Pool girl

Solar Swimming Pool Heaters

So you want to know if solar pool heaters are right for your swimming pool. Maybe you have heated your pool with a traditional heater before and now want to make the move to a solar heater. In any case, we will provide you with detailed information about solar pool heaters to help you make a decision. 

We harvest the sun's energy in 2 primary ways: water heating with solar collectors and electricity through PV panels. Of these 2 methods, solar water heating has a better ratio of money saved on electricity bills vs initial investment than PV panels. The 2 main types of solar water heaters are active heaters and passive heaters. Active solar heater systems in addition to solar collectors have a pump and an electrically powered controller to automatically turn on and off the pump for maximal effectiveness. Passive heaters, on the other hand, don't require a pump in the heating system. Consequently, passive heater system is cheaper and has fewer moving parts. On the downside, it's less versatile. Active solar heaters have higher efficiency and can work in diverse weather conditions.

After you've made your choice between active and passive solar heaters you have 2 more options to choose from: direct or indirect heater systems. Direct systems are open-loop systems - the water is fed into the system, circulates and gets heated then the hot water is drawn from the system for household needs. Indirect systems have an isolated system with constantly recirculating secondary liquid. It is a closed-loop system because it heats up the fluids like glycol or antifreeze in a closed-loop environment then heats the water up via heat exchangers. Indirect systems are designed for cold weathers to avoid water freezing. The added benefit of operating in subzero temperatures comes in a higher cost of these heaters.

How Do Solar Pool Heaters Work?

The main components of a solar heating system are: 

  • solar collector(s) - this is quite obviously the most important component of the system. A solar collector gets mounted on the roof or it can be left on the ground in the tilted position.
  • Piping system - Pipes provide for water circulation between the solar collector and swimming pool. Heated water from solar collector flows into the pool through the pipes. If on the other hand water needs to be cooled down like in peak temperature summer seasons then water can be pumped into the collectors at night where it cools down and flows back into the pool
  • Pump - Pump is needed to push the water up towards the solar collectors.
  • Water valves - to control the water flow
  • Filter - to filter debris out of the water

Solar collectors can prove useful not only for heating your pool but also providing hot water to your home. Solar collectors can be of 2 types:

  • glazed - these collectors are covered with iron-tempered glass which significantly increases its cost. It is made to withstand cold temperatures and is more efficient in winter than unglazed collectors.
  • unglazed - these collectors are made of heavy-duty rubber and plastic and in general are more affordable.

Both glazed and unglazed solar heaters need freeze protection to withstand harsh winters.

GAME 4721 SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater for Intex

GAME 4721 SolarPRO Curve Solar Pool Heater

Main Features:

  • Heats 5 degrees F in 4 days
  • The curved area makes it more conducive to heat
  • Works both for above-ground and most in-ground pools
  • Multiple units can be connected for added heat generation
  • Comes with necessary hoses, nuts and bolts for installation
  • Dimensions: 30.7 x 30.7 x 15.35 inches
  • Weight: 35 pounds
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 90-day

GAME SolarPRO Curve is made from a durable blow-mold plastic frame and covered with a clear acrylic sheet to ward off the winds that decrease its temperature. The heater works with a filter of max 1 HP power. You may need several units depending on your pool size. To connect multiple units you must use GAME Bypass Kit sold separately. Curve solar heater requires a pump-operated filter to circulate water. Hoses going from filter to the pool and vice-versa are also required. Curve heater will sit between the pump/filter and the pool.

Pros Cons
Easy to install and pack for winter Sometimes connections drip despite tightening
Heats the water as expected if the recommended conditions are met: a) run the pump only during sunny hours b) use pool cover at night c) as a rule of thumb use 1 unit per 4k gallons of water

Kokido Keops Solar Dome Above Ground Pool Water Heater

Kokido Keops Solar Dome Pool Heater

Main Features:

  • Includes a cover for storage when not used, 4 ft hoses, fittings and clamps
  • For above ground pools
  • One heater can heat a pool with up to 2640 gallon (10k liter) water
  • Dimensions: 22 x 22 x 12.6 inches
  • Weight: 14.9 pounds
  • Manufacturer warranty: 30-day

Kokido Keops can be adjusted to receive the most sunlight thanks to integrated racking. Several of Dome heaters can be connected in series.

Pros Cons
A well-built product Raises the water temperature for several degrees
Easy assembly Only for above ground pools

No legs