Relaxing in a swimming pool with perfect temperature is the best experience, but your pool water heater can rack up the electricity bill. The solar pool heater is an eco-friendly, cost-effective alternative to conventional heater. Nowadays, solar pool heater is not a novelty technology, but something that you can commonly found at houses or establishments.
Solar pool heater consists of a set of solar panels, flow controller, heating system, filter, pool pump, and valve. Usually, the solar panels are installed on the roof, and connect directly to all its parts with an open system, utilizing pipes and hoses to connect all main elements.
Depending on budgets and preferences, you can choose between in-line and independent solar heaters. In-line solar heaters are practical, but the installation and operation are expensive since they are connected to filter system. Meanwhile, the independent solar heaters can save you money on electricity since it does not require separate filter.
Solar pool heater is also classified based on the solar panel types. There are unglazed panels, made of plastic rubber, and glazed panels, made of aluminum or copper. The unglazed ones are cheaper, but the glazed versions are more durable.
Why Solar Pool Heater?
There are several good reasons why you should choose solar pool heater, especially if electricity bill is your perpetual concern. Here are reasons to choose solar heater for a swimming pool:
1. Cheap operation
The solar heater is cheaper to operate in the long run. If your area gets constant sunlight, you don’t even need an additional gas heater and can save more money.
2. Environmentally-friendly system
Forget feeling guilty for air pollution; solar panel heater is definitely the best option for accessible clean energy. Even with additional gas heater, this system still releases less pollution than heater with a more traditional system.
3. Long-term using
Solar heater is perfect if you plan to live permanently in a property, or at least for long years. A proper solar pool heater can last between 15 and 20 years after installation, perfect for a permanent residence or commercial building.
4. Quick heating process in warm areas
If you live in a warm area, you can heat your pool more quickly with solar heater. Aside from comfort, quick heating saves the energy, especially if you have additional gas heater connected to the solar one.
While solar heater saves money, in the long run, the installation costs more than the traditional one. Also, if you live in the area where the sun does not always shine, you must put up with a long heating process, unless you add a gas heater.
How Much Should I Spend on Solar Pool Heater?
The cost of installing solar pool heater may vary between people, depending on several factors. However, the standard cost for regular solar pool heater usually lands between US$3,000 and US$4,000. The exorbitant price can deter many people, since the payback may take between one and seven years, depending on fuel prices.
There are other factors that can affect the cost, such as the type of installation, fuel price, the size and quantities of solar panels, and local licensing and regulation fees.
Tips on Choosing Solar Pool Heater
Solar pool heater is expensive, so make sure your purchase worth it. Here are some tips to choose solar pool heater that performs well for a long term:
1. Prepare enough space
An ideal area size for standard solar pool heater installment is around 75 percent of your pool size. It applies to pool that is open seasonally. If the pool is open all-year round, you need to increase it to 100 percent.
2. Consider roof shape and orientation
A solar pool heater depends on solar panels for the energy source. Consider the shape and orientation of your roof to make sure that the solar collectors get enough heat. If you live in the northern hemisphere, consider facing the collectors to the south.
3. Consider the geographical and climate factors
Aside from roof and solar collector orientations, you need to consider your surroundings. Mountains, hills, trees, or fog can hinder your solar heater’s ability to collect heat.
4. Understand the Btu formula and cost calculation
Btu is a measurement for a solar collector’s performance ability. To better manage your cost while using solar heater, you need to know the formula to calculate the amount of Btu spent for each Dollar. The easy formula is (Btu spent per day x amounts of solar panels): system installment costs.
For example, if your daily heater usage is 30,000 Btu, with three solar panels and US$4,000 installment cost, the amount of Btu you spend per Dollar is (30,000 x 3): 4,000 = 22.5 Btu per Dollar.
5. Choose reputable solar panel company installation
A reputable company is not just about proper installment, but also maintenance. The solar pool heater can last for 15-20 years, so it is best to choose installment company that will be around for many years.
Solar pool heater may be expensive and complicated to install, but it is a great option to save electricity bill and increase energy efficiency. The best thing is: you can do all of them while enjoying nice water temperament in the pool.