Thinking about how to heat your swimming pool more efficiently? Want to know more about solar swimming pool heaters?

We asked the U.S. Department of Energy and the Florida Solar Energy Center for some explanations and advice.

We know: All About Solar Pool Heaters

Whatís a solar swimming pool heater?

Solar swimming pool heaters use solar collectors to gather and retain the sunís heat. Usually the poolís filtration pump is then used to force the water in the swimming pool through the solar collector panels to heat it.

The system usually consists of solar collectors, filter, pump and a flow control valve.

What kinds of solar collectors do swimming pool heaters use?

Generally, solar collectors for swimming pools are made of polypropylene plastic panels that are about 4 Ď by 10-12í. These collectors last about 10-15 years.

How many of these panels does it take to heat my pool?

For a typical home pool, you need 7 to 12 panels.

Where do the collectors go?

Collectors can be mounted on roofs or anywhere near the pool that provides the proper exposure, orientation, and tilt toward the sun. The optimum collector orientation is south, but west-facing orientations are good if the collectors' surface area is increased to at least 75 percent of the pool's surface area. East-facing orientations are marginally good.

Do these collectors require maintenance?

No, not much.

How much does a solar pool heating system cost?

Between $2000-$4000, with installation. You should be able to pay back the cost of the system with utility savings in between 2 to 7 years.

Are there any tips for buying a system?

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Buy from a licensed contractor.
  • Make sure the system is sized properly for your needs.
  • Get a written description of the system, including number of solar panels, size of panels, and the make and model number.
  • Check referrals before buying.
  • Get a complete operation and maintenance manual and a start-up demonstration.

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