Add T Valve To Pump To Keep Water Flowing Solar Power Pool Heaters – How They Work

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Solar Power Pool Heaters – How They Work

Solar power is a rapidly evolving technology, and you can use its latest advancements to heat your pool. Solar pool heating is cheap, reliable and economical in any setting. If you’re interested in how energy gets from the sun’s heat to the warmth of your pool, here’s a detailed look at the process.

Pool Solar Heating – What it is and how it works

Solar heating recirculates your pool water through a system of roof mats or panels. Each panel usually has small thin tubes that heat the water as it passes through. Despite claims, performance is generally less a factor of brand than a factor of system set-up. System performance depends on the amount of tubing on the roof, how well it faces the sun (orientation), and general weather conditions (including hours of sunshine and wind).

Most systems work by “cutting in” to the plumbing near the filtration system and recirculating pond water to a rooftop solar collector. Water is heated from the solar collector, then directed through the roof to the plumbing near the filter. The piping used from your filter to the ceiling and above is usually PVC plumbing pipes and fittings (ie the same type your filtration system uses). Instead the plumbing will also need some “gate valves” (or faucets) to control the diversion of water flow from the common path to the solar collector.

How much solar collector space do I need on the roof?

For effective solar heating, the general rule is that you need a solar collector that is between 75% and 100% of the surface of the water. For example, if the pool is 8 m by 4 m, the surface area is 8 x 4 = 32 square meters. A “75% system” would require a 24 square meter roof collector. A more powerful and effective “100%” system would require a 32 square meter roof collector.

For best performance, your roof and solar heating panels should face north. The north facing roof gets sunlight all day long. Don’t worry too much if you want to use an east or west facing roof as it can still work well. However, you can add an extra panel or two to compensate for the slight performance loss.

Options to consider:

Booster Pump – Pumping water to and from a rooftop solar collector can do a lot of work. The amount of work depends on the distance between the filtration system and the solar collector. If the collector is some distance from the roof in question, you may need an additional pump (eg 0.5 to 0.75hp). This pump runs simultaneously with the main pool pump, reducing stress on your filtration system.

Automatic Controller – Automatic controllers determine when and when not to operate the solar pool heater system. A basic function of a thermostat is to stop the system when your desired temperature is reached. A more important task is deciding when to run the system.

For example:

Let’s say your pool water temperature is 21 degrees, your target temperature is 23 degrees. Even if you are inclined to continue running the system, it may be advisable to stop continuing the system.

A classic example is a sunny morning followed by a cloudy afternoon. While it makes sense to run the system in the morning, running it in the afternoon can cool the water as it passes through the collector (robbing the pool water of valuable heat).

Finally – cover your pool

Remember- while your solar heating system is sending heat to the pool, the pool is also losing heat. Most of the heat loss occurs as simple evaporation from the pond surface. This can have a dramatic cooling effect on lake water. In order for your pool to rise in temperature, you must add heat faster than the pool is losing it.

One way to improve the heating capacity of your system is to have a larger collector. A smarter and more cost-effective way to achieve the same goal is to use a pool cover to reduce heat loss.

Example:

A covered pool with 75% collector area can outperform a 100% sized collector where the pool is exposed. Basically, adding a pool cover is like “turbo charging” the performance of your solar heater.

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