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Guest Post by Peter Jordan
Swimming pools make a great way to cool down and exercise in the comfort of your home. But what happens to your pool when the hot summer weather transitions into colder fall weather?
You can pay an enormous amount of money to utilize a gas or electric heater to heat your pool, cover your pool and not swim until the weather improves, or install effective solar pool heating panels that heat your pool by using the sun.
This post will show you how you can save potentially thousands of dollars a year, allowing you to enjoy your pool without burning a hole in your wallet.
How does solar pool heating work?
Solar pool panels consist of five main components:
- Solar collector ― panel that is heated through the sun and water is passed through
- Pump ― circulates water through the filter and collector, then released back into pool
- Filter ― removes dust and debris from the water before entering the solar collectors
- Flow control valve ― diverts pool water through the solar collector
- Thermostat ― reads the temperature of the water and opens and closes the flow control valve
The solar collectors are panels made out of polypropylene mats with two feed pipes on each end. The panels are usually mounted on a roof or a ground mount in a position that allows for maximum sunlight. The cold water from the pool is pumped and filtered to the solar pool panels, the panels absorb the heat from the sunlight, and transfer the heat to the water being pumped through the solar pool panels. The heated water from the panels is transferred back into your pool for you to enjoy.
What are the benefits of solar pool heating?
Owning and maintaining a pool alone can be expensive; tacking on pool heating can add a hefty bill at the end of the month. On average, running a gas pool heater can cost homeowners $200 to $400 per month depending on several factors such as the size of your pool / heater, current cost of gas, desired water temperature, average daily temperatures in location, etc.
The main benefit of installing solar pool panels is how cost effective they are. The panels use free solar energy provided by the sun to heat your pool resulting in a cost of $0 per month once they are installed. Many homeowners state that the money they saved by switching from electric and gas heating methods, the solar pool heating system practically paid for itself in a few years. Solar heaters last 15 to 20 years and are very low maintenance, allowing homeowners to extend their swim season worry free.
What are the disadvantages of solar pool heating?
Solar pool heating benefits comes with a few drawbacks. Solar heaters do not rapidly heat up the pool. The heating process is a slower, more gradual effect for long-term water temperature management. They are also reliant on the sun, meaning cloudy days equal less heating performance. Due to these drawbacks, solar heaters are recommended for areas that receive ample sunlight for most of the year.
How do I choose a system?
When you are in the market for solar pool heaters, you should ask yourself three main questions:
- Do I live in a location suited for solar pool heating?
- Where are you going to install the system?
- How big of a system do you need to heat your pool?
Areas like California, Florida, and Arizona are ideal locations for solar pool heating. If you live in area that is usually very cold and does not receive a lot of sunlight, solar heating is not recommended. Next question is where are you going to install the system. You should plan out a place on your roof or on the ground (ground mount) that is unobstructed from the sun. The last question is how big of a system do you need to heat your pool. First calculate your pools surface area by length x width. We recommend your solar heating system area should be at least 60 percent of your pool. For example, if you have a pool area of 600 square feet, the required area of solar panels would be around 360 square feet. When purchasing solar heaters, you can buy the panels and hardware separately or buy pre-made DIY solar pool heating kits that include everything needed to install a solar heating system. Buying premade kits takes out the guesswork and saves homeowners the headache of forgetting an essential part required to install their system.
Peter Jordan is a recent SDSU marketing graduate who enjoys creating digital content. He currently is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for solartechonline.com and strives to create the best content for people interested in solar energy.