Save Money With a Solar
Pool Heater

And Other Affordable Solar Pool
Heating Options

A solar pool heater utilizes energy from the sun to warm swimming pools in a cost efficient and environmentally friendly way. Pool solar heaters can save you money, and there are a few tips that can help you to further maximize the savings of whatever solar pool heating system you use.

beautiful, relaxing swimming pool to illustrate solar pool heater

Pool Solar Heating - How Much
Does it Cost?

Heating a swimming pool for the swimming season can use as much energy as an entire home for a year! That leads to a pretty expensive energy bill, and in addition to that, most "regular" pool heaters emit greenhouses gasses, harming the environment.

A solar pool heating system can end up saving you a great deal of money. Systems can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending the type of system you use, your pool size, and what kind of features your heater has.

solar pool heating

Nowadays many governments offers incentives to individuals who are installing solar power modules and so this could also lower your expenses if you decide to go with a large scale solar pool heating system.

These incentives include loans, discounts, and tax credits. Solar pool heaters will save hundreds of dollars a year over gas or electrical pool heaters.

For homeowners looking to sell their house, solar pool heaters add more value to the home than they cost to buy and install.

How Solar Pool Heating Works

Solar powered pool heaters are simple in design. They plug into the current filtration system active on the pool. It then has an automatic valve that diverts water into collectors, which use solar energy to heat the water.

The water is then routed back into the pool. Using a thermometer, the valve closes when no more water needs to be heated. Other models are available in which the user manually operates the diverting valve.

Solar models are the best long term choice for pool heaters. These heaters have no energy cost, all power is derived from the sun.

Solar Pool Heating Systems

solar panel pool heater

Solar Pool Heater Systems use solar panels to gather energy that heats the water in the pool, and the larger ones generally run several thousand dollars, although you can find smaller models for several hundred dollars.

There are models for both above ground and in ground pools, and most of the larger models do work well, but require an investment of set up time. You may need to purchase extra parts depending on your pool.

solar panel pool heater

Another aspect of these is that you will need to angle the solar panels properly which may require additional set up or construction. The panels may not function as the photos show!

Smaller units may not heat the water sufficiently depending on where you live.

Additional Solar Pool Heating Options

In addition to solar pool heaters, there are other types of small and large scale solar pool heating options available depending on your needs. These can be used alone, or with solar pool heater.

They each have benefits and drawbacks, and the success of your system will also depend on your climate and how much sunlight you receive.

Depending on where you live, you may not even need a whole solar heater system for your pool. Some people find that using a solar pool cover or solar heating rings are sufficient for their solar pool heating needs.

These are some of the different solar pool heating options, starting with the simplest and least expensive.

Solar Pool Rings

Solar Pool Heater Rings are budget friendly and less expensive than large scale solar pool heating systems, and are a bit easier to use than solar pool covers.

They consist of a series of inflatable rings that connect to one another with magnets. The rings are placed on top of the pool at night and are said to keep the water warmer.

solar pool rings

some people love them because they are less expensive, and easier to manage and store than a whole pool cover or solar blanket. Some parents feel more secure with solar pool heating rings, as they are safer in the event that a child falls into the pool when it is covered.

Other people say these solar pool heating rings aren't durable and don't heat the pool water very much or at all. In fact one brand called Solar Sun Rings received a lot of negative reviews for this reason.

Solar pool heater rings are easy for one person to manage, and can be stored in a small children's pool nearby, or deflated for storange in the wintertime.

They tend to get dirtier and to collect debris more quickly than a large pool blanket or cover, although cleaning is easier as they can be hosed off while propped up against a wall.

Some people found that they did not last very long before deflating and sinking to the bottom of the pool. In addition, debris tends to collect in between the rings as the water does not make it to the pool skimmer.

Solar Pool Covers and Solar Blankets

Solar pool covers or Solar blankets are large pieces of plastic, either clear or colored, that are placed on top of the pool to keep debris out and to warm the water using solar energy.

These tend to be more effective than solar pool rings at warming the water, and keeping the pool clean, however they too have their drawbacks.

solar pool blanket

Depending on the material that is used, these solar pool covers can disintegrate in the sun and leave plastic debris in the pool and the surounding area.

Depending on the size of your pool, these solar pool covers and blankets can also be awkward to manage for one person especially if you are, like me, a bit on the older side! :-)

Parents of young children are especially cautious about using solar blankets as there is a greater danger if a child falls into the pool with the cover on and cannot come up for air.

Solar Dome Heaters

solar pool sundome

Solar Dome Heaters are large plastic domes that surround the top of an above ground pool and keep it warm as well as free from debris. These heat both the air and the water with solar energy, and are made of vinyl and attached together with tubes.

This type of above ground solar pool heater has a door and several windows, and according to the manufacturer, requires several hours of set up and several lay people involved in the installation. Cost can run several thousand dollars.

Tips for Saving More
With Your Pool Solar Heater

After 2 - 4 years of use, most pool solar heaters pay for themselves. Solar pool heating systems have the lowest yearly maintenance costs. Most heaters last years longer than the warranty.

Once installed, automatic solar pool heating systems run themselves with minimal upkeep. They are much quieter than the motors on gas and electric pool heaters.

Solar pool covers should be used in conjunction with pool solar heaters to minimize energy loss. Nearly 70% of all heat lost from pools is from evaporation.

Pool covers also keep pools cleaner and greatly reduces the need for chemicals. Transparent solar pool covers gather sunlight during the day and transfer the heat directly into the water. This passively heats your pool even when the heater isn’t running. These covers cost between $.30 and $.50 cents per square foot.

Call several contractors when buying solar pool heaters. Find the lowest price for the size and make of the pool. Check warranty information from each company.

Obtain lists of recent customers the contractor had. Call the customers and see how they rate their experience. Installation usually requires a plumbing permit, so ensure the contractor is completely qualified.

›› Solar Pool Heater

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solar panel