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Thread: Solar Panels vs Heat Pump

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    Solar Panels vs Heat Pump

    We live in n. Florida and our pool is 16x32 with a 3-6" depth. We want to get a pool heater and were thinking of solar panels. The question is how much they will actually heat the pool water? We have a screen covering so that lowers the pool water about 10 degrees anyway. I won't get in unless the water is at least 86 degrees. Could solar panels work that well or do we need to go with a heat pump? Any suggestions?

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SouthWest Alabama

    Re: Solar Panels vs Heat Pump

    In North Florida with a good southerly direction solar panels are the way to go. You'll be surprised how much heat you can get from them. 86º most of the year is very doable in that location. I'd recommend getting a 1:1 setup (one ft² of panels for every ft² of pool surface). That'll make sure you have enough panels to accomplish the task.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Vero Beach, FL

    Re: Solar Panels vs Heat Pump

    I'll second that they should be placed on a southern exposed roof, otherwise you'll need more than a 1:1 ratio.

    Also, you will still need a solar cover. When daytime temps drop below around 80 and night time temps are even lower, you will loose the heat you've gained during the day. Friends here in South Florida who have a 1:1 setup on the south facing roof must keep their solar cover on if they want to swim in November.
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    SW Indiana

    Re: Solar Panels vs Heat Pump

    If I was in Florida I'd absolutely have solar panels. I have them in Indiana and my water is still around 80 in spite of lows in the upper 30s. I'll be pulling the cover and draining the panels tonight though. I easily keep my water around 90 from mid-May to the first or second week in September most years.
    TFP Moderator
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    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Indialantic, FL

    Re: Solar Panels vs Heat Pump

    I think it may be tough to maintain 86 degrees for a 12 month swim season when you have a cage.

    However, instead of my perhaps ill formed, certainly unscientific, opinion, I offer a site maintained by the U of Central FLA - the Solar Energy Center - which has unbiased numbers that should be of interest. ... sizing.htm
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    Brentr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Jacksonville, FL

    Re: Solar Panels vs Heat Pump

    I will let you know this year. We have solar panels 1:1 ratio and a heat pump. Panels were installed this year. Last year we used the heat pump on the weekends with a solar cover and got our pool up to 95degrees.
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