SOLAR POOL HEATING
You bought your pool for a number of reasons like family fun, exercise, entertaining and possibly even therapeutic reasons. However you've probably found that without heating your pool it's often too cold to enjoy. Heating your pool will allow you to enjoy it all season, perhaps all year round, thereby increasing the return on your sizable investment.
How does solar work?
Solar Heaters utilize the sun's free heat and do not have an operating cost. Your existing pool pump circulates the water through the heater, usually located on the roof, and warms the pool. The pump timer is set to operate during sunlight hours, usually 9am to 5pm.
An Automatic Control and Valve are sometimes used to regulate temperature, usually in northern climates. Commercial pools and some larger residential pools may need a booster pump.
Solar Pool Heaters Performance & Use
Solar Pool Heaters are best for recreational pool use and are recommended for those who are comfortable with pool temperatures ranging from the low to mid 80's. Solar works year round in southern climates such as Florida. There may be periods during inclement weather that the pool is too cool to use; however, several sunny days will bring the pool back to a comfortable temperature. Proper sizing is critical for good performance.
System and Installation Cost
System kit cost range: $1000 - $4000
Installation cost: $250 - $900
Typical 15x30 pool: $2000 Kit $2450 Installed
Energy Rating & Efficiency
Solar panels are rated by FSEC (Florida Solar Energy Center) in BTU's per SqFt. The higher the BTU, the more heat output. The average output is 900 to 1000 BTU's. This equates to a 3 to 7% difference between different brands. To determine the best value, divide the total cost by the total SqFt of panel. The lower the cost per SqFt, the better the value.
Cost of Operation
Solar is an alternative energy source, and has no cost of operation. The pool pump must run for the solar heater to function, and may increase your electric bill by $30 to $75 per year depending on your normal filtering time.
Size Heater Required
Generally you will need a system equal to 50 to 100% of the pool surface. Solar panels are available in 4x8, 4x10, 4x12 and custom sizes. They are generally placed in a row on one or several roofs. A typical 7 4x12 panel system would require a space of 12.5 ft by 29 ft.
Keep in mind that a Thermal Pool Cover is recommended for all heating systems. Heating a pool without a cover is like heating a house without a roof...the heat just goes right out the top. Without a pool cover, the cost of a Solar Heater's effectiveness is dramatically decreased. For convenience a roller may be added to ease placement and removal of the cover. Pool covers range in cost from $60 to $130 for residential pools; rollers start at $185.
Longevity and Maintenance
A quality Solar Heater will typically last 10 to 20 years. They are very low maintenance. Most systems have a 10 year warranty on the panels.
Written by: Solar Direct
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