Heating a pool is one of the major expenses of swimming pool ownership but for many, it is a must-have add-on. A well-heated pool can not only improve the comfort of your pool, it can extend the usage to year round.
One way to reduce the cost of heating a pool is by installing a solar pool heater. In fact, depending on the size of your pool the solar pool heater could even end up paying for itself.
How does solar pool heating work?
Living in California, we are blessed with sunshine. Solar pool heating simply harnesses this natural resource by heating water that’s pumped from your pool via a solar collector that is typically mounted on your roof. The heated water then flows back into your pool.
This process can occur automatically or manually depending on the system you choose. Most of today’s solar pool heating systems are digitally controlled, automatically directing the water to the roof when the pool temperature requires heating and there is sufficient sunshine.
Types of solar pool heating
There are three standard types of solar pool heating available:
- Pool water heated when pumped through dark rubber tubes;
- Pool water heated through copper tubing positioned in an insulated box;
- Evacuated tube collectors.
How to select the right solar pool heater
Solar pool heating has many advantages, but before you finalize your decision, it’s important to make sure this form of heating is right for your pool, environment and lifestyle.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Is my home in the right location?
Most homes in California are exposed to enough sunshine, so this typically isn’t an issue. However, if your home is in complete shade, this form of heating isn’t perhaps the right choice for you.
- Where will I mount the panels?
You’ll want your solar panels to be mounted at the right orientation and tilt for maximum sun exposure.
- Do I need a permit?
Depending on your location, you may need to apply for permits to install the solar panels. You may need to comply with size and placement regulations.
- What size will I need?
The size of your panels will depend on the size of your pool. A guide is to choose a solar pool heater 50-100% of your pool size, however, the suppliers will advise you on what’s best based on your measurements.
- What control system do I want?
Some controls will run the water through the collector constantly. Manual or mechanical control systems enable the valve to be turned to prevent or allow pool water to flow through the collector.
- What is the energy efficiency of the system?
Working out the energy efficiency of a solar pool heating system can be complex. As a general rule the higher the number, the more efficient the unit will be.
- How much do I want to spend?
The cost of solar pool heating will depend greatly on the size system you choose and the size of your pool. The location of your panels and your climate will also impact the bottom line. Costs usually average between $3,500 to $8,000.
For more pool advice and tips, visit our Learning Library resource.
Feature image: Pool by KMD Landscapes featuring Beauford sandstone