How Does a Solar Pool Heater Work?

One can greatly reduce the swimming pool by installing a solar pool heater. Solar pool heaters are cost-effective whether you are using a gas or heat pump pool heaters. Individuals using solar pool heaters claim they have a low operating cost.  Most pool owners do not understand how solar pool heaters work and that that is why we have prepared this guide. Read on to learn more about how solar pool heaters work.

Basics of Solar Pool Heater

To understand how solar pool heaters work, it is best to start looking at major components of solar pool heating systems.

  • A pump– Pumps help circulates water through the collector and filter and back to the pool.
  • A solar collector– A collector is a device through which pool water is circulated for it to be heated by solar energy.
  • A filter– Before water is pumped through the collector, it’s vital to remove any leaves, debris, and dirt present. A filter helps get rid of any occurring debris.
  • A flow control valve– when you have plans to install a solar pool heater, one requires an automatic or manual device to divert water to the solar collector.

Working of a Solar Pool Heater

Pool water is pumped to the collector. Before water gets to the collector, it goes through a filter to remove any leaves, debris, and dirt.  In the solar collector, the water is heated by the sun before it’s returned to the pool.  If you live in a hot climate area, the collector can be used to cool the pool during summer months.  This is possible if you circulate water through the collector at night.

With a flow control valve, water is diverted to the collector the moment the collector temperature is higher than that of the pool.  However, when the collector temperature is equal to the pool’s temperature, the filtered water only bypasses the collector before it’s returned to the pool.

Solar pool collectors vary in type and material used depending on your climate and also how you purpose to use the collector.  Unglazed collector systems are best when you mainly use your pool when the temperature is above the freezing point.  These types of collectors do not have a glass covering (The glazing). Such collectors are made of heavy plastic treated with UV light inhibitors or heavy-duty rubbers. Due to their inexpensive designs and parts, unglazed collectors are less expensive when compared to their glazed counterparts.  If you have an indoor pool, unglazed collectors are also effective, especially when designed to drain back to the pool when they not in use.

Tips to improve

Unglazed collectors are the best option considering they are cost-effective and easy to install.  Note the type of collector you use in your pool highly influences how effective your solar pool heater is. Now that you understand unglazed pool heaters are unmatched when it comes to performance let’s now look at how to buy the best solar pool heater.

Selecting the right collector can be a daunting task but for the best results, make sure you choose the right heater. Most people buy the wring solar pool heater, which makes the whole process a waste of time and money. To correct this problem, lets us look at how one should select a solar pool heater.

How to Select the Right Solar Pool Heater

Buying a solar pool heater can be an expensive exercise considering it might cost you between $3,000 and $4,000.  Once you install a good solar heater, it provides a payback of 7 to years depending on the quality of the solar and how it was installed among other factors. Before you buy and install any solar heating system, make sure you look into the following

  • Evaluate your site’s solar resource – This is an important consideration bearing in mind the effectiveness of a solar pool heater depends on the amount of solar energy that reaches your pool.
  • Sizing a solar pool heater – The size of a solar pool heating system is determined by several factors.  For example, you need to consider your pool size, length of the swimming season, collector efficiency, desired pool temperature, and average regional temperatures.
  • Sitting a solar pool heating system on a collector – This is another major factor one should look at considering collectors have to be mounted on roofs or anywhere near the pool for better orientation and exposure.
  • Checking the efficiency of the solar pool heater – one should also consider how efficient a given heater is before buying by checking the heater’s thermal performance rating.  A thermal performance rating is either measured in Btu (British thermal unit) or megajoules (MJ) per square meter.
  • Comparing solar swimming pool heating system cost – Before making a purchase, one should estimate and compare the cost associated with different solar heater models.  To estimate and compare cost, one should look at the total installation cost, the number of collector panels required to heat your pool, and a collector’s thermal performance rating.
  • Building codes and costs – one should also take time to consider installation costs before buying a solar pool heater.
  • Installation and maintenance – One should also be considerate about how a solar pool heating system will be installed before buying. The installation process depends on several factors such as climate, building codes requirements, and safety issues. After installation, one should also consider how the system will be maintained considering proper maintenance; solar pool heaters can run smoothly for 5-10 years.

For best results, there are a few practices adopted when installing a solar pool heater. One of these practices involves using unglazed collectors which are cheap yet effective. Additionally, pool owners are advised to go for top-rated solar pool heaters available on sale.

Tool Required for Installation

When installing a solar pool heater, there are several tools one should use.  Most of these tools are also vital as they highly influence how a solar pool heater works.   These tools include:

  • A solar collector
  • A filter
  • A pump
  • A flow control valve

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.
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