Solar Swimming Pool Heater Sizing
According to Swim Universitys Three Quarters Rule, youll need enough solar collectors to cover about three quarters of the surface of your pool. For example, a standard pool size is 15 X 30 feet, or 450 square feet. Your solar collectors surface area would thus need to be around 338 square feet. However, if you plan to use your pool all year, youll probably want to plan on bumping up from three quarters to 100% coverage. For this example, you would need 450 square feet of available surface area to install your solar pool heaters on.
How Does Solar Pool Cover Work
A solar cover is essentially a solar blanket that goes over your pool. Its a large sheet of plastic that mimics bubble wrap and comes in a variety of thicknesses, sizes and colors. They help to preserve the temperature of your pool by preventing evaporation and helps to keep your pool clean. It’s a well-known fact that 75% of pool heat loss is due to evaporation. Essentially, you can reduce 70% of heating costs by using a solar pool cover.
Combine the solar pool cover with the solar pool heater on your roof and youll have an efficient system with the benefit of keeping leaves and other debris out of your pool.
Additional Considerations And Costs
- Permits and licenses. Permits may be needed in your area if water lines, gas lines, or electric lines are being modified to install the pool heater. Also ask for verification that the professional you are hiring is a licensed pool heater installer.
- DIY. Only attempt this project as DIY if you have an extensive background in plumbing and/or electrical. It is best to let a professional handle this project to ensure proper installation and that the warranty of the heater does not become void.
- Climate. A warm area with plenty of sunshine will be better suited to a solar pool heating system than a cold area without much sun. Colder areas will need a gas or electric pool heater.
- Having hookups or installing new hookups. If the plumbing and wiring is all set up and does not need to be replaced or repaired, this will decrease the installation cost for a new swimming pool heater.
Don’t Miss: How To Detect Leak In Above Ground Pool
Solar Pool Panels Burn Up Pumps
While still a myth, this goes back to the issue with some dealers using solar panels, plumbing, and valves that restrict flow. To burn up a pool pump you need to essentially stop water flow through it. That happens when the pressure builds up high enough that the pump cant push water any more. If your pool is maintained well and the existing pump operates well within its capability, adding solar panels will add a negligible amount of pressure.
Some older pools with smaller plumbing already run at high pressures. Other features like pop-up cleaners, therapy jets, and suction cleaners can cause pumps to operate closer to their limits. Thats why it is critical to choose a solar pool heating system with low resistance to flow by using full flow tubes and 2 inch plumbing and valves. Higher flow also happens to increase heating performance in any pool!
A properly designed solar pool heater will not burn up a pool pump. Swimming pool pumps and motors are rated for continuous duty along their entire performance curve.
Would The Water Have Warmed Up Anyway
The problem we have with solar heaters is that when the sun comes out the weather gets warm anyway. So is the heat gain in the pool down to the solar heater or would it have warmed up anyway? We have carried out experiments on two pools, side by side and in full sun, one with a solar heater and a solar pool cover and one without. We sampled the temperature every hour and we found, not surprisingly, that the temperature fluctuated with day and night. From a daytime high of 23C the pools could drop to 18C at night but then back to 23C the following day. What we did find was that the pool with the solar heater and solar cover was always warmer than the other pool, usually by about 3C but more in sunny weather. In sunny weather the solar heated pool reached 29C in the middle of the day whilst the non-heated pool was 24C.
During the experiment the weather did turn cool and we had rain. At these times the pools fell back to 18C to 22C but in those conditions no one wanted to use the pool anyway. When the sun came back the temperature of the water rose to 26C and that coincided with a desire to swim.
Comparison of heated and non heated pools
So we think that, provided you accept the limitations in this climate, solar heating it is worth investing in. We would sum up the pros and cons as follows
You May Like: Does Target Carry Pool Supplies
Solar Pool Heater Cost By Pump Size
Solar pool heater pumps range from $50 to $1,300, depending on size or style. Some solar pool heaters require a pump to circulate the warm water with the cooler water effectively. This pump can be powered by solar panels or by electricity. Often, you can use the pump that you already have. The dimensions of the pool will be used to determine the size of the pump needed, the number of gallons per minute needed to travel through the system, and the average feet of head in the system. To figure this out, determine the number of gallons of water in your pool. After you figure this out, you need to determine how many gallons per minute need to be pumped through your solar pool heating system. Horsepower denotes the pump’s ability to pump 5,500 foot-pounds per second . The more power the pump has, the greater the horsepower. A larger pump with more horsepower is often needed for a bigger pool to move the water effectively.
Choosing a pump with a variable flow rate could be a good idea so that you can dial in the flow rate depending on the number of panels in your system. After figuring gallons per minute, you next need to determine the average feet of head for the pump. This figure has to do with the amount of resistance working against your pump as it is pulling the water. These calculations take into account pipe lengths and any friction in the system.
|$700 – $1,300|
Additional Cost Of Solar Pool Heater
Another aspect of solar heaters is that you need electricity to pump water into rooftop solar pool heater. This means your utility bill will rise if your home is not already fully solar powered.
I know youre thinking, whats the point then? Well, the rise in your electricity is far less than it would cost to heat your pool with gas. With solar you pay the one time installation cost and then the cost of running a pump is the only expense for the next 20 years . With a gas heater, youre paying an installation cost and $300-$500 / month in heating bills…forever.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Above Ground Saltwater Pool
Why Install Solar Pool Heating
Studies have shown that homes with pools cost about 49% more for electricity than homes without pools. Some of the cost is due to the fact that homes with pools have more energy consuming appliances and tend to have more occupants. Nevertheless, a swimming pool costs approximately $23 per week, and that doesn’t include the cost of heating the pool. With heating, the cost can be as high as $100 per week for gas heating. Electric heating costs even more. By some estimates, a 35,000 litre swimming pool will consume 8000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
These are just average costs. Look a little more deeply and the costs can be even higher. For example, on hot days, evaporation can account for up to 70% energy loss. Evaporation is caused by high temperatures, wind and other natural factors.
Whatever your budget is, gas and electricity will consume energy and cost more. Solar pool heating starts to make sense when you consider the yearly energy cost of a pool. At $100 a week, a heated pool can cost $5200 per year and that’s under optimum conditions. Add in evaporation and the energy bill can be much higher.
Every pool has a pump. Solar pool heating works by using the pump to run water through specially designed solar panels that heat the water in much the same way a solar water heater works.
A solar pool heater has several components:
Pool Cover Installation Cost
A solar pool cover has an average cost from $40 to $400 for an inexpensive cover. However, costs can go as high as $2,700 for a mesh cover and $3,700 for a solid pool cover, depending on size, brand, and quality. A retractable pool cover can cost around $10,000 for the cover and installation. A pool cover serves a multitude of purposes. Some are designed to help winterize the pool, others aid in keeping the water warm, and some keep dirt and debris out of the water.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Pool Paint To Use
Myth #: Solar Pool Heaters Areugly
I suppose that is all based on perception.There are people who believe that Kate Moss is one of the most beautifulSupermodels of all time. There are others who think shes unattractive and tooskinny. Guess what? Neither group is wrong!
What some see as ugly eye-sores, others see asa thing of absolute beauty. When you look from the point of view belonging tothe homeowner who is saving tons and tons of money, those nasty black spots onthe roof are more beautiful than anything in the landscape!
Also, panels can be placed out of eyesight onthe back of a fence or on top of a pavilion and still be just as effective.With technology constantly advancing, theres no way to know what theyll looklike in years to come.
Myth #: Solar Heating Only Addsas Much Heat As The Outside Air Temperature
Thats completely false. Solar heating systemswork by converting the suns rays into a usable energy force. This has nothingto do with the outside air temperature. In fact, as weve discussed previously,even in cooler environments, you can expect a 15 to 20-degree difference in thetemperature of the pool water and the outside air.
Typically, solar-based systems will do thisjust prior to night fall to give your pool a temperature boost before sunset.
You May Like: How To Fix Water Pooling In Yard
Best Solar Pool Heaters Of 2021
There are a variety of solar pool heaters on the market but finding the best heater will always depend on the specifics of your home and pool. A few top models we recommend considering include:
|SOLAR POOL HEATERS|
|Aboveground and in
ground swimming pools
If youre already considering going solar, adding a rooftop solar photovoltaic system in addition to solar pool heaters can be a great way to consolidate projects. In fact, many installers will install both PV panels and solar collectors.
What Is A Solar Pool Heater
A solar pool heater is essentially a pool heater that uses solar power and solar installation as heating mechanisms. The main difference between solar pool heaters and other conventional pool heaters is that the former only works when the sun is out.
Most solar pool heating systems include the following:
- Solar collector: heats the pool water
- Filter: removes debris before the water enters the solar collector
- Pump: circulates water through the filter and solar collector then back to the pool
- Flow control valves: divert pool water through the solar collector
- Automated sensors: detect the temperature of the water coming from the solar collectors compared to the desired temperature and controls the valves
The solar collector can be placed on a rooftop or beside the swimming pool. The device consists of photovoltaic solar panels, much like a regular solar system, but thepv panels are designed to absorb the heat from the sun instead of converting sunlight into electricity. The panels are layered over tubes where swimming pool water is pumped through.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Green Out Of Pool Fast
Is Solar Pool Heating Good For The Environment
Solar heating is wonderful for the environment in the same way that standard photovoltaic solar power systems are. The heating panels convert the suns rays to heat, which warms your water without the use of fossil fuels. This helps to decrease your carbon footprint and control the over use of fossil fuels that would ordinarily be burned while using a gas heater.
Solar pool heaters also greatly help toreduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of gas powered heating systems. This aids in the worldwide effort to stop the spread of global warming and make our world a more renewable place.
These solar heating systems also make advancements in the realm of energy efficiency, as they utilize the pump that is already installed in most pools.When you look at energy efficiency rates as compared to electric, gas, and heat pump systems, solar far exceeds the competition.
How Long Does It Take To Heat A Pool With Solar Panels
As we said, solar pool heaters are not designed to heat the water in the pool rapidly. They do it slowly and steadily. Also, there are a lot of factors involved, like the weather, for example.
Lets put it this way. A pool in Southern California that is using unglazed solar panels will warm up to pleasant temperatures in just a few days if its being used in spring. However, a similarly sized pool in New York will require a whole week to warm up. As stated before, those heaters wont do a good job during colder months.
Also Check: How Much To Make Inground Pool
Reliable Source Of Heating
With traditional heating systems, there are manymoving parts. When I utilized an electric pool heater, there were a few timesthat Id wake up to disaster because a fan or motor gave out in the middle ofthe night and the water was freezing! By the time I got someone out to fix itall, days of pool time were wasted.
Not only can is it expensive to have someonecome out to service your pool, but unexpected expenses such as these can veryseriously affect your finances when you take the loss of wages into account.Youll have to be home when the service technician comes to work on yoursystem.
The parts of a solar heating system are builtto stay functional. Even if weather conditions occur causing utility serviceinterruptions, your heater continues to function perfectly. The entire set upis designed to be weatherproof and long-lasting
How Do Swimming Pool Heat Pumps Work
Heat pumps are not actually solar powered, but the way they operate is by drawing the heat and humidity in the air, just like a reverse cycle air conditioner. As most heat pumps can create 5 times as much heat as the energy it consumes, it is a much more efficient method than pumping water around your roof. Heat pumps can also be installed on the ground and require little space, perfect for that small yard or plunge pool set up.
A heated pool –
- Social aspect for outdoor entertaining
- Feature of the house
This method of renewable heat transfer is proven to be the most efficient form of pool heating. They produce best in class efficiency to keep your pool warm for when you need it, making your garden the oasis that you dream of.
I personally think for the investment that is heating a pool, you want to have peace of mind that when your heating system is on that your pool is guaranteed to reach your desired heating temperature.
Too often I have customers converting from Solar Pool Heating to a heat pump as they are heavily dependent on the weather, and are sick of having whinging kids that the pool isn’t warm enough to swim – even after 7 days of the solar system working and a few $$ the kids won’t swim
Heat pumps work, every time, and with technology these days they truly are the most efficient way to heat a pool.
Recommended Reading: How Much Ph Increaser To Add To Pool
How Much Does It Cost To Heat A Pool Per Month
For an average swimming pool, heres what heating costs typically look like for each pool heater type during peak use:
Electric Resistance pool heaters: $500 $600 per month
Gas pool heaters: $300 $500 per month
Heat pump pool heaters: $50 $150 per month
These numbers are a little different for everyone based on the size of their pool and how often they swim, but the difference in pricing is generally the same.
What Happens When The Heat Pump Reaches The Desired Swimming Temperature
Heat pumps have built in thermostats that monitor the pool’s temperature, when the swimming temperature is reached the heat pump is throttled off automatically, it comes back in operation only if the pool temperature is dropped by 1 degrees less than the set temperature. All inverter heat pumps with this technology allows it to drop to a lower speed and higher efficiency.
Recommended Reading: How Much An Above Ground Pool Cost