Who does not like to own a swimming pool beside his/her house where people can swim and relax?
But having a swimming pool is not always effective in term of swimming season. It is not very comfortable to dive into cold water. And when it is cold weather, it is beyond question.
So when you are tired of waiting for that warm, comfy water, what do you do?
Solar pool heaters come as a solution for these kinds of problem.
Solar pool heaters are an amazing way to generate enough heat to warm swimming pool water up. And if you are passionate about swimming and also if you are an environmentalist, solar pool heater will definitely be on your shopping cart list.
Here we have sorted out some of the best solar pool heaters in the market right now and made a comparison among them.
Before that, you need to have first-hand knowledge of what is solar pool heater, what are the types, why you should have one in your swimming pool and so on. So let’s get started!
What is a solar pool heater?
Solar pool heaters are devices that use the sun rays to generate heat which is then used to warm up the pool water.
The basic difference between a solar panel and a solar heater is what they produce. Whereas solar panels produce electricity, solar water heaters produce heat.
Types of Solar pool heater
There are many types of solar pool heaters on the market. But the kind you will need will heavily depend on the climate of your location and how you want to use it. Generally, they can be categorized into two types – glazed and non-glazed.
- Non–glazed: They are made of inexpensive parts and have a simple design. They do not have glass coverings like most other glazed collectors have. They are normally made of heavy-duty rubber embedded with a UV light inhibitor to make the collectors long lasting. They can also be used for indoor swimming pools.
- Glazed: Generally, glazed collectors are built with copper tubing on an aluminum plate and have iron-tampered glass covering, making them relatively more expensive than no-glazed collectors. During cold weather, these collectors can capture heat from the sun more efficiently than the non-glazed collectors.
Top Four Best Solar Pool Heaters in 2018
There are several solar pool heaters out on the market. Here we have selected the best solar heaters for the pool. The top four ones are as follow :
#1 Smartpool S601P SunHeater Solar Heating System for In–Ground Pool
Smartpool has come with this amazing solar heating system for the in-ground pool – S601P SunHeater. Made in the USA, they use polypropylene to produce these heaters.
Know more in brief below
- Polypropylene heat collector: they are very light and easy to install. Polypropylene is such material which is resistant to corrosion. So, once you install them, you will not have to worry for a long time.
- 80 square feet of solar panels: That is a lot of areas. These amazing panels will be able to produce enough heat for your in-ground pool.
- Recommended System Kit: A system kit called “SK21” needs to be purchased with S601P SunHeater separately. It has important mounting and plumbing hardware. One kit is enough to install 4 boxes of S601P SunHeater.
This is one of the best in-ground solar pool heaters. If you have an in-ground pool, I would recommend you buy it.
#2 GAME 4512 SolarPro XD1 Solar Pool Heater with Adapter for Intex and Bestway above Ground Pools
SolarPro XD1 is a great product for saving energy and extending your swimming season. It is also very easy to install. This solar heater can warm pool up to 8000 gallons. Two heaters can be connected with a by-pass kit if you have a very large pool.
Know more in brief below
- No additional adaptors necessary: They are designed for any size above ground pool. Therefore, you do not need additional adaptors.
- A consistent increase of temperature: They are really efficient in that manner. The increase in temperature depends on the size of the pool.
- Easy to install: They do not require complicated skills to be installed. Once it is attached to the filter system, there is nothing else to do!
- Space saving: Compared to the solar panels, SolarPro XD1 is relatively smaller and it saves a lot of space. Also, it looks cool.
If you are an environmentalist and support the green energy movement, this is probably the right product for you.
#3 SunQuest 2 – 2` x 20` Solar Pool Panel System
Designed for both in-ground and above ground pools, SunQuest solar pool heater comes with premium quality, second-to-none performance and great reliability. a great thing about this product is that it can be installed in only 30 minutes.
Know more in brief below
- MAX-FLOW design: This is a unique feature of this product. It helps lessen back pressure on your pump.
- Compatible: SunQuestsolar pool heaters have great compatibility with the existing pumps. Therefore, you will not have to worry about changing your existing pump while buying this.
- Increases water temperature up to 10 degrees: That is an amazing fact. This system can be used in cold climate.
- Do-it-yourself installation: The installation is really easy and requires no professional help.
This solar panel is probably the best solar pool heater in my opinion.
#4 SmartPool SunHeater (S220P) – Solar Heating System
Like S601P SunHeater, SmartPoolSunHeater has also come out bold.
Know more in brief below
- Polypropylene heat collector: like SmartPool’s other product, SmartPoolSunHeater is also made of polypropylene. I am sure you already know what this material can do.
- Two threaded – elbow adapters: S220P SunHeater comes with two-threaded elbow adapters, which is amazing.
- End caps, stainless steel hose clamps, Teflon tape, hoses for the second collector: if you are looking for having a second collector, they will provide you with these additional products.
- Trilingual installation/operation manual: It is a really interesting feature that S601P SunHeater did not have. You will not have to get confused again.
For any above ground pool, this product is probably the best option. So you can easily consider this product as the best solar pool heater above ground.
How does a solar pool heater work?
The process of heating swimming pool water using solar pool heater is actually really easy and cost-effective. But before you can understand how it works, you have to know the parts included in a solar pool heating system. Generally, a solar pool heating system includes the followings:
- Solar collector: A device that heats the water. The pool water is disseminated through this where the water is heated by the sun.
- Filter: It removes the scraps and waste before pumping the water through the collector.
- Pump: It passes the water through the filter and collector and then back to the pool.
- Flow control valve: A manual or automatic device which redirects the pool water through the solar collector
Firstly, the water is pumped through the filter. The filter cleans the water and then the clean water goes to the solar collector where it gets heated. Then warm water is pumped again back into the swimming pool.
Some systems have sensors with the automatic or manual valve. It allows the water to be diverted through the collector when the temperature of the collector is higher than the pool temperature.
Advantages of using a solar pool heater
- You can extend your swimming season even for the whole year after installing a solar pool heater. But it will also depend on your geographic location.
- They normally do not have operating cost. Once you install them, you can stay tension-free without ever thinking about the maintenance.
- The solar pool heater companies normally give a 10-year warranty on their products. From this, you can understand how long-lasting these heaters are.
- Since the heat is produced using only the sun rays, they are 100% eco-friendly. It is actually a great reason for purchasing these heaters even more.
- Using solar pool heater is an excellent mean of getting and saving energy. The heat produced from sun rays will save your conventional energy costs.
- Solar pool heaters are not only used for heating the water. They can also be used for cooling the swimming pool.
- The maintenance required by this type of heater is also not much. While gas heaters need to be checked from time to time, solar pool heaters do not. They can go for more than a year without servicing.
Installing and maintenance of a solar pool heater
While installing solar pool heating system, you have to consider a lot of things. Climate, solar resources, local building code and safety issues are the major concerns. A proper installation depends heavily on these factors.
For this reason, it is recommended that you have a professional to install your system. A proper installation will also able your system to serve you up to 20 years.
You should talk to your contractor and read the company’s manual before installing the system. A collector normally needs little maintenance if the pool’s filtering system and chemical balance are checked on a regular basis.
When you are looking for a potential contractor for installation and maintenance, you should seek answers to the following questions:
Important Factors that Can Increase the Efficiency of a Solar Pool Heater
The efficiency of a solar pool heater can be measured using the collector’s thermal performance rating.
The thermal performance rating can be calculated by Btu (British thermal unit) per square foot per pay, or by mega-joules per square meter per day.
The higher the number, the greater the efficiency of the solar heater.
But again, the efficiency depends largely on numerous factors. For example:
Another thing that needs to be considered is the space a solar panel system takes up. If the panels are installed on the rooftop, they will not waste much land.
So, if you live on a hilltop or in a tropical country, tube collectors are the right option for you.
Accessories for best solar pool heaters
# Solar cover reels: A swimming pool cover reel is used to facilitate the placing and removal of the cover. These reels can be both freestanding and mounted, depending on your choice. They are also built with different materials like aluminum, stainless steel, or plastic.
It is recommended that you buy the best reel according to your specific need. Some reels are particularly manufactured for in-ground pools while others are manufactured for above-ground pools. Again, some cover reels are manufactured for both in-ground and above-ground pools.
The most important thing to consider before buying a cover reel is the size of the pool. The reel needs to be compatible with the area of the cover.
The next thing to decide is whether you should buy a freestanding reel or mounted. Freestanding reels are easy to carry around. But some reels need to be mounted.
The mounted ones are sturdy. But, to use them, you will have to drill holes in your pool.
# Solar blankets: Solar blankets are a great way to save money and enhance your swimming season. Solar blankets absorb and trap the heat from the sun and can increase pool’s temperature up to 15 degrees, saving heating cost by 60%.
# Circulator: Pumps used in a solar heating system are called solar hot water circulator. They transmit fluid through the solar collectors where the hot water can be stored. A circulation pump consists of a motor, impeller and impeller housing. Hot water circulator is a must for every solar heating system.
# Automatic Solar controller: An automatic control valve consists of a control box and two temperature sensors. The control box has a differential temperature controller that takes a decision based on input from the two sensors. One sensor is placed on the roof to see whether the collector gets the sun or not. Another sensor checks the temperature of the pool water.
The control box monitors these two sensors and controls the valve. Automatic controllers are used for circulation of water from the collector to the pool automatically. If the pool water is cooler than what you have selected, then a temperature sensor near the control box will check whether it can allow water to be transmitted through the collector to heat it up. If the sky is clear and there are enough sun rays, the temperature sensor will turn the valve and let the water flow through the collector.
A solar heating panel system for above and in-ground pools:
There are several solar heating panel systems. Almost all of them are really efficient for both above and in-ground swimming pools. Some types are shown below:
# Solid panels with straps: Many companies produce monolithic solar panels – also known as solid solar panels. These panels are most efficient when the sun is directly overhead. They are the cheapest option because of their low production cost. However, they have some issues too.
Since they are made of solid sheets, they create uplift when there is heavy wind. This is why they need to be carefully stripped and installed.
Another drawback is that these panels are connected to each other with metal clamps. These metal clamps leave a stain on the roof over time. They also need to be tightened often. If you do not want to take the burden of maintenance, these panels are not right for you.
# Individual tube panels: These panels are relatively more expensive than solid panels. But they do not have most of the drawbacks like solid panels have. They can handle heavy wind.
A major plus point of these panels is that they require a little or no maintenance at all. These kinds of panels have UV-protected polypropylene clamps with internal o-ring. If you can install them properly, you will be free from worries for a lifetime.
# Solar Dome: solar domes can increase your pool water temperature by taking heat from the sun. It is a great and cost-effective way of heating your pool. People often like solar domes more because they are excellent heaters for above ground pools.
# Solar rings: if you start using solar rings, you will find that they are an alternative to heating the pool and also cheaper. Solar pool rings are light-weight and can float on the pool like covers. Actually, they work like solar covers but the difference is that they can be disassembled for other usage and storage.
From the above article, you can see that, while shopping, there are plenty of options available in the market. Each of the products discussed above is excellent and helpful in their own way. So, at the end of the day, it all comes to your decision.
So, before buying, consider your lifestyle, needs and pros and cons of the products before selecting the right one for you.