A solar pool heating system usually costs between $2,500 and $4,000 to buy and install. This provides a payback of between 1 and 7 years, depending on your local fuel costs and available solar resource. They also typically last longer than gas and heat pump pool heaters.
If your pool has a total surface area of 400 square feet, 50% offset means you will need a total of 200 square feet of solar panels to heat it. As a reference; a single 4'x12. 5' solar panel has a surface area of 50 square feet, so a system with (4) 4'x12.
To combat the heat loss, it is recommended to over-size a solar pool heater. One or more panels can be joined to create more surface area. Panels can be installed for above ground and in ground pools, positioned in a variety of ways, and controlled manually by turning a valve or automatically, with a solar controller.
On average, solar heated pools will be 8-12 degrees warmer than an unheated pool in the same area. Solar heated pools still loose heat at night and on cloudy days, when no electricity is being produced by the system.
Installing a solar pool heater can take one day or up to three days, depending on a few factors. The larger the system is, the longer it takes to install. Also, some types of roof may require more work. If trenching or concrete work is required, you can expect it to take longer.
You can significantly reduce swimming pool heating costs by installing a solar pool heater. They're cost competitive with both gas and heat pump pool heaters, and they have very low annual operating costs. Actually, solar pool heating is one of the most cost-effective use of solar energy in some climates.
With proper use, solar pool heating systems are relatively low-maintenance. They are also durable – you can depend on them to work efficiently for 10 years or more without the need for repair or replacement work. Solar pool heating systems also offer these benefits: You can use your swimming pool for longer than usual.
For optimum pool heating in winter, solar collectors should be tilted at latitude plus 15°. However, in California they are almost always mounted directly to the sloping roof. Standoff mounting to optimum tilt from a sloped roof usually will increase performance only 2 to 8 percent and is hardly worth the effort.
They can heat water up to 200 degrees. And because tubes can capture heat when the sun is not directly overhead and even on cloudy days, you don't need a big array to get a lot of hot water. The downside is that they cost twice as much as flat plates.
Picking the Perfect Temp
A temperature of 80 degrees is generally warm enough that children and senior citizens enjoy it but cool enough to make for an invigorating dip. Of course, you should keep in mind that every degree you raise the temperature your costs will proportionately increase.
In total you can add a pool heater to an existing pool. A swimming pool heat pump is you most efficient option. Heat pumps can add a month or more to your pool season especially combine with using a solar blanket. It is easy to keep your pool in the 80 degree range.
Most residential pools operate with one or two horsepower solar heater pumps with variable speed options. On average, these pumps will draw about 800 watts per horsepower of energy per hour. Depending upon the panel size, 4 - 6 solar panels are needed to operate a solar-powered pool pump.
As most of a pools heat is lost from the surface of the pool, this is what is used to determine the size of the solar pool heating system. Basically, the required amount of solar collector should equal 60% to 100% of the surface area of the pool – depending on your location and requirements.
If you want an energy-efficient way to heat your pool, consider using a heat pump pool heater in mild climates. Solar water heaters are cost competitive with other types of water heaters and have low annual operating costs.
The 10 rings covered about 80% - 90% of the pool and did exactly as they said. They reduced the evaporation substantially and warmed up the pool nicely. Because the temperature here is not super hot they did not make the pool too warm but just comfortable, and certainly better than no cover.
The Bottom Line with Solar Heating
It turns out solar heating is very effective if the conditions for it are right. That means when the suns out they work great and even on cloudy days they will still put some heat in a swimming pool. They will even work well on cooler days if the sun is shining.
For pools of up to 20,000 gallons, small heat pumps like the Hayward 95K BTU output are suitable. Pools up to 30,000 gallons should look at the AquaCal 120K BTU or higher, and 40,000 gallon inground pools should look at models like the Pentair 140K BTU.
While pools should be never above 95 degrees, anywhere in the 90-92 degree range creates a comfortable, yet therapeutically warm environment for older swimmers or infants and toddlers learning how to swim.
A pool can increase not only your social worth but also the value of your home. However, the increase is probably not as much as you think. According to HouseLogic, there's no real guarantee that you'll make your money back. In fact, adding a swimming pool may only increase your home's value by 7%.