Build a Solar Pool Heater

The Benefits of Solar Pool Heating

The time and money it takes to build a solar pool heater on your own is a fraction of what it would cost to purchase one! The installation fee alone should be a motivator for building it on your own. Here is what you need to know to about DIY solar pool heating.

Pool heaters driven by solar energy are inexpensive to operate and yet are just as effective as the ones powered by electricity.

Benefits of Pool Solar Heaters

  • Reduce your cost for heating the pool water

  • Reduce the impact on the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions

  • Enjoy your pool for several more months of the year!

  • The investment in the materials to do it yourself is SO much lower than having someone else do it for you

  • Minimal maintenance is needed for your pool solar heater once it is made

  • No need to remember to turn it off and on, as a solar pool heater does this automatically

What do you need in order to build a solar pool heater? The good news is that you won't need a bunch of fancy and expensive tools. The materials are very basic as well and can be found at your local hardware or home improvement store.

How to Build a DIY Solar Heater

You'll need the following materials:

  • 12 VDC pump that can be submersed (i.e. that is made to function underwater)

  • 1,000 feet of black 1/4 -inch plastic tubing used for landscaping

  • A solar photovoltaic panel

  • Connections for tubing - T joiners and junctions

  • Mounting for the tubing is optional, but often a good idea!

Cut the black landscape tubing into 100-foot lengths. Arrange the tubes in an oval pattern. Connect the tubes together with the junctions and joiners.

You can lay the tubing on the ground adjacent to the pool or you can make it look a little cleaner and more contained by hanging the tubing on a piece of plywood.

If you opt for mounting the tubing on the plywood, paint the wood black first so it will draw the sun's rays and appear more uniform.

Position your solar photovoltaic panel beside the pool on the ground. Sometimes supporting the panel so it is slanted toward the sun makes it more effective.

Connect the tubing and the solar panel to the 12 VDC pump. Submerge the pump in the water. Now you know how to build a solar pool heater right at home!

Tips to Remember in Building a Solar Pool Heater

You do have the option of placing your solar photovoltaic panel on the roof to power your solar pool heater.

If you do this, you will need to purchase a stronger pump to handle the strain of getting the power down to the tubing.

You may want to consult your local zoning board to confirm that solar panels are permitted within your residential area. Otherwise, you may build a solar pool heater and then not be allowed to use it!

Potential Drawbacks of DIY Solar Pool Heaters

It's possible that a solar heater for your pool is not going to be especially pretty and may cause contention with the neighbors.

Just like any other solar application, solar pool heaters are dependent on the sun shining in order to operate.

Solar pool heaters require a backup energy source if you want them to work properly and efficiently. There are no battery backups for this type of solar gadget, so one must be provided.

Pool solar heaters require one square meter of solar PV panel for every square meter of pool surface area. If your pool is significant in size, the cost of building your own pool heater may increase somewhat.

Your solar heater will be exposed to the weather elements 24/7, so you may need to build additional pool heaters over the life span of your pool.

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