Making The Most Of Your Solar Pool Heater Installation
Taking simple measures, such as utilizing a pool cover to help retain heat, effectively reduces the costs associated with operating a solar powered pool heater even further. Solar pool covers are designed to absorb more thermal energy from the sun and transfer it to the pool surface.
Other possible ways to provide a little extra warmth in the pool include the use of Solar Sun Rings. They float on the surface of a pool and provide small amounts of heating.
Since a solar pool heater requires both electrical and plumbing work, it is recommended that you contact a professional contractor to install the heating systems – especially if you are looking to place the installation on your roof.
Both pool and solar contractors can install a solar powered pool heater, however solar installers will be aware of any local solar rebates and incentives that are available in your area.
How much can you save with solar?
How Does A Diy Solar Pool Heater Work
Solar pool heaters make use of an abundant, free, and totally natural source of energy to heat water and circulate it through your pool sunlight.
No matter which design or type of DIY solar pool heater you choose, they all work on a similar principle. Coldwater is pumped from the swimming pool through a system of pipes or channels known as collectors that are exposed to sunlight where it is heated by solar radiation.
The hot water is then returned to the pool where it gradually raises the temperature of the whole body of water. The process may not be as quick as a system using electric or gas heaters, but hey, its green and its free!
Here is an example of the basics of DIY solar pool heaters in action.
Many folks new to solar water heating are surprised at just how hot the water can get in a solar heater. If your collector is well designed and built and is exposed to sufficient sunlight, youll get steam out of the hot water line even on a warm day. In fact, the water can boil in a well-built DIY solar pool heating system.
There are many different ways to get this done, ranging from simple open channel heaters to large and complex solar collector systems. Some systems rely on the pool pump to circulate the water through the heater, while others utilize a dedicated submersible pool pump. However, all options share the same physics alchemy to raise the pool temperature to a point where a dip is no longer a religious experience.
Above Ground Pool Solar Heaters
Small Pools: If you own one of the ever-popular soft-sided pools like the pop-up or metal frame pools from makers like Intex, there are some quality do-it-yourself solar heaters from Game and Smartpool that are simple to install and take up very little yard space.
To install, all you need to do is turn off your pump and isolate your system by blocking off your skimmer and return or closing your shut-off valves. Next, disconnect the hose to the return and plumb it to the solar heater intake, then add another hose, fitting, and clamp from the solar heater output to the return fitting on the pool wall. Unblock your skimmer and return and turn the system back on and you are ready to enjoy the free heat!
The SunCoil solar heater shown right sits on the ground and can be tipped on 2 legs to maximize the best angle to the sun. A by-pass valve kit is included to shut-off the solar system during night or rainy days. The bypass kit also slows the water flow to allow the solar panel to maintain optimum heating temperature.
Large Pools: For larger, steel-sided above ground pools, there are a variety of manufacturers of much larger solar panels. These are long and flat, rigid yet bendable, and typically 2W x 20L or 4W x 20L so you will need a long space to put them.
Oval above ground pools lend themselves well to these systems as you can place them along the length of the pool, on a small rack attached to the braces or kickers. For round pools you need to be a bit more creative.
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Solar Pool Heater Panels Are Ugly
To some, perhaps, but to someone who likes saving money while saving the planet, those black mats on your roof are a badge of honor, and a real conversation piece. You can also mount pool solar panels out of sight, on the backside of the fence, or on top of a shade pavilion or pool house.
Take a look at our selection of solar pool heaters and solar controllers if you are thinking about solar panels to heat your pool!
Painting And Insulating The Box
At this point, you can run silicon sealer around all the joints in the bottom and sides of the box. When the sealer has cured, paint the box inside and out with the high heat black paint.
Why do we do this: All solar water heaters rely on absorbing the maximum amount of solar energy for their efficiency. Black doesnt reflect sunlight, so painting the box in that color ensures anything in the box will absorb as much heat as possible. Sealing the box also prevents heat loss from the interior space.
When the paint is dry, you can cut the insulating foam to size and use wood glue to stick it down firmly in the bottom of the box. This ensures no heat is lost from the tubing through direct contact with the back of the box. This is what youll end up with.
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What Are The Different Types Of Solar Pool Heating Systems
There are a number of systems you can choose from:
DualSun a 2-in-one pool heating and solar PV solution that heats your pool water and cools your solar panels, improving the thermal performance of your panels by up to 50%, helping them work at their optimal efficiency. Ideal for people with limited roof space who want to heat their pool and offset their household usage at the same time. The Energy Experts is proud to be the DualSun NSW Distributor.
Rigid panels if you have plenty of suitable roof space, the rigid panels are the way to go, as they are very durable . If you buy a premium brand, youll find that they come with a 10 year warranty.
Rubber/strip matting generally best avoided, as these pool heating systems are not cockatoo-proof or hail-proof. Cockatoos love them!
Evacuated tubes the same concept as evacuated tube solar hot water systems quite an expensive way to heat a pool
Heat pumps are a very effective way to heat a pool. Many people who have solar panels on the roof choose a heat pump to heat their pool water, because heat pumps can be run on a timer so they run during the day when the solar panels are producing free electricity. Homes with limited suitable roof space will often install a pool heat pump, as they take up very little space on the ground .
Gas this used to be the go-to pool heating solution, but as the cost of gas has gone up exponentially over the last few years, many people are looking at alternate pool heating solutions.
If You Already Have A Pool Heater
If you already have a pool heater and will be replacing it with a solar pool heater, consider keeping the old heater and making it part of your heating system. Direct water from the filter first to the solar heater and then to the gas or electric heater. A solar pool heater wont work when it is overcast. If the sun doesnt shine for a couple of days, it could take a couple of days to get your water back up to your desired temperature when the sun comes out. It also wont work as well in the winter or on cold days in the spring or fall. But with the two systems together, you can maintain a steady water temperature all year round while still significantly reducing your energy costs.
When your solar pool heater is working to capacity, you can shut off your old heater. But when theres not enough sun to get the water as warm as youd like, you can switch on your old heater. The solar heater will still preheat the water, and your old heater will need a lot less energy to heat the water the remaining few degrees to your ideal temperature. Think of it like a hybrid gas-electric car. With the two systems working together, you can cut down on energy use while still getting the full functionality of a traditional heater.
If youre considering installing a solar pool heater, wed be happy to answer your questions. Just contact us.
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Install A Solar Pool Heater This Weekend
If you are looking to add a solar heating system to your swimming pool and have questions about how to install solar panels, read on.
From simple, single on-ground panels for Intex pools to multi-panel roof mounted systems for in ground pools, Ill explain the differences and how to get them up and heating your pool in a weekend!
To quickly qualify myself, I have four 2 x 20 panels on my garage roof and have installed dozens of solar pool systems on local residential pools. Plus, I work at InTheSwim enough said.
Types Of Solar Panels For Swimming Pools
- Unglazed solar collectors: this is the cheapest, simplest option. Unglazed collectors are not covered by a glass layer and are made of plastic or rubber. They have the disadvantage of being less efficient in cold climates but are much more cost efficient than their competitors. They are the best choice if you are only going to use your pool in above-freezing temperatures.
- Glazed solar collectors: these panels are more expensive, mainly due to the materials they are made of . They are more efficient in cold climates and can be used all year long, even to for domestic water heating. However, both glazed and unglazed collectors can benefit from a freeze protection if they are intended to be used in extra cold conditions.
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How Much Does A Solar Pool Heater Cost
Solar pool heaters and installation often costs between $3,000 to $4,000. While the upfront cost of a solar heater can be a bit higher than alternatives, they require very little upkeep and have no associated fuel costs. According to the Department of Energy, they typically last longer than gas and heat pump pool heaters. In fact, most properly installed, high quality solar heaters will last up to 20 years.
While the payback period for most solar heaters is between 1.5 to 7 years, the actual time will depend on a variety of factors including:
- The size of your pool
- How hot you like to keep your pool
- The local cost of electricity or gas
- The amount of sun in your climate
- How much your roof is shaded
- Orientation of the solar collectors
The Ultimate Diy Solar Pool Heater Guide
Everything you need to know about building your own solar pool heater
George Duval is a writer and expert in sustainability and environmental studies. After graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability from Florida International University, George began dedicating his life to researching new ways to make the world a greener place. His expertise ranges from organic gardening, to renewable energy, to eating plant-based diets. He is currently writing and editing for a number of publications, most of which focus on the environment.
Theres nothing better than going for a swim in a nice, heated swimming pool on a breezy day, but electric pool heaters use quite a bit of electricity. A solar pool heater uses the free, renewable, alternative energy of sunlight to sustainably warm up your swimming pool. While solar pool heaters are relatively cheap, building your own is even cheaper, and more fun. If youre the type who likes to build, you can design your very own. The materials are cheap and readily available, and it can be done in a day if you have some help. Keep reading to learn how to build your own DIY solar pool heater!
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How Many Hybrid Solar Panels Does It Take To Heat A Pool
The number of panels needed to heat your pool depends on its surface area and volume. The geographical location should also be taken into account. For instance, the panels will have a higher efficiency in the south of France because the region boasts more regular sunshine.
To determine the number of panels to be installed, one must know the swimming pools heat loss surface, meaning the surface exposed to the air. In the case of an underground pool, this means the surface of the pool only.
With this in mind, the next step requires accounting for the regional climate. In the south of France, for instance, it is recommended that the surface occupied by the solar panels represent at least 50% of the swimming pools heat loss surface. In the north, this number is something like 75%. In both of these cases, the panels will increase the temperature by 2 to 4°C depending on the amount of sunshine available.
Consequently, in the south, one should install 5m² of DualSun panels per every 10m² of swimming pool surface area. In the north, 7.5m² of panels per every 10m² of swimming pool surface area.
As an example, an 8 x 4m underground swimming pool in the south of France will require: 8 x 4 x 50% = 16m² of panels, or 3kWc.
How To Install Solar Panels To Heat Your Swimming Pool
If youve decided to purchase pool solar panels and you want to install them yourself, youre in luck: solar panels are pretty simple to install, so this makes for a perfect weekend project.
However we completely understand if DIY isn’t for you. So you could also find a solar contractor through Ygrene to install your solar system for you. This will save you a great deal of work and decision-making, and may even make the project go faster.
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Benefits Of Solar Pool Heating
The best thing about solar heating? It is the most economical way to heat your swimming pool because the heat from the sun is free!
Solar heating for your pool is something that more people are considering, especially in the South where sunshine is available year-round. The abundance of sunshine makes this region a perfect candidate for this sustainable and renewable energy source. Even after inclement weather, several sunny days in a row will bring your pool back up to a comfortable bathing temperature.
Why is this source better than a heat pump or gas heater? It is easy to maintain and has a low cost to run. Below we will lay out the specifics of why you should consider a solar heating system for your home.
How a Solar System works
A solar kit is an array of panels, usually on the roof, that absorbs the suns energy to heat the pool. These panels are made up of a series of small tubes. Water is pumped through these tubes and gets warmed by the heat of the sun before returning to the pool. The average heat output is ~1,000 BTUs. In hot environments, the system can also be used to cool water by running it through the collectors at night. Additionally, the collector tubes may be glazed or coated. This gives them greater efficiency because more of the heat is retained.
What are the advantages?
If you have any questions about the best heating solution for you, dont hesitate to call the experts at your local Pinch A Penny. Click below to find a store near you.
Is It Important To Have A Pool Cover
All pools will vary in temperatures throughout the year, mainly at night as the ambient temperature also falls. Ideally, all pools should be covered, not only to hold heat within the water, but also to stop evaporation and waste of water and they help keep debris out of the pool when you’re not using it.
Another pro to a pool cover is that by utilising a cover when the pool is not in use it will drastically reduce the size of the heat pump required, and further reduce operating costs due to the heat retained in the water from the use of a blanket.
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What Are Solar Heaters And How Do They Work
Pool solar panels are constructed of rows of small, hollow tubes made of black polypropylene or rubber that are seamed together to create a large surface area called a panel.
The sunshine heats the black mat and as water passes through, the heat is transferred to the water and returned to the pool.
Solar panels are an eco-friendly way to heat your pool 10-20 degrees warmer, with do-it-yourself installation, zero emissions and with zero operational costs. With no gas or electrical lines to run, they are favored by pool owners everywhere!
Solar heaters come in a variety of shapes and sizes but the mechanics are basically the same. You can use your existing pump to circulate water through black tubing which naturally absorbs heat from the sun and sends that heated water back to your pool.
The more surface area the solar heater has, the more BTUs of heat are generated. And the more BTUs you generate, the greater the volume of water you can heat. Since a pool is open to the air, heat can be lost quickly. To combat the heat loss, it is recommended to over-size a solar pool heater.
One or more panels can be joined to create more surface area. Panels can be installed for above ground and in ground pools, positioned in a variety of ways, and controlled manually by turning a valve or automatically, with a solar controller.