Tag: Pool Heater

Does a Pool Heat Up Faster With or Without the Solar Blanket On

Solar Blankets for Your PoolOne of the questions we received about our solar blanket series was “does a pool heat up faster with or without the solar blanket on”? The answer is clearly yes. If you live in a climate were you get a lot of sun the pool will heat very quickly and you will save lots of energy too! In fact if you have hot days and warm nights there is a good chance that you will not need to use your solar blanket all of the time. The pool will stay warm especially with warm summer nights without the solar blanket. There are other benefits as well to using a solar blanket. Here they are:

  • Pool heats up faster
  • Your pool water retains the heat during cool evenings and days
  • Pool water evaporation is reduced
  • Chemical depletion of chlorine is also reduced
  • Protection of your liner from UV rays extends the life of your liner

Pool heats up faster

The pool definitely heats up faster with the solar blanket on than off. All you need to do to test this statement is leave the blanket on during the middle of the day and watch the temperature go up.

In fact we turn off the pool pump during the day to conserve electricity and the top foot of water in our pool actually gets hot. What a pleasant experience to get into a pool when the top foot of water is around 100 F and the rest of the pool is around 80 F! It is so great to float in the top foot of water and enjoy hot tub water without actually being in one. If you just float the water does not mix and just stays hot!

We will leave the solar blanket on the pool until around 1pm and then remove it to go swimming.  Of course if the kids or family want to swim earlier we don’t stop them but if we are not using the pool the solar blanket stays on to gain those extra degrees.

Pool water retains the heat during cool evenings and days

If you get a cool day or your evenings are cool, the temperature of the water will drop quickly in your pool. Leave your blanket on the pool to keep the heat from escaping during these cool hours. Monitor the chlorine levels closely to avoid build up of algae and shock the pool every few days. You will also use less chlorine as well.

Pool water evaporation is reduced

With the solar blanket on the pool the amount of evaporation from the pool is much less. You will find that you will have to add much less water to the pool due to evaporation during dry summer periods and hot sunny days. We once had so much evaporation that I thought there was a leak somewhere. As soon as I placed the solar blanket on the pool, I noticed much less evaporation of the pool water.

Chemical depletion of chlorine is also reduced

The same thing applies to depletion of the chlorine in the pool. With the suns rays unable to penetrate the pool water, the chlorine in the water remains to continue to do its job of fighting bacteria in the water.

Protection of your line from UV rays

Your pool liner like all vinyls is subject to deterioration over time due to UV rays from the sun. With the solar blanket on, there are less rays hitting your liner which will allow it to last much longer. Of course you will have to replace your solar blanket every 3 to 5 years since it will deteriorate due to the chemicals and the suns rays. But this is a much lower cost than replacing  the liner of a pool. Our liner is around 20 years old now and I maintain that it is solely due to the solar blanket. I have heard lots of people replacing the blanket after 10 years because the vinyl becomes brittle and cracks from the constant sun. A new liner can cost five to ten thousand dollars depending on the size of the pool. A solar blanket will cost around $300, a big difference.

Solar blankets have a lot of advantages in addition to conserving electricity which is what this web site is all about. Your comments are welcome.


Solar Panel Pool Heaters

Our last post was about solar blankets as a means of keeping your pool warm during the summer months. So we thought we would follow it up  solar-panel-heater-for-poolwith a post about solar panel pool heaters  for pools. They also will heat your pool, however they work very differently and cost a bit more. Again you are minimizing the impact on energy use and therefore reducing your cost as well as impact on the environment.

Solar Panel Pool Heaters – How Do They Work

Solar Panel Pool Heaters involve pumping water from the pool to the solar collectors where the water is heated by the sun. The warm water is then pumped back into the swimming pool allowing you to enjoy your pool for many months, and in some areas all year long depending on your location.

The basics of  solar pool heating systems include the following major items:

Solar collector — the device that pool water is circulated to be heated by the sun

Flow control valve — automatic or manual device that diverts pool water through the solar collector.

Filter — standard with all pools and removes debris before water is pumped through the collector

Pump — also standard with all pools and circulates water through the filter and collector and back to the pool

Solar panel pool heaters system can be as complex or as simple as you want them, all it costs is money. Manual systems are the least expensive and require the operator to manually turn a valve to cause water to be circulated through the solar collectors. solar roof panel pool heaterAutomated electronic systems will monitor the temperature of the water coming from the solar collectors and when it is warmer than the pool water, will open the valve automatically. It will also shut the valve to stop water from going through the collectors if the water from the collectors is colder than the pool.

Solar Panel Pool Heaters System Types

Solar panel pool heaters collectors are made out of different materials. The type you’ll need depends on your climate and how you intend to use the collector. If you’ll only be using your pool when temperatures are above freezing, then you’ll probably only need an unglazed collector system.

Unglazed Solar Pool Heating Collectors

Unglazed collectors are far less expensive than glazed collectors. Unglazed collectors are generally made of heavy-duty rubber or plastic treated with an ultraviolet (UV) light inhibitor to extend the life of the panels. These unglazed systems can even work for indoor pools in cold climates if the system is designed to drain back to the pool when not in use.

Glazed Solar Pool and Water Heating Collectors

Glazed collector systems are generally made of copper tubing on an aluminum plate with an iron-tempered glass covering, which increases their cost. In colder weather, glazed collector systems—with heat exchangers and transfer fluids—capture solar heat more efficiently than unglazed systems. Therefore, they can be used year-round in many climates.

Either system should be protected from freezing if they’ll be used in colder conditions.

Selecting a Solar Pool Heater

An unglazed solar pool heating system usually costs between $3,000 and $4,000 to buy and install. This provides a payback of between 1.5 and 7 years, depending on length of time you use the pool each year and  your local fuel heating costs.  Compared to a solar blanket, solar collectors are much more expensive. They also typically last longer than gas and heat pump pool heaters. Your actual cost and payback depend on many factors.

Before you install a solar collector of either type, evaluate the following:

  • Evaluate your site’s solar resource, location, hours of direct sun , etc
  • Determine the correct system size based on your pool and site selection
  • Determine the system’s efficiency
  • Compare system costs
  • Investigate local codes, covenants, and regulations
  • Contact a local company for additional information /assistance

Installing and Maintaining

The proper installation of a solar pool heating system depends on many factors such as :

  • Solar resource,
  • Climate,
  • Local building code requirements, and
  • Safety issues.
  • Ability to do it yourself vs. hiring an expert

Your solar collector should not require a lot of maintenance, other than cleaning once in a while and draining in cold winter months.

Benefits of Solar Pool Heating

  • Can extend swimming season up to 12 months depending on location
  • Ave. temp. rise up to 15-20º
  • Has no operating costs
  • No pollution, no fuel needed
  • Usually last 20+ years, with proper care
  • Relatively Quick and easy installation
  • Minimal maintenance required

Common Questions

How does the weather affect the performance of the Panels?

Cloudy days and rain will typically reduce the heating efficiency of the panels.

 


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