Solar pool heating

aztony

Bronze Supporter
Oct 10, 2012
173
Maricopa, Arizona
I'm considering getting the pool heated. Is solar a good option? I've heard it only adds about 2 months to the swim season. Not sure if that's worth the cost. I haven't gotten any estimates yet but I'm assuming about $5k for my pool size. A neighbor mentioned they're going with Heliocol. I've seen it mentioned to use a solar pool cover at night. Seems like removing and replacing the pool.cover would be a big hassle unless you have it on a roller. Interested in your experience having solar, is it worth the cost? TIA
 

AndyTN

Bronze Supporter
Mar 27, 2019
362
Memphis
Pool Size
26000
Surface
Vinyl
I do not have a solar heater because every time I start researching the solar panels, I always run into the problem of "where am I going to put them?". Location on your property or roof should be the first consideration and I have a lot of trees in my back yard which restricts my potential locations. With the general consensus being your total solar panel coverage should be close to the square feet of your pool surface, I don't have a large enough area with more than a few hours of direct sun.

With AZ having a lot of sun year round and very few trees, you should be off to a better start than me. Putting your solar panels on your roof is best if you have a good location which won't be an eyesore. The roof will be able to heat then water from the bottom too with the roof heat and it will reduce the heat on your roof a bit to help out your a/c. When your AZ pool gets to be a giant hot tub in the summer, you can run water through the solar panels at night to cool it off slightly.

Don't wast the time/money on going small with the solar panels so make sure you get enough to make a decent difference. Also make sure you are able to run water through your solar system with high velocity as this will absorb the most heat. There is automation you can get to program running your solar system at certain times but you keep adding $$ on the front end.

As for a solar cover, it is a must whenever you are trying to warm up a pool, especially with your low humidity. Evaporation will suck the heat out of your water very quickly and can keep a pool in your area 15 degrees warmer just by trapping the heat/moisture. I keep on my solar cover in spring and fall when we are really only swimming on the weekends so pulling off the solar cover 1-2 times per week is not really a hassle.

Before you buy anything regarding heating, get a solar cover first and keep it on whenever you are not swimming during spring and fall. You may find out you do not really need the investment in solar panels to get that extra 2 months at the beginning/end of swim season.
 
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aztony

Bronze Supporter
Oct 10, 2012
173
Maricopa, Arizona
Thanks for the reply and info. You're correct about my roof, it gets full sun all day. The pool is something like 15k gals., 10 x 30 maybe a bit bigger. I'm assuming 300 to 400 cu ft of solar panels would be good. I will have to look into a solar pool cover. I've seen some people say they cut the cover up to make it easier to remove and replace.
 

AndyTN

Bronze Supporter
Mar 27, 2019
362
Memphis
Pool Size
26000
Surface
Vinyl
Start with the solar cover before considering anything else. With the amount of sunshine in AZ, I bet it would even warm up your pool by 5-10 degrees in winter if your pool gets sunshine all day. You may be able to spend just $200 on the solar cover to get you swimming 3-4 weeks sooner than you normally would and you may decide it isn't worth the cost and effort of the solar panels with plumbing.

Buy the solar cover in dimensions to cover your whole pool and just cut it to fit. It is basically a giant sheet of bubble wrap so easy to work with. I also wouldn't worry about getting the more expensive thicker mil plastic as you are just preventing evaporation. The thinner mil will be easier to handle and likely last 80% as thick mil but be half the price.
 

Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
1,270
West Palm Beach/Florida
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
We cut our cover in half, and it makes it much easier to put on and take off. The cover probably gives us an extra month of swim season, but we only use it at the beginning of the season.
 
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