surveying OffGrid Solar Options
AC or DC
Understanding Batteries Familiarity Breeds Contempt
Capacity and efficiency
Peeking In on a RealLife Scenario
Calculating needs
Checking out the complete system
Part V
Chapter 19
Following the Basic Rules of Home Building
Evaluating local building codes and regulations
Considering the solar potential
Designing Your Solar Home
Taking advantage of your lots features
Starting on the design from the outside
What living space works best where
The Devils in the Details of Fabrication
Roofing and ventilation
Chapter 20
Buying an Existing Home with the Intention of Installing Solar
Considering the cons
Getting the information you need
Checking out the home
Determining a solar homes value
Selling Your Solar Home for Big Bucks
Part VI
Chapter 21
Tax credits
No property tax increases
Net metering
Chapter 22
Borrowing money the oldfashioned way
Exploring home energy ratings
Considering Alternative Financing
Working with Banks Their Way or the Highway
Part VII
Chapter 23
Installing PV Systems to Offset the Most Carbon Pollution
Putting a Cover on Your Swimming Pool
Lighting Your Yard All Night Long
Putting Up Overhangs to Make Your Home More Comfortable
Banishing Hot Air with a Solar Attic Vent Fan
Chapter 24
Literally Going Green with Landscaping
Sheltering Living Spaces from the Sun
Providing an Endless Source of Purified Drinking Water
Reading Under the Sun at Night
Getting Creative with a SolarPowered Sprinkler
Chapter 25
Portable Showers
Sun Tea
Solar Hat Fans
Chapter 26
Going Out of Your Mind by Going OffGrid
Cheaping Out on Water Heater Systems
Going with the Cheapest Bid Because Its the Cheapest

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About the author (2011)

Rik DeGunther is the founder of Efficient Homes, an energy consultant firm that focuses on home energy audits and the design of efficient heating and cooling systems.

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