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Use the Sun's Power to Heat Your Pool

Jessica PirroJune 13, 20192050

During the sweltering heat of the summer sun, a pool is a great place to cool down. In places such as Southern California and Florida, pools are good to swim in 10 out of 12 months of the year. But in other places, they are only able to swim in their pool without heating it, a few months out of the year.

Most pool owners will end up spending a good sum of money on heating their pool. There is a pool heating option that is often overlooked are renewable energy options for hearing. Pool owners can rely on the warm weather and sun to passively heat your pool, solar pool heaters are a good option to consider if you would like to save money while extending the amount of time you’re able to swim in the pool.  

Most people associate pools with the summertime and they’re going to use them to cool off. However, something that most people who don’t own pools realize is that when the weather gets warmer, towards the end of the spring or the beginning of summer, the temperature of the pool doesn’t instantly get hotter.

All pool owners can agree on one thing. It can be quite expensive to heat your pool.  

How Do Solar Pool Heaters Work?

Solar pool heaters can use thermal energy from the sun to hear the water in your pool. The technology for solar pool heaters works similarly to that solar photovoltaic panels work. The solar energy collectors are usually mounted on your roof.

The water from your pool is then pumped through a filter and it goes up to the solar collectors on your roof to the collectors. The solar collectors look similar to PV panels but it includes tubes throughout the inside so that pool water can circulate in the collector and absorbs the heat.  

A lot of solar pool heaters also include the flow control valves and automated sensors. These components will detect the temperature of the water that is coming from the solar collectors that are compared to the desired temperature. The pool water is cool and it’s sunny out, the flow control valve will send the water through the solar collectors to be warmed up and to enter the pool. If your pool is too hot, the control valves will ensure that any additional hot water doesn’t enter the pool.

If you want to heat your pool with solar energy it’s eco-friendly and it will help you save money because you will be getting free energy that is radiating from the sun instead of buying the fuel you would otherwise need to purchase to heat your pool. By transitioning to a solar pool heater the amount of money that you will save by switching to solar will differ based on what your existing source of heat is, how efficient your system is, the upfront cost of the solar system, and more.

The Costs

According to the Department of Energy, solar pool heaters will typically cost between $3,000 to $4,000 to install on your roof. The payback period for the investment all depends on how much you’d otherwise be spending to fuel to heat your pool and how much you’d otherwise spend on fuel to heat your pool and how expensive the energy resource in your area is. Most of the homeowners that are investing in solar pool heaters will break even on their investment in less than seven years.

The upfront investment of the system is the biggest cost that is associated with this technology, as well as the operating and maintenance costs are relatively low. If they are properly installed, the high-quality solar pool heaters should operate efficiently for 10 to 20 years.

How Many Collectors Do You Need To Heat Your Pool?

The size your solar pool heater will depend on a few factors, including the size of your pool, the desired temperature for your pool and how much sunshine the collectors will receive (it really depends on your geographical location, the tilt if the collectors, the possible shading factors, and more.) You can install as many solar collectors on your roof as can fit, but if your roof is covered in shade most of the day, the solar collectors won’t produce enough heat to meet your pool needs.

A general rule of thumb, the surface areas of your solar collectors should be 50 to 100 percent of the surface area of your pool. It means that if you have a 10 by 20 feet pool (200 square feet total surface area), the surface area of your solar collector there should be between 100 and 200 square feet. If you live in a climate where you’re using your pool for most of the year, one thing to consider sizing the system on the higher percentage end verse if you live in an area where you only swim in the pool for a few months of the summer.

Any qualified contractor offering solar pool heaters are going to be able to give you the proper size, specification, and location of the collector system that you will need. If you live in a climate with a lot of cloudy days or if you experience some shading on your roof where the solar collectors may go, your contractor might suggest that you keep an electric backup system.

Your Options

Most of the ‘solar pool heaters’ that you’ll come across online are usually just the panels, which are able to be hooked up to the most standard pool pumps. If you are planning on installing your solar collectors on your roof, it’s a good idea to consult a solar installation company or roofing professional to get the job done correctly safely.

What’s solar pool heating products are available? There are many companies that are selling pool heaters, and below are a few of them.

Product

Price

SunQuest Solar Pool Heater

$192-$222

Smartpool Solar Heating System

$210-$1,730

Sun2Solar Ground Mounted Heating Solar Panel System

$199-$278

Other Types Of Solar Gadgets For Your Pool

If you’re interested in installing a solar pool heater to benefit from solar power. You’ll have a few different options that you have to choose from.

Solar Pool Pumps

You are able to use solar energy to power the motor in the pool’s pump, which is the component responsible for pushing the water through a filter and returning it to the pool. There’s a number of ways that you can do this which includes powering you're exiting electric pump with a solar PV system, purchasing and installing your own DIY solar pool pump kit, or using a single stand-alone solar pool pump that is floating directly in your pool and doesn’t require installation.

Solar Pool Covers

If you’re looking for a low-cost solution to heat your pool, one purchase you may want to consider getting a solar pool cover, which makes it so the sunshine will warm up your pool while keeping the water clean from debris. By covering your pool with a solar cover or a regular pool cover it traps the heat and doesn’t let it go.

Solar Sun Rings

Very similar to solar pool covers, the Solar Sun Rings are floating on the surface of your pool and it will absorb the solar energy to hear the water that’s below it. These rings are small and are in the shape of a circle, and you will need multiple of them to cover the surface of your pool. Since they are smaller, it’s easy to remove and are suited for uniquely-shaped pools that might not have a perfect shape for a more standard solar pool cover.

Floating Solar Lights

Another solar technology for pools would be floating solar lights. A lot of companies produce colored lights that will absorb solar energy during the day as they float on the surface of the pool and then use the energy at night time to provide lighting.

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