Adding solar heat to a gas heated pool


Active member
Jun 9, 2015
Saint Joseph, MO
I am exploring the idea of adding solar heat to my gas (propane) heated inground pool. Several questions:

- What are the pitfalls with this setup? I would like to tackle the install myself, but if there are complications with the combination of the two, I will just look at professional installation.
- Are there any solar heating units that work better for this setup than others? Or, is the magic in the controller?
- My existing pool heater is approximately 70 feet from the house, and more to get to a large, south-facing surface. Is that prohibitive? I have lots of yard space that I could consume with panels, but roof seems better by far.
- I have read the rule of thumb that you need a MINIMUM of 50% of the surface area of your pool in solar panels, and more like 100% if you can do it. Is that really essential? I don't think it's a problem, but I want to know the options. Also, can I easily add more panels in the future, or is it far easier to do all panels at one time?

Thanks, all!


Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
I did sort of the opposite. I installed solar heat a year after my pool was built and then added a heat pump a few years later. I installed both. I have 240sf of solar panels and 700 sf of pool. If I could install more solar I would but the roof is full and sunny spots are limited. It is great having both. No downside. I let the solar heat as much as possible and top off with the heat pump. A solar controller is best for maximum heat gain. Solar panels will cool a pool just as fast as they will heat it and the controller will stop that. Mine goes filter to solar to heater to SWG to pool. There are pics of all of it and discussion on heating my pool in my pool thread, link in sig.

I did my research and bought my panels from Solar Direct. They are DIY friendly.