Owning a swimming pool may seem like a luxury, but there are various pain points that owners have to manage as well. Arguably one of the biggest challenges is keeping water temperatures comfortable for swimming during pool seasons. Water heaters can help keep temperatures comfortable and extend pool season, but conventional systems tend to be costly to run and install.
Solar pool heaters offer all the benefits of conventional electric heat pumps and gas heaters, but rather than relying on the power grid or natural resources, they do so using renewable solar energy. A solar pool heating system doesn't just have environmental benefits, but it can also offer long-term cost savings on utility bills. And in addition to facilitating a comfortable swimming experience and extending pool season, they can also help increase property value.
At Solar Pool Supply, it's our mission to provide the highest level of customer care and supply industry-leading, high-quality products for both inground and above-ground pools. As a customer-focused business, we partner with our clients every step of the way - from initial design to brand selection to installation. Contact us today to learn more about our services and the industry-leading brands we carry or read on for more information.
Top 5 Best Solar Pool Heaters for 2023
With so many different products available on the market, it’s hard to know which solar pool heaters are the best in the business. At Solar Pool Supply, we only carry top of the line products to ensure that whatever solar heater you choose is guaranteed to be quality and reliable. Our selection of the top five best solar pool heaters includes:
SwimJoy - best overall
SwimLux - best in cloudy/windy/low sun lit areas
Heliocol - most used by solar pool heater installers
SwimEasy - best performance for your money
SwimEasy TT - best complete hybrid package for medium above ground pools or small inground pools (connects to both flexible pool hose and PVC pipe)
Solar pool heaters harness the power of the sun. They do so by transferring heat that's collected via either ground-level or rooftop solar panels to the pool water. Water is pumped through a filter and circulated through a series of tubes that transfer this heat back to the pool water.
A typical solar heating system consists of a flow control valve, check valve, sand filter and a pool pump. Sensors work to detect the temperature of the water and compare it to the desired temperature. If the pool's water is cooler than the desired temperature, the flow control valve will work to divert water from the swimming pool through the solar collectors. The collectors' heating panels will warm the water and then return it to the pool. If the pool water is either at or exceeds the desired temperature, the control valves will not divert water through the solar collectors for warming.
Solar pool heaters don't use electrical energy to heat pool water. Instead, they use thermal energy fueled by the sun. And while the overall heating operation is similar to that of a conventional pool heater, the cost savings can be significant over time. The sustainability benefits associated with a solar heater can also help a property keep its carbon footprint in check.
Pros and Cons of Using Solar Pool Heaters
The two biggest advantages to using solar heaters are utility savings and eco-friendly benefits. According to the Department of Energy, solar pool heaters tend to cost $3,000 to $7,500 for the unit and up to another $2,000 to install, and most property owners break even on this investment in utility savings within about seven years. A quality solar heating system should last upwards of 20 years and tends to require little to no maintenance - two other key benefits of these systems.
A conventional heat pump usually costs less to install, but may cost up to $1,200 per year in utility costs. And with energy prices increasing, these costs are likely to increase further over time, potentially representing even greater savings for solar heaters.
One disadvantage of solar pool heaters is that their effectiveness is largely dependent on sunlight and climate. Since they rely on the sun to work, they're going to heat your pool most effectively when it's sunny out.
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Solar Pool Heater
One of the biggest factors you'll have to weigh when deciding on a solar water heating system is its size. This is largely determined by the size of your pool. Generally speaking, the surface area of your solar collectors should be at least half the surface area of your pool. For example, if you have a 300-square-foot pool, you should have at least 150 square feet worth of solar collection space. However, if you want your pool heated faster and more efficiently, high-end solar collection that matches the pool's total surface area is recommended.
Other factors to consider when choosing a solar water heater include:
- Climate: Solar heaters rely on the sun's energy to heat your pool. Solar collectors should be placed in an area that receives a lot of sunlight. South-facing homes tend to be the most ideal.
- Budget: Though solar heaters often pay for themselves in utility savings over time, their upfront cost tends to be more significant than a conventional heat pump.
Factors to Consider
Consider the size of your pool and the size of the solar heater to ensure it will be sufficient.
Look for a solar heater with a high efficiency rating to maximize the amount of heat generated.
Choose a solar heater made from durable materials, such as UV-resistant plastic, to ensure it will last a long time.
Type of collectors
Consider the type of collectors the solar heater uses, either flat plate or evacuated tube, and decide which is best for your situation.
Determine whether you will require professional installation or if you can do it yourself.
Solar heaters can have a wide range of prices, so consider your budget and choose the best option within it.
Consider how much maintenance the solar heater will require, including cleaning and repairs.
Type of pool
Determine whether your pool is above-ground or in-ground, as this may affect which type of solar heater you should choose.
Consider the climate in your area to determine how much energy the solar heater will generate throughout the year.
Look for a solar heater with a good warranty to ensure you're covered if anything goes wrong.
What to Know Before You Buy a Solar Pool Heater
Now that we've gone over the basics of solar pool heaters and how they work, let's spend some time talking about some of the other factors that you need to know before you invest in a system. Read on to learn more about the benefits of using Solar Pool Supply as your vendor of choice and more on the installation and maintenance of solar systems.
Benefits of using Solar Pool Supply Solar Pool Heaters
There are a variety of key benefits to working with Solar Pool Supply for your solar heating needs. For instance:
- We only carry high-quality products from industry-leading brands: We're committed to quality so you can ensure you maximize the return on investment of your solar heater. This starts with carrying only the best brands. SwimJoy, SwimLux, Heliocol, SwimEasy and TripleThreat are some of the brands we stock.
- We're dedicated to energy efficiency: There's no more efficient and environmentally responsible way to heat your pool than with a solar heater. By using renewable energy from the sun rather than tapping into the electric grid, you're sustainably heating your pool water and keeping your carbon footprint in check. This doesn't just save you money on your energy bill, but helps the environment as well.
- We're committed to exceptional customer service: When you contact our firm, you'll speak with one of our trained agents - and we're committed to answering any and all of your questions. If you catch us after hours, we commit to responding to all calls or emails within 24 hours. It's part of the Solar Pool Supply difference. We're also always standing by to provide live support during your installation should you have any questions along the way.
- We have dozens of testimonials from satisfied customers: We have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for good reason. We're always happy to share testimonials from satisfied customers or put you in touch with a customer who has worked with us if you want more information about what it's like to work with Solar Pool Supply. And we're always looking to continuously improve our business based on your feedback. It's all part of our customer value proposition.
Installation and Maintenance of Solar Pool Heaters
While you can always hire a professional to install your solar heater, many of the systems we carry can also be installed by any handy homeowner. All of our systems come with a detailed instruction manual for do-it-yourselfers and many are installed with some basic tools and hardware. After you do the necessary prep work and determine where you're going to be mounting the solar collectors, the rest of the system can be installed. While we always advise referring to the manufacturer's installation manual, the installation process tends to follow a similar path for most systems:
- Mount the brackets and install the solar collectors.
- Run piping from the collectors based on either reverse return or direct return system design. There should be both entrance pipes that bring water through the panels from the pool and exit pipes that take heated water and distribute it back into the pool.
- Install the necessary valves to regulate flow.
- Sensors need to be connected to the solar control box.
- Test for flow rate.
One other nice benefit of solar heaters is that they're relatively easy to care for and maintain. Most troubleshooting involves easily correctable issues and the system is easily winterized when the pool is not in use. It's recommended that systems are periodically inspected to ensure they can continue to operate at peak efficiency and maximize return on investment.
Solar Pool Heaters FAQ
Is there a pool heater that runs on solar power?
Yes! Solar pool heaters heat pool water using the solar energy from the sun and don't rely on the power grid like a conventional heat pump. Solar Pool Supply carries leading solar pool water heater brands for your home pool.Do solar pool heaters work in winter?
Solar pool heaters work best in direct sunlight and sunny weather conditions, but they'll still work on cloudy days or during cold weather months, albeit not as effectively as they would during the summer. If you're wondering how many solar panels you need to increase your heating capacity during colder months, calculate your pool's surface area and aim to get enough solar panels to match 85%-100% of this area.Are solar heaters for pools any good?
Absolutely! Though they tend to cost more upfront than a conventional heat pump, they can save homeowners thousands of dollars per year in utility costs since they're powered by the sun and not the power grid. Most solar heaters pay for themselves within seven years after installation. Considering systems can last for upwards of 20 years, the return on investment can be significant.How much do solar pool heaters cost?
On average, a solar pool heater costs anywhere from $3,000 to $7,500 - but the cost is largely dependent on the size of your pool and the size of the system you need. While this upfront cost tends to be more than a conventional heat pump, solar heaters can save pool owners potentially tens of thousands of dollars in utility costs over their lifespan. Considering the rising cost of utilities, these savings could be even more significant in the future. They also offer a sustainable water heating alternative to conventional heat pumps.
Choose Solar Pool Supply for Top-Quality, Energy-Efficient Solar Pool Heaters
Solar pool heaters are the cost-effective, sustainable alternative to conventional pool heating - and Solar Pool Supply is your one-stop source for industry-leading systems and parts and accessories. Contact Solar Pool Supply today for more information on the benefits of solar pool heaters and to browse our selection of systems and accessories.