Swimming Pool Solar Heating

One of the issues and problems swimming pool owners have is the heating of their swimming pool throughout the year. There are many ways to heat and indoor or an outdoor swimming pool. One of the energy and environment friendly ways is the use of solar energy and solar water heaters to heat the water of swimming pool and bring it to a comfortable temperature.

Solar Water Heating

Solar water heating is been used extensively in many regions of the world and it is another, an alternative and green, way to heat the water. Water heated by the thermal energy of the sun is used in many areas, home and commercial, and one such area is the heating of the water in a swimming pool.

The idea is simple. Solar collectors collect the solar thermal energy from the sun and through different techniques, which have evolved over time, water is heated either directly or indirectly and it is stored in a hot water storage tank to be used if and when needed. In the case of swimming pools there is no hot water storage tank since hot water finds its way directly in the pool, where it is needed, which acts as the storage tank.

Swimming Pool Solar Heating

Heating your swimming pool with the power from the sun is in many areas one of the most effective solutions when compared to other traditional fossil methods like gas or heat pump heaters. Solar thermal energy is free and green and it is one of the renewable green energy sources and you can read about the solar energy pros and cons in the relevant articles. Using solar water heating for your pool you can reduce the operating expenses, Opex, of the pool whether it is a home pool or a community pool or even a sports center pool.

Solar Pool Heating System

A solar pool heating system consists of 3 basic components: the solar collector or panel as it is otherwise known, the pump and filter. A fourth component which usually used is a flow control valve which controls the flow of water to and from the panel automatically or manually.

The process is simple. The pump takes the cold water out of the pool and pushes it through the filter. All debris is filtered out and the clean cold water is pushed to the panels which are usually located on the roof of the house or the patio. The water is heated when passing from the panels, solar heat collectors. When the water is hot enough the valve opens and the water flows into the pool raising the water temperature in the pool. Depending on the location of the pool the pool temperature can be brought to the desired temperature level with a few hours of sunlight. At this point it should be noted that swimming pool water temperature is comfortable at lower temperatures compared to other uses of hot water such washing and bathing thus less time is needed to bring it to the right comfortable level.

It should be noted that the same system can be used to cool down the water in hot locations where the pool water temperature rises during the day from the sun directly. This is achieved by circulating the pool water through the panels at night and returning the colder water into the pool.

The solar collectors are made of different material and the use of the appropriate panel depends on the location of the site, the climate of the location. We have unglazed panels used for less cold climates and glazed panels used at colder climates. It should be noted that the price of the panel is different and the glazed panels are more expensive than the unglazed ones.

Selecting a swimming pool solar heating system

A swimming pool solar heating system cost anywhere between 2,500-4,500 USD to buy and this includes installation. The payback from the operation, resulting from savings on fossil fuel, is anywhere between 2 to 7 years depending on various parameters specific to the country and location of the pool.

A pool solar heating system is an investment as it is installed to last for many years, and it lasts more than the conventional fossil fuel heaters. Once we decide to consider it as an investment we should ensure that we set certain selection criteria so that we will be able to select the optimal system for our swimming pool. The selection criteria and guidelines normally used for a pool solar heating system, before it is bought and installed, are:

  • How much solar resource there is at the site – how much sunlight we have
  • Determine the right size of the system, following design calculations
  • Determine the orientation and tilt of the solar collector, panel.
  • Determine the efficiency of the system based on the manufacturer specs
  • Compare costs, initial and running costs, on a similar basis
  • Ensure compliance to local rules and regulations

One of the mandatory selection criteria should be that the supplier and installer is a fully and adequately trained company.

The financial evaluation should be done over a period of at least 7 years which is the maximum payback period of pool solar heating system. The method usually used for the financial analysis is the Net Present Value, NPV, evaluation.

Solar swimming pool water heating is just another area where energy from the Sun, Solar Energy, can be used not only to reduce our costs and expenses but to save us energy, since Solar Energy is renewable green energy resource, and reduce the impact on our environment by reducing the CO2 emissions in the environment.