It looks so natural to heat water in your pool by solar power. Sun energy is free of charge and we only need solar panels to collect the heat. Of course, panels do their best when they are exposed to the sun. Days without sun, nights, low air temperatures... are the unfortunate circumstances, but solar water heater user has them in mind.
Whether to use solar water heaters for pools or not, the question is how to choose the best one. Solar swimming pool heaters will definitely extend the usage time of your pool, but don’t expect too much if you live in not so sunny climate. Alternatively, consider combining a solar heater with other types of pool water heaters (gas or electric), to decrease its operating costs.
A solar water heater for the pool is simple, reliable, durable, environmentally friendly and cost-effective system, which consists of solar panel(s), valve and installation kit. It uses an existing pump. Water circulates from the pool through the hot panels and back, raising the temperature of the whole water volume gradually. It is important to stop the flow when panels become cold.
Solar water heaters for pools are exclusively designed for that purpose and you can’t adapt pool water heater for other use. Likewise, solar panels for home heating, or home water heating, can’t be used for pool heating.
The main con of solar pool heaters is sun dependence. During the warm months, one or two affordable panels on the ground would be sufficient. On the other hand, if you want to use solar energy at its maximum possible potential, it will cost more to invest. Quality of the panels, the roof position, sun exposition and surface area contribute to its efficiency. The other problem may be slowness – if your pool is in the courtyard of your cottage house, and you intend to use it only for weekends, think about a faster solution, i.e. gas.
Take a look what is there on the market. The most popular solar pool heater brands are:
Game – portable, easy to install, affordable, innovative, two panels can be connected,
SmartPool – among the most popular brands, many models available but the innovative curved Solar Arc pool heater is the must-see,
Sunheater – traditional, larger, more expensive than Game water heaters,
Fafco – one of the best North America’s pool water heater brands with specially designed collectors to boost performance,
AquaQuik – panel-free... small, affordable, but users’ advice is not to try to link units,
EcoSaver – with panels made of flexible ldpe material,
Sungrabber – big, traditional collectors come from an old reliable manufacturer.
All companies mentioned above offer solar water heaters in the price range from $50 to $300. If you connect two or more units, the strength will be increased, and price, proportionally.
If you want the highest quality and performance, ask for Heliocol. Patented design and mounting system provide exceptional flexibility, but be ready to pay $1000 for one panel only.
Let’s mention here, also, two interesting solar heating items for pools.
Floating solar pool heaters are... floating. Check the brand Natural Current Solar Pool Heaters for more details. The innovative unit filters and pumps water, sanitizing and heating it at the same time.
The solar pool cover is made of bubbles – specialized air chambers that collect the solar energy and transfer it to the water below. The cover saves the warmth, too. The price depends on the size and it is not under $50.
To conclude – due to the free sun renewable energy, solar water heaters are very useful for home pools, either inground or above ground. Consider only, whether there are conditions to be a sole or extra source of heat.