How Does a Solar Pool Heater Work? Explained

How Does a Solar Pool Heater Work? Explained

Before you decide to install a solar pool heater, you should know how a solar pool heater works and whether it is worthwhile.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce your energy bills when it comes to heating your pool (or avoid it altogether!) then you’re at the right place! The water in our pools is heated for free by solar pool heaters, which use the sun’s heat.

Together with your current pool filter, a solar collector, a pump, and piping make up a solar pool heater. The procedure is straightforward: the pump removes water from the pool, pumps it through the filter, up the piping, and through the solar collector, where it is heated before being returned to the pool.

In this blog, we’ll explore the working principle of the solar pool heater. Please keep reading.

How Does a Solar Pool Heater Work?

The way a solar pool heater operates is by capturing tiny amounts of this sunlight and using them to pump water from your swimming pool through your filter and back. The water is heated as it travels through a number of solar collectors along with the way. The materials used to make solar pool collectors vary.

The kinds you’ll need depend on your climate and the way you plan to use the collector. You likely only need a glassless collector system if you only use your pool when the temperature is above freezing. Unglazed collectors do not include glazing. To increase the lifespan of the panels, they are typically made of sturdy rubber or plastic that has been treated with an ultraviolet (UV) light blocker.

Glazed collectors typically cost less than non-glazed collectors because of their affordable parts and straightforward construction. 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.

How Does a Solar Pool Heater Work? Explained

Unglazed collectors may be more cost-effective than installing a system with more expensive glaze collectors, even if you have to turn the system off in the winter. Glazed collector systems are generally more expensive because they typically consist of copper tubing on an aluminum plate with a cover made of iron-tempered glass.

Glazed collector systems—with heat exchangers and transfer fluids—capture solar heat more effectively than unglazed systems in cold climates. As a result, they are adaptable to a variety of climates and can be used year-round.

Additionally, you can heat your home’s hot water all year long by using a glaze collector. If they will be used in cold climates, both glazed and unglazed collector systems need to have freeze protection.

How to Choose a Solar Pool Heater?

Choosing a solar pool heater requires taking into account a number of important factors. The size and type of pool, the climate where you live, and the cost of energy are a few of these.

In-ground Vs. Above-ground Pools

Although there isn’t much of a difference in water temperature between in-ground and above-ground pools, above-ground pools are frequently a little colder than in-ground pools, and, during the warmer months of the year, they can even be a little warmer. Your need for a pool heater may be impacted by this.

What Size is Your Pool?

The rule of thumb for matching a solar heater to your pool is that the solar collector must cover at least 75% of the surface area of your pool. For example, if you have an 800-square-foot pool, you need a solar heater with a collector that’s at least 600 square feet in size.

Calculating the square footage of roof space close to the pool is a simple way to determine if you have enough room for a large solar collector. If your yard is substantial, you might also think about how much room you have for a ground-mounted solar pool heater.

Local Weather and Climate

A solar pool heater’s effectiveness is significantly influenced by your location. Your solar pool heater might struggle to maintain a comfortable temperature in your pool all year if you reside in a colder area with longer spring and early fall seasons, for example. A solar pool heater, however, might be a useful tool for warming your pool if you reside in a warmer climate.

The presence of storms, clouds, and shading are other weather-related elements that may impact how effectively a solar pool heater operates. To function effectively, a solar pool heater requires direct sunlight.

Solar Pool Heaters vs Regular Pool Heaters, Which Is Best!

Energy Costs

As a general rule, a solar pool heater heats the water in your pool for a relatively low cost (beyond the initial purchase price) — usually around $200 a year. If you live in a colder region, the pool’s water temperature may drop faster and require the water pump to work harder, pushing water through the system more often. This process — providing energy for the pump — drives up the cost of heating your pool.

In colder climates, people frequently combine solar pool heaters with another type of heating system or with a pool cover that works to stop heat loss from the exposed water. See How Long Does a Solar Cover Take to Heat a Pool?

How Much Does a Solar Pool Heater Cost?

Solar pool heaters don’t have a set price because each system is customized to the size of the pool. The cost of a solar pool heater of average size is between $3,000 and $5,000. Remember that solar pool heaters don’t cost a penny to run even though this may seem a little on the pricey side.

For as long as your solar pool heater is in use, the pool will be heated for free! And since they don’t have any moving parts, they last a long time! Learn How Much to Install a Solar Pool Heater.

How Much Money Can You Save With a Solar Pool Heater?

Running a solar pool heater typically costs less than $200 per year. Gas or electric pool heaters of other types are significantly more expensive. The total cost depends on the price of gas or electricity where you live.

The annual cost of an electric pool heater can range from $1,000 to $2,500, while the cost of a gas pool heater may be up to $2,000. A solar pool heater can be very cost-effective in many areas; the majority of these systems pay for themselves within one to seven years.

Conclusion: Working of a Solar Pool Heater

The cost of operating your current pool heater can be significantly decreased if you have a solar pool heater that warms your pool for free! In essence, if you use a solar pool heater, you won’t use your current pool heater unless it is bitterly cold outside and you need the extra heating power to bring your pool’s temperature up to a safe swimming level.

In order to keep the water warmer for longer, you can also use a solar pool heater in conjunction with a heat-retentive pool cover. If you live in a place where the solar collector doesn’t receive enough sunlight to operate effectively, a solar pool heater might not be a good idea.


Is a Solar Pool Heater Worth It?

By installing a solar pool heater, you can drastically lower the cost of heating a swimming pool. They have very low annual operating costs and are priced competitively with both gas and heat pump pool heaters. Actually, solar pool heating is one of the most cost-effective uses of solar energy in some climates.

How Many Solar Heaters Do I Need for My Pool?

If your pool has a total surface area of 400 square feet, 50% offset means you will need a total of 200 square feet of solar panels to heat it. As a reference; a single 4’x12. 5′ solar panel has a surface area of 50 square feet, so a system with 4’x12. 5′ solar panels have a total surface area of 200 square feet.

How Hot Does a Solar Pool Heater Get?

Solar-heated pools can be in the upper 80’s, and people start turning solar heaters off at times. In the summer, solar heaters are rarely used, as unheated pools can reach into the upper 80’s naturally.

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