How to Choose a Solar Pool Heating System
An insight into our energy needs
The production of energy to run our lives has taken a heavy toll on our planet Earth and its people. Gone are the days when it was energy generated from incinerating dry wood which cooked our food and lit our caves. Since we left the caves our need for energy has overwhelmed our own lifestyles. Today we generate energy from every source possible with nuclear being the most dangerous and devastating when it goes wrong. Though the invention of electricity has propelled us into a new dimension it has been the bane which we are unable to do without.
The use of electricity has proliferated and there is a tremendous pressure exerted on ourselves to ensure we make ends meet at the end of the day. Electricity is intertwined with our lives and we spend colossal amounts on procuring it for our everyday use.
Whilst we depend on fossil oils and nuclear generated electricity we could easily and conveniently look up at the Sun and generate the electricity we need without much of a fuss and at a fraction of the cost. The Sun bears down on planet Earth many quadrillion joules of energy day in and day out from sunrise to sunset and that is free at no cost at all. We need to harness it and use it with no hassle at all whilst also ensuring to maintain a clean and green environment for our future generations.
The answer to all our energy woes without an iota of doubt is in going solar and until we realize that, the people of this planet would have destroyed most of what Nature has offered us. We are digging deep into the land and sea looking for fossil oils when there is an abundance of solar energy at our disposal at no cost at all. In such a context it would be prudent of us as responsible individuals to do our best to use solar power wherever we could.
One area which we could do that would be to heat up our swimming pools using solar pool heaters the most cost effective, clean and green energy source available to us. We just need to choose the best solar pool heater which would give us years of use and with no issues at all. Solar pool heaters do not employ electricity, coal or gas like any other heat generating contraptions hence your heating bills would be zero. Solar pool heaters transfer the Sun’s heat energy to heat up the water in the pool. To help you in the quest to choose the best solar pool heater read through and you would be well compensated with an avenue to save money whilst deviating from the use of electricity, coal or gas.
How Do Solar Pool Heaters Work?
This is a question best answered with a very few words, “by transferring the Sun’s solar energy to the water in the pool”. It is indeed as simple as that. To do that it is necessary to harness the Sun’s solar energy using an easy to install contraption with an extension into the pool’s already existing water filtration system. This contraption is called solar collectors which pass water through them whilst heating the water. Solar collectors which are similar to the photo-voltaic (PV) cells in a solar power unit are placed on the roof directed towards the Sun. They could be placed anywhere else but subject to optimum exposure to the Sun for a maximum time limit. These solar collectors absorb the Sun’s thermal energy and transfer it to the water.
The water in the swimming pool is pumped into the filter where it undergoes the normal filtration process and then it is pushed through the collectors to gain the required heat. The solar collectors could absorb and retain much thermal energy from the Sun. When it does the solar collectors could get very hot and transfer that heat to the pool water flowing through it. If the water in the collectors is too hot and is above the setting of the desired temperature normal water is mixed in the right proportion to ensure the water is as hot as it should be. The circulation in the water filtration process will gradually increase the temperature of the water in the pool.
The time taken to bring the water in your swimming pool to the desired temperature could take some time depending on the solar collectors that you have and the quantum of water in the pool. Hence it is imperative that you match the size of your pool with the number of solar collectors that you would have. Whether you have a couple of solar collectors or many, the process would remain the same with only the initial cost being the difference. To ensure you have an efficient solar pool heater your plumbing too should be as per the accepted standards.
Solar Heaters In Above Ground and In-Ground Pools
There is a distinct difference when it comes to solar pool heaters used in above ground pool and those used in in-ground pools. In an above ground pool the water that flows into the pool pump does so through the use of gravity whilst in an in-ground pool the water has to be sucked into the pool pump. The water in the former will be pumped through the filtration system and through the solar pool heaters and then back to the above ground pool. The water in the latter pool needs to be sucked and then pumped through the solar pool heaters to be sent back to the pool. Hence it is imperative that the pool pump in an in-ground pool is adequately sized to take the double load of the two chores if it is to be operated at optimum efficiency.
You could install a solar controller which would adjust according to the temperature required in the pool water. This is because the solar collectors could get very hot if exposed to the Sun over a longer period of time. As it is this temperature of water that is transferred to the water in the pool a solar controller would automatically adjust the temperature of the water in the pool. This would ensure that the water in the pool is just comfortable for a warm and rejuvenating dip. Solar pool heaters would save you a substantial amount of hard earned money compared to either electricity, gas or coal pool heaters
Things to Consider When Buying Solar Pool Heaters
Like anything else it is imperative that you give careful consideration before you buy a solar pool heater. The major advantage in installing a solar pool heater is that if you find the solar collectors are inadequate there is no concern for alarm. These solar collectors are available in specific dimensions and if you find they are insufficient to heat up your pool, you could easily add on more solar collectors without much of an issue. There could be an initial investment that is high but on the operational and maintenance aspects they are a bare minimum. In fact solar collectors does not need any maintenance other than keeping them well exposed to direct sunlight and ensuring any trees or branches are effectively removed. The Sun’s thermal energy should be directly exposed to the solar collectors. It is only then would the solar pool heaters operate at optimum efficiency.
To ensure you derive the optimum certain aspects would need to be considered and we list them below which could help you in your quest to choose the best solar pool heater.
Size of Your Pool
The size of your swimming pool should perfectly match and marry with your solar pool heater. It is only then would you be able to enjoy warm water in your pool. If you are not very sure about the quantum of the Sun’s thermal energy that could be harnessed, the option is to install a few solar collectors and monitor the heating progress. If you find they are inadequate the option remains to add on solar collectors. This is possible as solar collectors are available in standard sizes and fit into each other easily and conveniently. One factor which is cause for concern is the quantum of direct sunlight that could be harnessed around your pool. If your home is covered with much foliage then installing a solar pool heater could be challenge.
Cost of the Heater
As a general rule a solar pool heater in an ideal situation for residential purposes should be costing anything between US $ 3,000 and 4,000. The area you would be living and the quantum of thermal solar energy that could be harnessed would all come into the equation. The cost would depend on all these factors with the other auxiliary aspects like plumbing costing extra and as per the requirements at the particular site.
If you have some basic technical knowledge it would save you some money as the installation of the solar pool heater is a simple DIY operation. On the contrary if you are not versatile with technical knowhow it would be prudent to commission a professional to execute the solar pool heater installation. The complete solar pool heater system would need to be blended into the existing pool filtration system to ensure they operate at optimum efficiency.
The temperature of the water could be maintained at any comfortable limit that is desired. But this would depend directly to the quantum of the Sun’s thermal energy that would be available at that particular location. Some areas may be exposed to a higher quantum of sunlight during the day whilst others could have a lesser amount. The solar collectors need the optimum sunlight to absorb the maximum heat and transfer it to the water flowing through the unit. The temperature of the water in the pool could be adjusted by prudently installing the plumbing system. Automating the solar pool heater system is possible and a plumbing professional could help you.
Solar pool heaters could last for anything between 10 to 20 years if no external damage is caused to the solar collectors. The main component in the solar pool heater is the solar collectors. This prompts reputed solar collector manufacturers to extend their warranties extending from a five year or ten years. There are no moving parts hence the possibility of wear and tear is absent. This provides the impetus for manufacturers to back their claim in words by their actions or deeds. This is what manufacturers are doing by extending attractive warranties to solar pool heaters.
The function of the Pool
The swimming pool could be used only when the ambient temperature around your pool in particular and the surrounding area in general is warm and within acceptable levels. When seasonally the ambient temperature drops the pool could be freezing cold and would be best covered up till there is an improvement in the weather conditions. This has drastically changed now with the use of pool heaters operated by electricity, gas, coal, or solar. A pool that would be used throughout the year even when the ambient temperature drops would invariably need some type of heating system to keep the water warm and comfortable.
It is hence the function of your pool which would define how long and often you would need to keep the swimming pool warm and comfortable. If this time extends over the whole year it would cost you a substantial amount annually to keep the pool warm if you are to use electricity, gas or coal. But if you could invest on a solar pool heater though the initial investment could be above average you would pay nothing after that. Hence taking into careful consideration the total functioning of your pool there is not an iota of doubt that it is the solar pool heater which is the future heating aspect for our pools.
Benefits of Solar Pool Heaters
The benefits that come into the limelight when you decide on a solar pool heater is the low cost of maintenance, no energy bills to pay and is free to every cent when in operation. No jurisdiction anywhere around the world has so far imposed any taxes on the use of solar energy or the Sun’s thermal rays that is bestowed to the world. Hence unless encouragement to go solar is offered with incentives, taxing for using solar energy would be futile.
The initial cost may be high but the benefits accruing on the long term is immense and quite substantial. Maintenance is limited to ensure that the solar collectors are optimally exposed to the Sun. If any trees or branches are obstructing it then it is necessary that they are removed. If grime and dirt deposit on the solar collectors they need to be cleaned if not the heat that is available to it will not be sufficiently absorbed. Once you install a solar pool heater it would last you anything between 10 to 20 years giving you trouble free and also at no cost at all. If any of the solar collectors are damaged they could be easily replaced.