Solar Water Heating For Swimming Pools

by Pool Builders on 05-04-2010 in Articles

Those lucky enough to own swimming pools will know of the many joys they bring. However, they will also be well aware of the fact that their pools are also big energy users. Over the years, the amount of money spent on heating even small pools can run into the thousands.

The good news is that these energy bills can be dramatically reduced by using the free power of the Sun through a solar water heating system. Solar thermal is so effective it can save up to 70-80% of pool heating costs as well as providing huge carbon savings.

Solar thermal pool systems also provide one of the fastest paybacks of all renewable energy installations. Payback is generated typically around 5 years from installation.

How does solar hot water heat a swimming pool?

Solar water heating collects free energy from sunlight in a solar collector and uses this to heat a fluid that is circulated in pipes.

Typically the solar collector is typically either a flat plate solar panel, or one containing solar evacuated tubes. This is attached to a south facing roof or placed on a free standing support.

The fluid running through the collector is quickly heated by the sun and, due to thermal insulation, will get hot even in fairly levels of low sunlight. The hot fluid is then piped into a domestic water cylinder where it releases its heat to the water through the process of conduction.

The solar thermal panels can work alongside existing boilers and heat exchangers and offer a base load of natural heat that helps to dramatically reduce running costs. Alternatively there are systems that heat the pool water directly.

Once installed solar thermal pool heating costs very little to run, only a pump and controller are needed, requiring minimal electrical power.

The beauty of a solar thermal system is that they can also be sized to meet the needs of any pool. From domestic indoor or outdoor pools through to large scale leisure centre pools.

Considerations for Solar Water Heating for Swimming Pools

Anyone considering installing solar hot water for their swimming pool will find it useful to have the following information to hand, to help professional installers assess the size and needs of their system.

  • The surface area of the pool.
  • Its' average depth.
  • Whether it's indoor or outdoor and information about the location and insulation levels.
  • How the pool is covered (if at all).
  • Its' seasonal usage pattern.
  • The make and size of the boiler (if used).
  • Location to put solar panels.
  • Details of plant room (if used).
  • The temperature the pool is to be heated at.

Another important consideration is to ensure you use an industry accredited installer. In the UK look out for accreditation such as the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. It is important to make this part of your criteria for choosing an installer as not having a recognised accreditation may affect the validity of product warranties, future service agreements and above all, your eligibility for green grants.

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