How does a solar pool heater work?

A solar swimming pool heater uses your pool’s filter pump to make the water flow through the solar collectors, where it is heated, and then returned to your pool. When the water has reached your desired temperature, it bypasses the solar collectors and returns directly to the pool.

 

Why would I want to heat my pool?

Once you’ve invested in a pool, it only makes sense to get the most enjoyment you can from it. But if your pool is too cold to use for many months at a time, you are not realizing the full benefit of your investment. Heating your pool with a solar powered pool heater can double your swim season. Plus, having such a unique, eco-friendly feature can add greatly to the value of your home.

 

How does solar pool heating compare with heat pumps?

The initial cost of installing an in-ground or above ground solar pool heater is generally comparable to that of an electric heat pump. However, while the annual cost of electricity to run a heat pump may be only two thirds that of natural gas (and far less than propane), the sun’s energy is FREE! And of course, solar pool heating is much more environmentally friendly.

 

How much will my solar pool heater cost to operate?

Since the sun’s energy is free, there are no operating costs.

 

How well does solar energy heat a pool?

A properly designed solar swimming pool heater will heat your pool just as effectively as one that uses fossil fuels. On days that are warm enough to comfortably relax poolside, but not warm enough to swim, solar energy will heat your pool to a perfect temperature for swimming, so you can dive right in.

 

What is the best type of collector to use for solar pool heating?

Many people make the mistake of spending money on expensive equipment that is not expressly designed for pool heating, such as glass-covered and insulated housings intended for household water heaters. In fact, lower-cost unglazed collectors can deliver heat to your pool more effectively.

 

Do the solar collectors have to face south?

Not necessarily. As long as the solar collector is installed where it will be exposed to sunlight for a good portion of the day, it will provide plenty of heat. Depending on the angle of the mounting surface, east- and west-facing collectors function just as well.

 

SOLAR POOL HEATING RESOURCES

Using renewable energy resources for pool heating can improve the quality of life while promoting sustainable development throughout the world. Solar pool heating systems are practical, reliable, cost-effective, and healthier for people and the environment. Learn more about renewable energy and efficient solar pool heaters through the resources we provided here.

ARTICLES

Solar Pool Heating – Deserving Credit
Environmental Resources Trust (ERT), August 2008

“When heating a pool, not only are solar pool heating systems able to provide the same environmental benefits to society as photovoltaic (PV) electric systems… they can do so at nearly one tenth the cost.”

Conserving Energy & Heating Your Swimming Pool With Solar Energy
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (US Dept of Energy), 2000)

Heating Your Swimming Pool With Solar Energy
North Carolina Solar Center, 2002

Get a Jump On Summer With Solar Pool Heating
Home Power Magazine #113, 2006

WEBSITES

American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) 
ACORE is a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., focused on accelerating the adoption of renewable energy technologies into the mainstream of American society through work in convening, information publishing and communications. With a focus on trade, finance and policy, ACORE promotes the production of solar pool heating devices and other alternative energy equipment options for electricity, hydrogen, fuels and end-use energy including solar energy, wind power, geothermal energy, hydro & ocean energy, waste energy and fuels, biomass energy and biofuels.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
DSIRE is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy joining their efforts to accelerate the use of renewable energy sources and technologies in and through state and local government and community activities. The purpose is to promote the use of renewable energy technologies and green building practices.

ENERGY STAR
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort. ENERGY STAR helps you make the energy efficient choice.

EPA, Clean Energy
EPA’s Clean Energy Programs are working with state policy makers, electric and gas utilities, energy customers, and other key stakeholders. By identifying, designing and implementing clean energy policy and technology solutions, they are delivering important environmental and economic benefits.

Environmental Resources Trust
ERT is a Washington, DC-based, non-profit organization that pioneers the use of market forces to protect and improve the global environment. Founded in 1996, ERT is harnessing the power of markets to address the challenges of tempering climate change, securing clean and reliable power, and encouraging environmentally beneficial land use.

Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)
Explore the FSEC site to learn how you can use solar hot water to heat your pool. With tips on sizing, how solar hot water works on pools, and how you’re system can or will be installed, this site is just the place to warm up to solar.

GreenYour.com
GreenYour.com is an interactive resource for people seeking to green anything in their life. Whether you want to green your dining and dating, or your cleaning and lighting, GreenYour will provide tips on the best green-practices and products and services that can help you make a difference.

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is the national association for the solar energy trade including solar powered pool heater manufacturers, pool solar heater dealers, solar panel distributors, pool solar heating contractors, swimming pool solar heater installers, residential solar energy architects, energy savings consultants, and marketers. They work to expand the use of solar technologies in the global marketplace.

Solar Energy International (SEI)
SEI works cooperatively with grassroots and development organizations to meet sustainable development goals with renewable energies. Thru education and technical assistance, SEI empowers others to use renewable energy technologies and provides the expertise to plan, engineer and implement sustainable development projects.

The Solar Guide
The Solar Guide aims to give consumers the practical information they want when comparing pool heaters and purchasing solar and renewable energy systems. Learn about solar panels, what solar energy costs, the benefits of going solar, government incentives and your investment of this renewable energy.

US Dept. of Energy – Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
EERE is supportive of advancing technologies such as biomass and biofuels, solar power, wind power, advanced vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cells. They welcome the participation of energy businesses and people of goodwill throughout the country coming together to bring a safer, cleaner, sustainable, and more secure future to our country and a better, healthier world for generations to come.