Keep Energy Bills Down by Using Solar Pool Heaters

by Pool Builders on 06-15-2010 in Articles

Using solar energy for heating pools is an environmentally safe and cost-efficient way to keep the water warm and enjoyable, even during the coldest months of the year. Although people tend to think there is not enough energy created by solar power in the coldest parts of the north, this is not true. These devices can provide enough energy to heat the water comfortably to temperatures around 82 to 85 degrees. In the southern states these can work all year long, and in northern climates the swimming season can be extended with the use of solar pool heaters. During cloudy days the temperature will cool down until the sun returns, and the system begins warming the water again.

How Do Solar Heaters Work?
Solar heaters are usually placed on the roof of the home where the sun can easily heat it. The water is circulated through the system via the pool pump and returns warm water to the pool. During daylight hours the pump operates by setting the timer to turn on in the mornings when the sun is out and run for eight hours until the sun begins to set. These devices cost nothing to operate because of the use of the sun's heat, and pumps should run eight hours daily even without utilizing it for this purpose, to keep the water clean and sparkling.

Save On Energy Costs
Solar panels are rated much like air conditioners, in BTU's per square foot. The more heat that is put out, the higher the BTU's will be. Normal BTU's for solar panels are 900 to 1000 output. There is a small difference according to the brand that is used. Choosing the right size panels are important for maintaining water temperatures at the low to mid 80's, and should be calculated according to size. An adequate system should be at least 50 to one 100 percent of pool surface size. Panels come in 4x8's, 4x10's and 4x12's, although custom sizes can usually be purchased. Panels are lined up into rows on rooftops. The typical pool heater size is a total of seven 4x12 panels that would require roof space of 12.5 feet by 29 feet.

Using Covers Keep Energy Costs Down
When using these systems it is recommended that a thermal cover be used to keep the warmth in while the pool is not being used. Without the cover, the heat rises and the water cools, raising the cost of electricity to run the pump longer, defeating the purpose of saving on electric costs. If a cover is not planned on being used, the system size should be larger.

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