A good primer on solar heating systems for inground swimming pools
08 Feb A good primer on solar heating systems for inground swimming pools
Solar Hot Water Lessons Learned: 1977 til Today
Solar pool collectors are made from polypropylene. To create a 4′ x 12′ pool collector, 26.6 pounds of natural gas and petroleum are used. If this gas and oil was burned, it would create 410,800 BTU’s. A 4′ x 12′ pool collector will produce 410,000 BTU’s in less than TEN DAYS. The BTU conversion to KWH’s in one year from ten 4′ x 12′ collectors is 43,262 KWH. At $.10 per KWH, this results in a savings of $4,326! Natural gas at $1.00/therm or LP gas at $1.40/gallon would cost $2,163 to generate 410,000 BTU/day/year. A solar pool heating system with
ten 4′ x 12′ collectors installed with an automatic comfort control, would cost from $4,900 to $5,800. Clearly, solar pool heating is the most cost effective use of solar energy on Earth. Pool collectors will typically last from 12 to 20 years – more than two to three times the life of a gas heater, electric heater, or swimming pool heat pump.
A heated pool doubles or triples the swimming season and becomes a pool that is used. The primary reason why many people own a pool is for having fun with family and friends, in a relaxed atmosphere. According to Good Housekeeping magazine a solar pool system adds 100% of it’s cost to the value of the home. In 2004 almost 14 million sq. ft. of solar pool collectors were installed on about 40,000 pools, doubling the 6.7 million sq. ft. produced in 1998. Solar pool heating systems typically use low cost unglazed copolymer collectors. These have a much higher efficiency when they only need to heat large volumes of water a few degrees. The basic components; solar pool collectors, automatic control, diverter valve, and associated sch. 40 PVC pipes are simply added to the existing pool pump, timer and filter. A conventional back-up heater can also be added to backup a solar system. An installed system may vary in price from $2,900 for a 200 sq. ft. pool with 200 sq. ft. of collector area, to $7,500 to $8,000 for an 800 sq. ft. pool with 800 sq. ft. of collector area.
Solar pool heating systems typically take three to five average days to reach their maximum pool temperature and to maintain that temperature. A solar pool heating system can heat your pool 15 degrees F warmer than it would normally be without the system. By also adding a pool blanket or cover, the pool can be heated 18 degrees to 25 degrees F.
The system will maintain that temperature increase based on average local weather conditions. As a crude rule of thumb for comfort, expect solar pool heating systems to allow you to enjoy swimming in the pool as long as you swim when the weather conditions don’t require wearing a coat or sweater. During the daytime, when
outside weather conditions require wearing a sweater or coat, then you are going to need a removable pool blanket and a backup heater. You will be wasting your money trying to create a temperature boost in cold weather with a back-up gas heater or heat-pump, without using a pool cover. Vegetation, fences, screens etc.
that block and buffer the wind can make a major difference in comfort and pool temperature. Also, try to position your pool so that it is in full midday sun from early fall to late spring. If you use a screen over the pool room, try to get the widest weave possible. Screened pool rooms typically cut pool temperatures by 5 degrees F to 10 degrees F and even more if the screen accumulates leaves and pollen.