What You Need To Know About Buying A Solar Pool Heater

You can greatly reduce the cost of heating your swimming pool by having a solar pool heater installed. There are several types to choose from, and they operate well in most climates. All of the current makes and models are very low cost when it comes to annual operating expenses. Here is what you need to know when you are choosing one.

How Solar Pool Heaters Work

Most heating systems are comprised of four main parts. This includes:

* Solar collector. This is the device which heats the water, using the energy created by the sun.

* Pump. This circulates the water through the solar collector to heat it, before pumping it back into the pool.

* Filter. The filter removes any dirt and debris from the water, before it enters the solar collector.

* Flow Control Valve. This controls the flow of water into the solar collector. Both automatic and manual devices are available.

Although predominantly used to warm the swimming pool, you may want to look for a solar collector which can also be used to cool down the water if you live in a very hot region. The climate of the area you live in will also influence what materials your pool system should be made from. Most people can opt for unglazed solar collector, which is substantially cheaper. However, if you live in a very cold climate and may want to use the pool when temperatures dip below freezing, you will need to buy a system with a glazed glass covering. This type of system is much more efficient at harnessing solar power, but the materials are more expensive, pushing up the price of the product, and the overall operating costs are more. You need to ensure that a glazed collector system is within budget before committing to this purchase – many people prefer to buy an unglazed system and simply shut it down during the colder months.

How To Choose A Solar Pool Heater

It can cost up to $4,500 to buy a solar heater for your pool, (the price normally includes installation). However, it will last a lot longer than a regular pool heater and you need to factor in the payback. This can be as long as 7 years, but also as little as 2 years. It all depends on your average fuel consumption costs.

To ensure that you are making the right decision, you should consider the following factors.

What Is The Solar Resource Of The Site?

Simply put, the solar resource of the site means “how much sun does the site get”? The best candidate for this type of heater is an area which is open and sunny, without too much shade. Generally, south facing will be better as it gets more sun. If the installation site fits this criteria, you can opt for almost any heater. However, if your site is very shaded or you live in a slightly cooler climate then you will need a more efficient – and probably much more expensive – heater. Before you buy your system, most companies will carry out a free analysis of the site to confirm its suitability for the type of heater.

What Size To Get?

Once you have determined which type of heater is suited to your climate, the next decision is what size to buy. This will depend on:

* How big the pool is.

* How often you use the pool.

* How hot you want the water to be.

* How efficient the pool heater is.

Sometimes it is cheaper to opt for a more efficient pool heater, than to buy a heater which is priced lower but requires a bigger system to meet your needs. The calculations for weighing up the pros and cons can be quite complex, so it is often best to seek advice from your supplier. They will have computer programs available, which can run simulations to show which system is the best value for you. However, as a guide, your solar collector should be equal to at least half of the swimming pool’s surface area. In a cold climate, or a shady spot, then this ratio will need to be increased. If you want the pool to be in use all year round, you will probably want a solar collector which is at least equal to the pool’s surface area. Using a pool cover at night will reduce the size of solar collector you need, and save you money.

Where To Put The Solar Collector

The collector can be mounted almost anywhere which is in close proximity to the pool and which allows the collector to be tilted towards the sun. Your contractor will give you advice before making the installation, as the orientation and degree of tilt will both have a significant influence on how well the system functions.

Installation And Maintenance Considerations

There is a lot to consider before installing a pool solar heater. As well as the above mentioned factors, such as the site’s solar resource and the climate, you also need to think about local building regulations, and health and safety requirements. For this reason, it is always best to use a contractor to install your heating system. When choosing a company, take into account things such as how many years of experience they have in the industry and what types of systems they have knowledge of. You will also need to ensure that they have a valid license and the necessary certifications for carrying out the work.

If the contractor you hire does a good job, then your pool heating system should remain fully operational for between 10 and 20 years. This longevity can be maximized by taking proper care of the pool, and adhering to the advice given to you by both the contractor and in your owner’s manual. If you live in a very dry climate, you will also need to factor regular cleaning into your maintenance routine, as glazed collectors need to be rinsed.

A solar heater can be a very good investment for your swimming pool. If you do your research carefully, you will find a system which is ideal for your needs.

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