New Jersey swimming pool company explains how heating your vinyl lined pool, fiberglass pool or gunite pool with a solar heating system can reduce monthly heating costs by 95%.
Solar heating is one of the simplest and most cost-efficient methods for heating your pool. If lowering your carbon footprint is important to you, or you just want to greatly reduce your monthly heating bills, there is no better source of energy than the sun.
Solar heating works by installing solar collectors onto the roof of your house or cabana which connect through pipes to your pool’s existing pump system. The pool water is pumped through the existing filter. Then, depending on which solar heating system you choose, it is pumped through a heat exchanger or up through the solar panels on the roof. Once the pool reaches a desired temperature, the system automatically switches off and the pool water simply bypasses the solar heating system on its route back to the pool. The system automatically switches back on as needed to maintain a constant, comfortable temperature. On a sunny day, a solar heating system will raise the temperature of the pool about 1 to 2 degrees a day (under optimal conditions), which is significant when you remember that it’s free heat.
It is important to know that there are two main types of solar collectors, simply referred to as glazed and unglazed. An unglazed solar collector does not include a glass cover (glazing) and is generally made of heavy-duty rubber or plastic treated with an ultraviolet (UV) light inhibitor to extend the life of the panels. With the unglazed collectors, water is physically pumped through the solar collectors, warmed by the sun, and then pumped back into your pool. Due to their inexpensive parts, unglazed systems are usually 20 to 30% less expensive than glazed panels and more common than the glazed. The unglazed panels, which come in many different designs, require a substantial amount of area; usually 65% of the total pool area if you’re facing due south, and an additional 5% for more easterly or westerly exposures. Glazed solar collectors are generally made of copper tubing on an aluminum plate with an iron-tempered glass covering. Glazed systems, which utilize a heat exchanger, capture heat more efficiently than unglazed systems and thus require less roof space, usually between 15 and 20% of the total pool area to be effective. However, the glazed system is quite noticeable due to the high reflective qualities of the panels, and it does not blend in with the roofing as well as the non glazed systems. If you are planning on building a cabana in conjunction with the pool, the glazed system will also allow you to heat your domestic water on the solar system because it runs on a heat exchange and the water does not pass directly through the solar panels like an unglazed system. Both systems have been weather tested against snow, wind and hail and have proven to last for up to 20 years. There is also little to no maintenance required as long as your pool’s filtration system is checked and maintained on an annual basis.
Either type of solar collector will serve you well by significantly reducing your operating costs; depending on your roof size, aesthetic concerns, and budget, you can determine which system better suits your needs. On a 900 sq. ft. pool with spa and waterfall, a natural gas heater has an operating cost ranging from $800 to $1200 a month depending on the usage habits and weather conditions. Given this same pool, to operate a solar system would have negligible operating costs. Add in the operating cost of the backup gas heater which would be $100 to $300 per month (depending on ambient temperature and usage habits). The average consumer could expect a $700 to $1100 per month savings. Depending on the solar model and usage habits a consumer could recoup the cost of the solar system in just 2 to 4 years. After that, you can find comfort knowing that you’ll be in the green every year you spend enjoying your beautiful custom inground pool!
It is our recommendation that a solar heating system should always be supplemented with a natural gas system. Solar heating is great for maintaining a constant temperature but is not intended to quickly raise the temperature of your pool. A solar heating system will also typically struggle to produce heat in extended periods of cool, shady or rainy days. For pool designs with spas, a natural gas system is essential to quickly heat up the spa and maintain a temperature over 100 degrees.
Solar heating will not be the best solution for everyone. The benefits should certainly be evaluated by a trusted contractor and then compared to the costs of other options. Having a trusted contractor with years of experience in custom swimming pool design and build can aid you in the process of figuring out what system will work best for your particular property. It is always important to know the real facts behind all of your options so that you can make the best decision when it comes to making such an important investment.