What Is a Solar Pool Heater?
Solar pool heating systems involve pumping pool water through a series of tubes, known as solar collectors or solar absorbers, mounted on the ground or roofs of a building. The sun’s free energy heat the circulating water, returning it backs to the pool at a higher temperature.
Solars pool heating systems work seamlessly with your pool equipment & are fully automated. You set the desired water temperatures on the controls of the solar. And when solar power is available at solar collectors.
An automatic motorized valve directs water through the solar panels and directs the solar heat back into the pool. This process continues until either the pool’s filters pumps are turned off for the day or the desired pool temperature is reached.
In most cases, the existing filters pump can easily provide sufficient current to the solar panels. This is the time mosts pool professionals would recommend running your filters, whether you have solars or not. This is also the time when the pool is most likely to be used and is the time when good circulation is needed to clean the chemical distribution.
How Does Solar Pool Heater Work?
Solar pool heater works by collecting fractions of this sunlight & use it to pump water from your swimming pool through your filter & back. Along with the ways, the water passes through a bunch of solar collectors, heating it. Solar pool collectors are made of different materials.
The types you’ll need depends on your climate & how you want to use the collector. If you only use your pool when the temperature is above freezing, you will probably only need a glassless collector system. Unglazed collectors do not include glazing. They are typically made of heavy-duty rubber or plastic treated with an ultraviolet (UV) light blocker to extend the life of the panels.
Due to their cheap parts and simple design, glazed collectors are generally less expensive than glazed collectors. These unglazed systems can also work for indoor pools in cold climates if the system is designed to return to the pool when not in use.
Even if you have to shut down the system in cold weather, unglazed collectors can be more cost-effective than installing more expensive glazes collectors system. Glazed collector systems are typically made of copper tubing on an aluminium plate with an iron tempered glass cover, which increases their cost.
In cold climates, glazed collector systems—with heat exchangers & transfer fluids—capture solar heat more efficiently than unglazed systems. Therefore, they can be uses year-round in many climates.
Glazes collector can also be used to heats domestic hot water year-round. Both glazed & unglazed collectors systems should include freeze protection if they will be used in cold conditions.
Working of a Solar Pool Heater:
Pool water is pumped to the collector. Before the water reaches the collector, it goes through a filter to remove any leaves, debris, and dirt. In a solar collector, the water is heated by the sun before being returned to the pool.
If you live in a warms climate area, the collector can be used to cool the pool during the summers months. This is possibles if you circulate water through the collectors at night.
With a flow control valve, the water is diverted to the collector the moment the collector temperature is higher than the pool temperature. However, when the collectors’ temperature is equal to the pool temperature, the filtered water only bypasses the collector before returning to the pool. Solar pool collectors vary in the type and material used depending on your climate and also how you intend to use the collector.
When you primarily use your pool when temperatures are above freezing point, unglazed collector systems are best. These types of collectors do not have glazing. Such collectors are made of heavy plastic that has been treated with a UV light blocker or heavy-duty rubber.
Due to their cheaper design and parts, unglazed collectors are less expensive than their glazed counterparts. If you have an indoor pool, an unglazed collector is also effective, especially when designed to return to the pool when they are not in use.
Tips to Improve:
Unglazed collectors are the best choice, as they are cost-effective and easy to install. Note that the type of collector you use in your pool greatly affects how effective your solar pool heater is. Now that you understand that unglazed pool heaters are unmatched when it comes to performance, let us now see how to buy the best solars pool heater.
Selecting the right collectors can be a daunting task but for best results, make sure you have selected the right heater. Most people buy the right solars pools heater, making the whole process a waste of time and money. To fix this problem, let us see how one should choose a solar pools heater.
How to Select Right Solar Pool Heater?
Buying a solars pool heaters can be an expensive exercise, considering that it can cost you between $3,000 and $4,000. Once you have a good solar heater installed, it offers payouts of up to 7 years depending on the quality of the solar & how it was installed, among other factors.
Before buying and installing any solar heating system, make sure you take note of the following.
- Evaluate your site’s solar resource:- It is an important consideration to bear in mind that the effectiveness of a solars pool heater depends on the amounts of solar energy reaching your pool.
- Sizing Solar Pool Heater:- The size of a solar pool heating system is determined by several factors. For example, you need to consider the size of your pool, the length of the swimming seasons, collectors efficiency, desired pool temperatures, and average regional temperature.
- Installing a solar pool heating system on a collector:- This is another major factor that must be considered whether the collectors should be mounted on roofs or anywhere near the pool for better orientation and exposure.
- Checking Solar Pool Heater Efficiency:- One should also consider how efficient given heaters are before buying by checking the heater’s thermal performances rating. A thermals performances rating is measured in either Btu (British Thermal Unit) or Megajoules (MJ) per square meter.
- Comparing Solar Swimming Pool Heating Systems Cost:- Before making purchases, one should estimate & compare the costs associated with different solar heater models. To estimate and compare costs, one should look at the total installation cost, the number of collector panels needed to heat your pool, and the thermal performance rating of a collector.
- Building Codes & Costs – One should also take the time to consider the installation cost before purchasing a solar pool heater.
- Installation and Maintenance:- How the solar pool heating system will be installed should also be considered before purchasing. The installations process depends on several factors such as climate, building code requirements & safety issues. After installations, one should also consider how the systems will be maintained considering propers maintenances; Solar pool heaters can easily last for 5-10 years.
For best results, there are certain practices to follow when installing solar pool heaters. One of these practices involves using unglazes collectors who are cheap as well as effective. Additionally, the pool owner is advised to go for the top-rated solar pool heaters available on sale.
Selecting a Solar Pool Heater:
A solar pool heating system typically costs between $3,000 and $4,000 to purchase and install. It offers payouts of between 1.5 to 7 years, depending on your local fuel cost. They generally last longer than gas and heat pump pool heaters. Your actual cost and payback depend on several factors. Therefore, before buying and installing a solar pool heating system, you should do the following:
- Evaluate your site’s solar resource
- Set the correct system size
- Determine the correct orientation and orientation for the collector
- Determine system efficiency
- Compare system costs
- Check local codes, contracts, and regulations.
Evaluating Your Site’s Solar Resource:
Before purchasing and installing a solar pool heating system, you must first consider your site’s solar resources. The efficiency & design of a solar pool heater depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches your building site.
Solars pool heating system uses both direct & diffused solar radiation. So, even if you don’t live in a hot and sunny climate most of the time, such as the southwestern United States, your site may still have substantial solar resources.
Basically, if your building sites have unshaded areas & generally face south, it is a good candidate for a solars pool heating system. Your local solar system supplier or installers can perform a solar site analysis.
Siting a Solar Pool Heating System’s Collector:
Collectors can be mounted on rooftops or anywhere near swimming pools that provide proper exposure, orientation, and tilt towards the sun. Both the orientation & tilt of the collector will affect the performance of your solar pool heating system.
Your contractor should consider them when evaluating your site’s solar resource and sizing your system. Solar pool heater collectors must be geographically oriented to maximize the amount of daily and seasonal solar power they receive.
In general, the optimal orientation for solars collectors in the Northern Hemispheres is true south. However, a recent study has shown that, depending on your location and collector inclination, your collector can withstand up to 45º east or west of true south without significantly reducing its performance.
If you plan to mount the collectors on your roof, you will also want to consider factors such as the orientations of the roof, local landscape features that shade the collector daily or seasonally, and local weather conditions on foggy mornings or Cloudy afternoons, as these factors can affect your optimum orientation of the collector.
The angle at which collectors should be tilted varies depending on your latitude and the length of the summer or year-round of your swimming season. Ideally, the collectors for heating only in summer should be inclined at an angle equal to 10º–15º from your latitude minus. For year-round heating, the collectors should be tilted at an angle equal to your latitude.
However, a study has shown that not having a modulated tilt at the optimum angle will not result in a significant reduction in system performance. Therefore, you can usually lay the collectors flat on your roof, which may not be at an optimal angle but is more aesthetically pleasing. However, you’ll want to take roof angles into account when sizing your system.
Determining Efficiency of Solar Swimming Pool Heating System:
You can determine the efficiencies of solar swimming pools heating systems based on the thermal performance rating of the collector, if available. The thermal performance rating of a solar collector is measured by BTU (British Thermal Units) per squares feet per day: Btu/(ft2day) Or, the rating can be measured in megajoules (MJ) per squares meters per day: MJ/(M2day)
It can also be measured by BTU pers day, which is the rating of BTU/(ft2day) multiplied by the area of ft2. MJ per day is also used, which is the rating in MJ/(m2day) multiplied by the area in M2. The higher the number, the higher the solar energy collection efficiency.
However, because weather conditions, equipment accuracy, and other test condition constraints may vary, the thermal performance of any two collectors should be considered approximately the same if their rating is within 25 Btu/(ft 2 days) of each other.
High-efficiency solar collectors will not only reduce your annual operating costs but may also require fewer squares feet of collector area to heat the pool.
Comparing Solar Swimming Pool Heating System Costs:
Before buying a solar pool heating system, you can estimate and compare the cost of using different solar collector models. This will help you determines the potentials cost savings of investing in a more efficient type of collectors, which may require fewer panels for the collectors’ area needed to heat your pool.
To estimate and compares costs, you need to know the following:
Thermal performance rating of the collector (BTU/day)
The total number of collector panels or piping for the area required to heat your pool total installed cost of the system.
You can then calculate the collector’s energy output per dollar spent or invests using this formula:
(BTU/day X # of collector panel/piping modules) Total installed cost of the system = BTU/$ per dollar spent
(27,900 X 4) BTU $3,000 = 37.20 BTU/day pers dollars spent
If you know the collectors’ prices and thermal performance ratings (BTU/day), you can use the following formula to calculates the energy output for each dollar spent or invested for different collectors:
BTU/Day Collector Value = BTU/Day Pers Dollars Spent
21,000 BTU $387 = 54.26 BTU/day per dollars spent
Don’t choose a solars pools heating system or collector based only on its estimated cost. When selecting a solar pool heater, it is also important to consider the size and design of the system and all the factors involved in the quality of the installation.