With the increasing need for green energy utilization, solar pool heaters are becoming the most suitable alternative to keep your pool warm at relatively low costs. It is environmentally-friendly, energy efficient and cost effective compared to gas powered pool heaters. The system typically uses solar energy to warm your swimming pool through circulating the heated water back into the pool.
Major Components of Solar Pool Heating System
1. Solar Collector (Solar Absorber)
This is a device that captures sun’s rays to heat the pool water. It is a flat box mounted on a surface, facing the sun in order to collect solar radiation.
As the name suggests, a filter is used to remove solids (debris) before the water is pumped through into the solar absorber.
This is responsible for pumping water through the filter, collector and back into the pool.
4. Flow control valve
This is an automatic or manual device used for diverting pool water through the solar absorber.
Solar Pool Heating Process
Basically, solar pool heater system involves pumping the water through a series of tubes called solar collector, usually mounted on a roof of a building. The system has a digital controller that is used to set pool temperature required by the pool owner. This controller monitors the roof sensor and the pool sensor, and turns the solar pump on whenever there is a difference of 7 to 8 degrees between the two sensors. The pump will remain active until the required temperature is reached, as long as the solar conditions are favourable.
The solar pump collects cooler water from the swimming pool, and pushes it through the solar collector tubes. The sun’s rays heats the collector, and then the heat is transferred into the circulating water and back into the swimming pool with an elevated temperature. The pump will turn off when the pool sensor reads a temperature within 2 degrees of your desired temperature set. Then the water drains out of the system, and an air column occupies the space to prevent the collector tubes from being sucked flat.
Different Types of Collector Systems
Solar collectors are the most crucial components of a solar pool heating system that utilize the sun’s heat directly. If you are living in hot climatic regions, collectors can be used to cool your pool water by running the system at night. When the temperature of the collector is similar to that of pool water, the circulating water will bypass the collectors and return into the pool. Solar collectors are of different types, but the type you require depends on the climate and your needs.
1. Unglazed/Non-Pressurized Collectors
If you intend to use your pool when temperature is above freezing point, then you can choose the unglazed/non-pressurized collectors. Unglazed collectors use rubber or plastic parts, making them less expensive. Non-pressurized collectors are made up of glass vacuum tube, but don’t have the copper heat pipe. They are less expensive, with a simpler design compared to pressurized collectors.
2. Glazed/Pressurized Collectors
Pressurized collector systems/glazed collectors are suitable for those who want to use their pools during cold weather all-year-round. They are made up of glass vacuum and consist of copper heat pipe, appropriate for capturing solar heat more efficiently than unglazed or non-pressurized collector systems. They utilize heat exchangers and transfer fluids, making them suitable for heating domestic hot water since the water doesn’t circulate through the collectors.