Does a solar heater need to be installed higher than the pump?


New member
Feb 11, 2012
Lowville, NY
I am hoping/planning on installing 2 or 3 4'x20' solar heaters for an in-ground pool which is around 450 sf. My pool house roof is too small to install this on as it is only 16x7 as faces south east. The house roof is over 60 feet away and doesn't have any good sections to install solar so I was thinking about ground installation on a rack facing south with a buried pipe. The issue I have is that the ground slopes downward from the pool house. I have read that it isn't a good idea to install solar panels that are lower than the pump as it can cause damage from not draining. Does anyone have any experience in this? Is this true? I would probably remove them in the winter as I am north of Syracuse and we get 200" of snow a year so this question isn't around winterization.


TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
Quaker Hill, CT
You need to be able to drain the water from the panels for the winter. This can be done even in a ground mount set up. Just plan for it and put drains in the plumbing.

Otherwise solar panels are fine to be below the pool.


Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
May 19, 2010
Tucson, AZ
There is some risk to the solar being below the pool in that when the solar is not running, the panels will remain full of water which will become VERY hot in the sun. This can weaken the plastic of the panels and can cause damage if they are on a significant slope.

And when the solar does turn back on, there is a risk of very hot water initially that could burn someone in the pool.