Solar heating systems tend to be the preferred choice amongst Aussies when it comes to a heating solution for their pool. However, like many things solar heating comes with its pros and cons and before investing in a solar heater for your pool it’s a good idea to do a bit of research to make sure it is the best option for you. Throughout this guide we will share everything you need to know about solar pool heating to help you decide if it is the right choice.
What is solar pool heating and how does it work?
A solar pool heater works by using energy from the sun to heat your pool water rather than being solely dependent on electricity or gas. A solar pump runs your solar heating. It works by utilising the smallest amount of energy, typically less than 1kW per hour. Cold water from the pool is pumped up to your hot roof where there is a series of solar absorber capillary tubes. The water passes through these heating the water as it goes and then it is returned to the pool. This is done at a consistent pace to warm all areas of your pool. A solar pool heater works best on warm, sunny days and they can heat the pool by 2 to 10 degrees which makes for a much more comfortable swimming experience. Solar heating has the least impact on the environment as it uses a clean source of energy derived from the sun to heat your pool.
Pros of a solar heating system
Inexpensive to install
Solar heating systems cost around $3,000 to $6,000 to install and when you think of the amount of money they will save you long term on running costs, they work out to be a worthwhile investment.
Reduces your environmental footprint
As they use renewable energy that is naturally harnessed from the sun, they place very little impact of the environment.
Cost effective to run
Solar heating is undoubtedly the most cost-effective way to heat your pool. The cost of living is constantly increasing, and electricity and gas prices are no exception. Solar is a great way to save you some money come bill time. Nowadays, solar heating systems come with a control switch which gives you the option to turn it off when it is not needed which can further reduce its running costs.
Once installed, solar heating systems rarely need ongoing maintenance or repairs and will last a long time without the need to be replaced.
Freedom to enjoy your pool year round
Some may think heating for their pool isn’t necessary, however even those who reside in warmer parts of the country can benefit from having solar heating. On the hottest of summer days, the pool is typically 10 degrees lower than the air temperature, and for some it is too cold to sit in comfortably. If you are in a cooler part of the country, installing a heating system allows you to enjoy your pool year-round instead of just when it’s warm enough to do so.
Cons of a solar heating system
Not as effective in varied weather conditions
A solar heating system works best and to its full potential when there is a lot of sun, however we know that not everyday is full of sunshine. When the weather is overcast, rainy or there is significant wind your solar heater will not work as well. This can be an inconvenience especially if the weather is unfavourable and you want to use your pool but the solar heater has not warmed the water enough to swim in it. Some people choose to have a gas or electric system as a backup for when this does occur.
Slow to heat up
Solar heating can be slow to heat which isn’t ideal when you plan on using your pool. How well your pool water warms are highly dependent on the weather.
Different solar heating options
You have a few choices when it comes to heating your pool via solar power. The most common types include:
Solar collectors, more commonly known as solar panels are an extremely popular solar heating solution. They are normally housed on top of your roof or can be near the pool area. Plastic or rubber versions are usually the most economical options although they tend to work better where the weather is warm and sunny for much of the year. For people living in colder parts of the country they are usually used in conjunction with another type of heating. There are other alternatives such as glazed solar collectors. They are usually made from copper, aluminium or toughened glass. They work much more effectively than plastic or rubber however, they are also much more costly. If you live in a cooler region, they may be a good option if your budget allows as they collect heat far better.
A solar pool cover is the least expensive way to heat your pool via solar energy. They normally range from $500 to $3,000 and can warm the water by 8 degrees. Solar covers can also save you money on water, chemicals, and heating.
Evacuated tube collector
Evacuated tube collectors are the most costly solar heating option however they work the most productively. They consist of a series of small glass tubes inside of larger glass tubes which creates a vacuum like pressure. When the sun hits the glass, it gets trapped in between the small and large glass tubes. It is pushed to the heat exchanger then the water box where it is heated and then transferred back to the pool.
Both solar collectors and evacuated tube collectors are better for cooler climates as they allow you to warm the water to a suitable temperature when the weather isn’t ideal. Solar covers are good for people in warm climates or for people that use a solar cover in addition to another solar heating solution.
Some factors to consider when purchasing a solar heating system
It’s important to know that the bigger your pool is they more effective your solar heating system will have to be. This something that should be discussed when purchasing your solar heater to ensure that it heats your pool properly. The collector also needs to be situated in a warm and sunny position to work to its full potential. Using a solar heating system in conjunction with a solar cover will give you the best results. Make sure you get your system installed by a professional solar company that offers an extended warranty on your system and can advise of which system will work best for the size of your pool and the climate where you live.
Solar heating is an inexpensive way to warm your pool and it allows you to enjoy it year-round not just when the warmer months are upon us. If solar heating is something you would like for your pool or you require additional information regarding a heating solution for your pool, please get in touch with us. Our friendly team here at Barrier Reef Pools Perth are happy to answer any questions you have.