We all know how much we can save on energy costs by using a solar cover for our pools. Solar covers minimize the heat loss from the pool water while simultaneously trapping solar heat to warm it. For those of us who would want to be more kind to our environment and who want to save even more on their energy bills, a solar pool heater might be the best option. Solar pool heaters easily heat up the water up to 80 degrees, and they make your pool usable even after the summer months have passed.
Solar pool heaters usually come in three forms. They can either be mats, panels, metal panels or plastic pipe systems. Solar panels are made with a special polypropylene compound and are usually five to ten per cent more effective than solar mats, which are flexible and can fit on top of an irregular surface. The mats can be cemented on the surface. Metal solar panels use copper waterways attached to aluminum or copper fins. These are great for rough weather areas.
Available in a number of sizes, solar panels and mats are effective for heating the pool water by 20 degrees or so. Solar panels come in a variety of kits, usually classified on the basis of deluxe, premium, etc. The basic components of the kits are the same with some additional items in premium-labeled ones. Solar panels need to be installed on terraces or roofs.
A solar heater works in combination with a water pump, which circulates the water while it is heated. After you install a solar pool heater, running the pump will be the only additional cost you bear. In any other heater, you must pay the cost of the pump since every heater needs to be combined with a pump, plus the cost of running the heater. Investing in a solar heater is a one-time cost; it does not have an ongoing operating cost. At the same time, it does not pollute by using fuel and requires very little maintenance.
The size of the panels or the mats needs to be at least half the area of the pool. You might need more panels or mats in case your pool has tree shade or rough weather conditions. The higher the BTU of the heater, the better it will perform as a heater. Automatic controls in some of the solar pool heaters allow you to regulate the temperature of the water. Different kinds of solar heaters have different recommendations for where they should be installed.
Several solar pool heater brands are available in the consumer market for your perusal; there is very little difference between the products they offer. While Amazon.com and SolarDirect.com offer a number of makes and sizes, you may also want to check out Fafco.com and HarterIndustries.com. These heaters usually last a long time, often up to 20 years, and you should make sure to get either a repair or replacement warranty, whichever suits you.
This article was supplied by Nidhi Varma.