Solar Pool Heaters - Are they worth the investment?

Are Solar Pool Heaters Worth the Investment?

Whether you’ve decided you want a more eco-friendly way to heat your pool or simply want to reduce your monthly pool costs, solar pool heaters may be the choice for you. Adding a solar pool heater doesn’t have to be overly complicated and it will provide you with many benefits, some of which you likely haven’t even considered.

How Do Solar Pool Heaters Work?

Although solar energy may sound complicated, solar pool heaters only require a few components: sunshine, a solar collector, pool filter, pool pump, and a flow control valve. If you already have a pool, it’s likely that you already have a filter and a pool pump; which means all you need is adequate sunshine and a solar heating kit. In order to be effective, solar panels need southwestern sun exposure and around five to six hours of daily sunshine. Fortunately, most parts of the United States are well-suited for this. However, if you do happen to have an area that receives a bit less sunshine, you can still utilize solar energy by increasing the square footage of your solar panels.

There are three main types of solar collectors that are used for heating swimming pools:

  1. glazed solar panels,
  2. unglazed solar panels,
  3. polypropylene (PP) veined mats.

Glazed solar panels are the most expensive option, but can be used year-round. They are comprised of an aluminum plate with copper tubing and have an iron-tempered glass covering. In contrast, unglazed solar panels are made of UV-inhibitor protected, heavy-duty rubber or plastic panels, but are less expensive than their glazed counterpart. The most common and affordable of the solar collectors is PP veined mats. The panels or PP veined mats absorb energy from the sun which turns into heat.

Although each solar collector may look different, they all provide heat to your pool in much the same way. As your pool pump and filtration system pump water through the solar collector (glazed, unglazed, or PP mat), the heat is transferred to the water which travels back into your pool. Some solar systems also include sensors and automatic or manual flow control valves. This allows you to divert the water through the solar collectors when they are warm (during sunny days) or bypass them altogether when your water is warm enough.

What Are the Benefits of a Solar Pool Heater?

When it comes to using solar energy to heat your pool there a number of benefits. Of course, the first benefit is that it’s eco-friendly. Solar energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy available as it doesn’t produce harmful emissions or require the use of limited natural resources. As such, installing a solar pool heater can drastically decrease the carbon footprint of your pool and the energy bills that come with it.

Solar heating systems also require very little maintenance once they are installed. On average, a swimming pool solar heater can last between 15 to 20 years. So, although a solar heater may cost you more upfront, the long term cost benefits more than make up for the investment, but we’ll dive into this a bit later.

One of the more unknown benefits of a solar pool heater is that it can extend the swim season of your pool by a few months. In Florida, we benefit from a long swim season, but the average swim season lasts around four months, solar-powered heaters can keep your pool comfortably heated long after the summer heat has gone. Lastly, solar pool heaters are the quietest heaters on the market, so you can enjoy your pool in peace and quiet.

How Much Does It Cost?

The answer that most of you have been waiting to hear, “How much is it going to cost me?” On average, a swimming pool solar heater can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $9,000. Of course, that’s a large range, but prices vary greatly depending on the size of your pool, the type of panels used, available sun exposure, and installation costs. Although solar pool heaters will cost you more upfront, your energy savings will quickly make up for the extra cost. Also, it’s important to note, although solar-powered heat is free, you will still have to pay for the electrical costs associated with running the water pump and filtration system.

How to Choose the Best Solar Heater for Your Pool

If you’ve decided that a solar pool heater is the best choice for you, it’s time to figure out the best model for your pool. This can be a bit complicated, so we’ve provided you with a few pointers to help you get started.

Think About Your Budget and Size

Before you purchase a solar pool heater, you need to have both a budget and size in mind. For instance, solar panels will be more expensive and take up more room than PP veined mats. So, if you’re short on space or you’re more budget-conscious, PP veined mats will be the best place to start. It’s also important to know the best angle to position your solar collector as this varies depending on your home’s geographic latitude.

Energy Efficiency From Your Solar Pool Heaters

Another key factor to consider is energy efficiency, especially if you are switching to solar for environmental reasons. Although solar energy is clean, certain models will be more efficient than others, so it’s important to keep an eye on thermal energy ratings. It can get a bit confusing, but it’s critical to know how much energy you are saving to account for the upfront investment of a solar system.

Like most investments in life, purchasing a solar pool heater will require a bit of legwork and research. However, if you find yourself overwhelmed, you can simply call in the professionals to help.

Let Us Take Care of Your Solar Pool Heater Needs

At GPS Pools, we take pride in every single pool installation and repair that we do in Lutz, Land O’lakes, and our surrounding areas. Every technician we work with is up to date on the latest technologies to ensure you get the best possible service.

By choosing us, you can relax knowing that your pool is in the hands of industry experts. Call us today and let us help you take the guesswork out of selecting and installing the best solar pool pump for your swimming pool.

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