Improving Your Home With Solar Panels

4 Questions To Ask When Considering A Solar Heater For Your Pool

After researching the benefits of using solar power to heat your pool, you may have decided to investigate the possibility of having a solar pool heater installed. However, you may still have questions about how the heater operates. If so, ask the pool representative the following four questions to help get you started gathering information.

Can A Solar Heater Be Installed Into Your Current System?

Whether or not a solar pool heater can be installed into your current system depends on how old your system is and what type of heater you are currently using. If your pool uses an older gas heating pump system, the installers may need to convert your pump to an electric one.

However, most of the time, only slight modifications are required. For newer electrical heating systems, the contractor can cut out a small section of your current pump's pipe. Then, the pipes to the solar panels are attached so the water can flow freely into and through the panels.

Will A Solar Heater Work With In-Ground Or Above Ground Pools?

Whether you have an in-ground or above-ground pool, you can still make use of a solar pool heater. The only difference between the two is the distance the water must travel from the pool's pump to the solar panels.

If you have an in-ground pool, the water will have to be pumped further away from the pump, into the pipes underground, and then to the panels on the roof of your shed, garage, or house.

When you ask the representative about the ideal system for your in-ground pool, you should also ask if your current pool pump has enough horsepower to effectively move the water. If not, discuss your options and any recommendations.

Does The Solar Pool Heater Need Electricity To Work?

When selecting your solar pool heater, ask about its potential electrical consumption. Although the heater uses the power of the sun to keep the water warm, the system will still need electricity to pump the water to the solar panels and back to your pool.

Electricity may also be needed for the solar collectors or generator if you choose to have them installed along with the heater. The solar collectors store the sun's energy for use on rainy and cloudy days, although this power is limited to the size of the solar cells. A generator can use either gas or electricity, depending on your preference.

On days when the sun is not shining, either the collectors or generators will kick on to help keep your pool at a constant temperature. This helps keep you from having to wait for the pool to warm up once the clouds disappear and you want to go swimming.

Do You Still Need A Pool Cover When You Have A Solar Heater?

If you currently use an insulated pool cover to help keep your pool at the ideal temperature, you may want to ask the representative if you still need one for the solar heating system in which you are interested. Using a pool cover with the solar heat usually does not greatly impact energy costs or heating efficiency during normal use.

However, if you live in a region that sees a lot of cloudy and rainy days, you may benefit from having a pool cover. As discussed in the previous section, the solar collector and generator are used on days when the sun isn't shining, increasing the heater's need for electricity.

The pool cover can help trap the heat inside, reducing the heater's need to keep running and increasing its electrical consumption. You may want to ask the sales representative if they recommend an insulated cover, as well as ask them about recommendations about one ideal for your system.

The above questions should give you a starting point when gathering information about using a solar heater for your pool. As you speak with the sales representative, either ask other questions that come to mind or write down additional ones during your discussion. For more information, check out websites like