Solar heating for pools has traditionally been done by pumping water through rooftop tubes heated by the sun.
While this method uses large roof areas, it's nowadays viewed as inefficient when the same space could host solar panels producing electricity for various uses, including pool heating via an electric heat pump.
Currently, the most efficient method is using a solar electricity powered hot water heat pump. Solar rings and squares, as well as solar pool covers, offer alternative ways to heat your pool.
Is solar heating the most efficient way to heat your pool?
Traditionally heating hot water for a pool was undertaken via installing specific tubing or matting on a nearby roof. This is usually facing North or North-West. These tubes then had water pumped through it, and the sun’s heat would heat the water, which would then be returned to the pool and increase its temperature.
However, it has been found that this is not the most efficient use of a large area of roof space. This could be used nowadays for local solar panels and to produce electricity. That renewable electricity can then power a home with many appliances, including pool pumps and even pool heating, via an electric heat pump.
An alternative popular option for pool heating has been via gas hot water heating. However, with the increasing cost of natural gas, this has become a costly method to heat pool water and is declining in popularity in all households other than the ones where one has more money than sense.
Solar Hot Water Heat Pumps
One option, but likely not the top option, is to buy a solar-driven pool pump and still keep the solar hot water matting or tube heating. The savings could be achieved by installing a DC-powered solar pump to move the water. The pump, running on sunlight, will then move the hot water to the roof to be heated within the matting or tubes by the sun. This proposal will save some grid electricity as we now power the pump with solar. It nevertheless does not overcome the need to use valuable roof space to heat the water. So this method is reducing in popularity fast.
Heat pumps and solar is heating a pool efficiently
The most efficient way to heat pool hot water is using a solar electricity-powered heat pump. The heat pump is powered by electricity but can efficiently extract the heat from the air surrounding the heat pump transferring the heat via a condenser to heat the water.
Rather than using electricity from the grid, the electricity can be generated from solar PV panels to power the heat pump with cheap solar PV. Also, heat pumps are very efficient and use less electricity.
And there is more
There are also several other ways that you can heat your pool with solar, including:
- Solar Rings and Squares
- Solar Pool Covers
Solar rings and squares
Solar rings and squares, like solar pool covers, are separate floating devices that harness solar energy. They are constructed of a lightweight polymer with an air-filled chamber that absorbs sunlight and delivers heat to the water. These devices are simple to install and remove and may be moved to get the most sun exposure.
Solar pool covers
Solar pool covers, also known as solar blankets or pool blankets, are an inexpensive and simple way to heat your pool. These coverings are constructed of a robust and UV-resistant material that floats on the water’s surface. They function by absorbing the sun’s heat and reducing evaporation, thereby preserving heat in the pool. Solar coverings can enhance the temperature of the water by a few degrees while also reducing heat loss overnight.
Pool size and environmentThe number and size of solar panels or other solar devices required to heat your pool efficiently will be determined by the size of your pool and the environment in your location. Larger pools or colder climate regions may need a more powerful solar heating system.
Direction and sun exposure
The direction and sun exposure of your pool and surrounding region are critical for maximising solar heating effectiveness. Avoid shade from adjacent trees, buildings, or other impediments to ensure that the solar panels or other heating equipment receive adequate sunshine throughout the day.
Improving the insulation of your pool will assist in retaining the heat generated by solar energy. Consider using a pool cover and insulating pool walls and floors during the build or when not in use to decrease heat loss.
Using solar energy to heat your pool is both environmentally beneficial and cost-effective. When deciding on the best solar pool heating method, consider your pool’s size, climate circumstances, sun exposure, and poor insulation. You may enjoy warm pool water and extend your swimming season by utilising sun power with the correct design and installation