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Solar Pool Heating - A Comprehensive Buyers Guide

Heating your pool with solar energy is highly cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.

How does the solar pool heating work?

Using the water in your swimming pool as a medium, it gets pumped via a solar collector/absorber, which is a series of plastic tubes specially designed in a form of a panel that get to be installed on a roof or structure of your house. The panels absorb heat and using the water from the pool, it is pumped through the panels to remove the heat away and into the swimming pool at a continuous rate. (Better known as a heat exchanger).

The solar heating system can either be controlled automatically or manually. A large number of systems operate through a digital controller that automatically guides water onto the roof when there is adequate sunshine and the pool's temperature needs it. It works on cloudy days as well however, it will operate at a lower output.

Heating your pool using solar energy is a natural and eco-friendly way of pool heating. There is only the initial buying and installation cost for the solar pool heater, after that, there are almost no running costs. Solar pool heating renders steady warmth to the swimming pool through the summer months, and considerably increases the swimming potential into the spring and autumn seasons.

To what degree will the pool water temperature rise?

Solar systems are competent of warming your pool's water temperature by about 5 to 8 Degree Celsius and in certain conditions up to 10 Degree Celsius. Nonetheless, the real rise in water temperature depends on many factors. The foremost among these are the collector's efficiency and size, which is followed by other factors such as the point to which your roof and/or pool are sheltered by shade, your roof's construction material, direction and slope of the roof on which the solar collectors are located etc.

What are the main components?

It is generally recommended, and in some states compulsory to get the installation done by certified professionals.

Usually, solar heating systems contain the following parts:

Solar collectors

Solar collectors are tubes or panels through which the water flows so that it can transfer the heat that the sun is providing to your pool. (Heat exchanger)

Booster pump

Booster pump helps in circulating pool water via the current circulation/filter pump through the collectors and push it back to the swimming pool.

Controller

Controller is a manual or automatic means of guiding the timing of the water flow via the solar system.

What determines the cost?

Many factors determine the cost of your solar heating system. Visibly, the foremost factor is the size of your swimming pool, which is significant. As mentioned above, your total pool size will decide the collector size that you will require heating your pool effectively. And the kind of solar heating system you decide to buy also determines the cost. There are many cheap imports in Sydney's market to be wary of.

What will be the cost to install a solar pool heating system?

The cost of the solar pool heating system will depend on the size of your swimming pool. Typically, a solar pool heating system can be bought and installed around $3,000 to $6,000. As per the size of your pool and the intricacy of the system. For instance an 8m x 4m pool an overall total cost of approximately $4000 (including installation).

Different kinds of system that is availableness

There are two major kinds of solar heating systems available in Australia. These are mentioned here below:

Panel collectors

Panel collectors are solar energy collecting panels, flexible or semi-rigid and made from plastic. These designs normally lasts longer, aesthetically more pleasing and as they aren't merely attached to the roof, they can be more fitting for the locations that are prone to severe wind blows. Some products are made to suit your roof and don't require much fastening and eliminating drilling holes through your roofing material. The joints are best made with PVC cement adhesive however some companies use rubber hoses with clamps.

Ribbon/strip collectors

Ribbon/strip collectors are called "Strip Systems" and they are normally made from rubber or plastic. This style of heating system has been around for more than 35 years now and is extremely flexible. On almost all surface types, it can be easily installed, which includes unevenly shaped surfaces. It is a system of tubes fixed firmly using a silicone bonding agents to your roof and flowing horizontal to facilitate water of the pool to run through them and heated by sun's energy. The manifold joint is made on site by pushing together the strip onto a barb connector.

What is the time required to install?

It can take from half a day to two days for the full installation to be completed. As per your state's requirements, you should examine that the company you choose has the appropriate license to manufacture/import and install your pool heating system.

Installation Types

There are three installation choices for solar pool heating system and they are mentioned below:

1. Separate Systems

Separate systems can operate without turning on the main circulation pump however, they require the pool is built with dual suction pipes and a return, which should operate only for solar heating.

2. Integrated Installation Systems

In older swimming pools which don't have these provisions, a booster pump is attached to the existing filtration system. Still a fully automated system however you require operating your circulation pump during the day in order to allow the solar heating to function properly.

3. Divert Valve Systems

The existing main water circulation pump is enhanced by a valve with this system, which guides the water into the solar heating system when there is adequate sunlight to raise the water temperature, and shuts the diversion when the likelihood for heating is either not enough or not needed.

Selecting an ideal company for solar pool heating installation
  • Cautiously select the company that has a good level of experience in installing and maintaining the system you have chosen.
  • As required by your state, make sure that the company has the right licenses as a solar heating contractor, plumber or better.
  • Choose a panel system that is more efficient and is larger than standard heating capacity with the aid of additional panels added to improve the performance beyond expectations.
  • Compare between quotes of different companies and buy the solar heating system that suits your roof structure, maintenance free, minimal parts required and the best price. On-going services can indicate expected failures.
  • Check for extended warranties. Typically, ten years warranty is common however, be wary for warranty exclusions (for instance - labour, wind and Pro Rata), and go through the small print.
Tips to use solar pool heating system for optimal results

To get the optimal results from your solar pool heating system, follow the below-mentioned tips:

  • Avoid operating it when you don't require it. Particularly, never operate when you are out of the town or in the winter months.
  • Outside the swimming season, ensure you operate the system for a few minutes/day so that it flushes out the formation of substance and maintain the system sanitised. You need not be concerned about this if you have an Australian solar controller as it will automatically do it.
Is my pool appropriate for the solar heating system?

There is no reason why a solar pool heating system shouldn't be a feasible for you. If you swim for recreation and want to extend the swimming season of your pool, then solar heating is the best option for you.

Next time, when you dive into your pool, be certain that you are diving into warm water that's quite refreshing!

  • We found Thermo Pools delivered all they promised and more. The solar heating system has been maintenance free since the day it was installed and Thermo Pools and their staff were outstanding with punctuality and professionalism. We are so happy with the results that we have highly recommended them to our friends who are also enjoying the benefits.

    Dr Tang, Smithfield

  • As a practitioner who specialises in water therapy, it was a necessity to have my large pool heated to get maximum use. Adding solar heating has added around 4 months extra usage and enabled our young grandchildren to improve their swimming without the fear of cold water. It also allows us to swim in the early mornings and late evenings. I did my research and chose Thermo Pools because of their quality product, value for money and their guarantee against wind damage. They transformed our summer lifestyle of outdoor living to the maximum.

    Rhonda Thompson, St Ives

  • It is 13 years since our automatic Thermotube solar pool heating system was installed and we are totally satisfied with our investment, the professional service and product function. The Thermotube system has given us valued extended swimming seasons in comfort on a trouble free operation basis. Also our pool blanket and roller system assists in reduciing the heat losses. I would recommend Thermo Pools and your workmanship.

    Ray Smith, Miranda

  • It is only just October and we are already enjoying the benefits of a lovely warm pool. We would like to thank you for the professional manner in which you dealt with our concerns.

    Julie & John Nicholls, Castle Hill