Natural gas is expensive. The sun is free. You do the math. Solar heating = $$$ in your pocket.
With gas prices constantly rising, it makes sense to look for alternative ways to heat our pool water. If you are fortunate enough to have the right site for solar heating panels, they are an extremely cost-effective way to maintain a comfortable pool this summer. The site is key though since these panels need a lot of sun on them to affect your pool’s temperature. These panels are installed on a roof or a structure is built just for them. The nice thing about building a structure just for the panels is that the structure can provide shade and it can be masked as an arbor or some other attractive feature.
Solar heating for your pool works like this. The pool pump circulates the water through your filter just like normal, but after the water is filtered, it passes through the solar panels. These panels are similar to the radiator in a car. They are comprised of hundreds of small tubes and they are black in color to help absorb heat. What happens is the water flows through the massive array of tubes very slowly. This allows the water to absorb the heat being trapped by the black panels. The water then exits the panel array and returns to the pool much warmer than when entering. The pool is slowly heated over many hours or even days.
In addition to the actual solar heating panels, there is an electronic controller that’s installed with a valve. This controller monitors water temperature and then opens or closes a valve to maintain the desired temperature.
With solar heating, you should not expect a miracle to occur, but it may be just what you need to knock the chill off of a shady pool. The only negative that I can think of is that your pump has to circulate the water to the roof or onto a raised structure. This is a little harder on the pump than normal and could require an upgrade in horsepower if your pump is weak to begin with.