It’s a great SolaMate day

A couple of years ago we saw a New Inventors segment on the SolaMate, a new solar air heater designed by a chap in Melbourne.

There are other solar air heaters on the market, but they look boxy and ugly. SolaMate seemed to be an impressive new design with a slick looking panel, so we thought we’d give one a go. So we installed it ourselves next to our solar hot water and solar PV panels.

As well as the panel on the roof, the system includes a medical grade air filter, an air fan, insulated ductwork, ceiling mounted air diffusers (outlets) and a control panel. Our control panel is mounted on the wall in our kitchen, where we can review and adjust it easily. Our outlets are in rooms along the southern side of our house, which have always been colder in winter than rooms on the northern side.

We’ve had our SolaMate running for a couple of years now, and we’re really happy with it. Whenever the sun comes out on cool days, the panel blows warm air into our house. Importantly, the air is filtered, so it’s blowing in warm fresh air, which reduces winter stuffiness and condensation. And the southern rooms get noticeably warmer than they did before the SolaMate.

On very cold cloudy days when there’s no direct sunlight, the SolaMate doesn’t work well (and sometimes, it doesn’t work at all). A rule of thumb is that if you sit in your car outside with the windows up, and if the car doesn’t warm up, the SolaMate won’t work. If there’s enough warmth in the sunlight to heat the car up, the SolaMate will work also.

On autumnal days like today, which are cool but sunny, the SolaMate works like a charm.

We have a saying for such days: “It’s a great SolaMate day!”

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