Spring Or Autumn Coming Up? An Ideal Time To Build A Solar Pool Heater - Cheaply!

by Pool Builders on 02-25-2008 in Articles

A solar pool heater really comes into its own in spring and autumn. It can greatly extend the pleasure that you and your family get from your swimming pool or spa.

When evenings and mornings are getting too cool for other pool users your solar heater swimming pool will still allow you maximum use of your valuable asset.

What is a pool heater?

Basically of course it is a means to warm the water in your pool or spa. Depending somewhat on the size of your pool, you have a number of options. The solar option uses the free energy of the sun.

You could:

  • use an electric heater
  • use gas, usually a propane heater
  • use a pool cover
  • or use solar pool heating
Why solar?

Disadvantages of using fossil fuels, eg electricity and some types of gas, include their fast rising costs in our carbon constrained world. And if you want to do something about reducing emissions a solar pool heater is one, small, but enjoyable means of doing so. Anything you can do helps!

"But electricity has no emissions" you say? Not at the consumer end, no. But think of all that coal, oil and gas generating electricity in most countries' power plants, bellowing greenhouse gasses and other pollution?

We are now standing at a time in human history where fossil fuel prices are rising dramatically. What you have seen so far is only the start. Just wait till emissions trading takes off, somewhere near you! As it will!


In this changing world some sacrifices will have to be made. But should your pool be one of them? I don't know the answer when water shortages are also a part of climate change.

But you can enjoy your pool now in the knowledge of having done something solar and practical about heating it. These are the rewards:

  • You enjoy your pool into cooler seasons and cooler day times;
  • You're saving money on utility bills, charged for running a conventional pool heater
  • No bills for solar energy - it is free!
  • You cut down on greenhouse gas emissions

Of course you could still go out and buy yourself a pool heater for up to $2,000 and be done with it. Or you can build a solar one yourself for much less. Perhaps as little as $100. Your very own homemade solar pool heater.

All you need is a decent set of solar pool heater plans and basic DIY skills to achieve this. A caution though! Revealing your inner Superman by completing such a project will be somewhat tarnished by the fact that a 14-year old might be able to build one of these. Just don't tell anyone...

So, besides instructions, what do you need for your solar swimming pool heater , whether above ground pool solar heater or otherwise? Firstly, a circulation pump, using 15 to 20 Watt on mains power for a 30,000 liter pool. With a solar pump you won't have even this small expense. Secondly you need a circulation system.

Types of solar systems

A rooftop system lies flat on your roof. So now you know what those large black areas of tubing are on some folks roofs. These are best for larger pools, requiring large surfaces to catch solar heat.

An on the ground system, as you would expect, sits on the ground, closer to your pool. It is usually mounted vertically, oriented towards the sun and blended in with existing fencing or walls, so it requires no extra space.

And "no", a good solar pool heater is not dysfunctional on cloudy days! It will still keep your pool water warm. As an extra measure, when conserving that heat overnight with a passive solar pool cover you can surely be snug and warm in your pool while others are freezing.

Assessing your system needs

If you're ready to go the solar option, first assess what system you need by knowing your local weather patterns and the size of your pool. DIY or off-the-shelf solar pool heaters are available for various scenarios. And an above ground pool solar heater is no different.

Building your diy solar pool heater saves money and emissions. Your home made solar pool heater will also mean lots more fun for your family in your heated pool - for years to come!

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