FAFCO® SOLAR POOL HEATERS

Solar Powered Since 1969

FAFCO® has been designing and manufacturing solar thermal products in the United States for 50 years. Through advancements in water distribution, flow, and heat transfer, FAFCO®’s patented design technology has delivered solar pool heating collectors with the highest rated heating performance in the solar industry. If shear heating performance is your primary goal, FAFCO® is worth a serious look.

Oldest Solar Thermal Manufacturer in the U.S.

FAFCO® is the oldest solar thermal manufacturer in the United States with over 160,000 systems and more than 1,300,000 solar collectors installed worldwide.

The FAFCO® SunSaver™ panel is manufactured in Chico, California. The panel is a specially developed parallel, circular channel design manufactured from a highly stabilized polyolefin material.

Get the most out of your swimming pool!

FAFCO® solar pool heating dramatically extends your swimming season, enabling healthy enjoyment and exercise in luxurious warm water from spring to fall.

First-time pool owners are frequently surprised by how much traditional pool heaters cost to run. Because of this, many choose not to heat the pool at all, limiting its use to only the hottest days of summer. A FAFCO® solar pool heating system can cost less to install than a gas heater and it instantly adds value to your home and from then on, your heat is free from the sun.

FAFCO® solar pool heaters simply work — and work extremely well.

The premium quality, superior technology, and second-to-none performance of FAFCO® solar collectors lead the pack with the industries hottest performing panels.

Solar is the most economically attractive option for heating your pool and extending your swim season. Compared to systems that run on electricity, fuel oil or propane, FAFCO® systems feature:

  • The shortest payback period and highest return on investment.
  • The lowest operational costs due to free solar energy.
  • A longer lifespan, thanks to the components that neither move nor corrode.
  • Lower maintenance costs—minimal, if any.
  • The cleanest, safest and quietest source of energy.

THE SUNSAVER™ SYSTEM

FAFCO®'s High Performance Solar Pool Heater

SunSaver™ is the high-performance solar pool heating system that can heat your pool far beyond the few warm pool days of summer. Just as important, you won’t have to pay a dime in pool heating bills. Enjoy free heat from the sun and months more swimming fun with the oldest name in solar pool heating — FAFCO®.

  • Heat your pool to a warm, comfortable temperature with environment-friendly energy, free from the sun.
  • Extend your swim season with luxuriously warm water.
  • Dramatically reduce or eliminate pool heating costs.
  • Add value to your pool and to your home.
  • Perfect for heating either in-ground or above ground swimming pools.
  • May be either roof mounted or ground mounted.
  • Connects to existing pool equipment and filtration system.
  • Contains a larger 2-inch full-flow header pipe, preventing undue strain on your pool pump and increases overall efficiency.
  • Patented performance innovations exclusive to FAFCO® solar collectors.

PATENTED PERFORMANCE INNOVATIONS
Exclusive to FAFCO® Pool Solar Panels

Patented Water-Flow Metering System:

  • The most efficient metering system in the industry. A design exclusive to FAFCO® solar collectors.
  • Consists of an added “flow chamber” and “flow metering holes” between the header pipe and each individual collector tube.
  • This patented metering system eliminates hot and cold spots in each of the panels, and produces even water distribution throughout the entire system, ensuring maximum heating efficiency and optimum water pressure throughout the entire group of collectors.

Patented Fully-Wetted Surface Design:

  • SunSaver™ solar panels features nearly twice as many tubes per panel as compared to competitors.
  • Additional tubes means more water is heated by the sun, transferring virtually all available energy directly to the pool water.

MYTHS & MISINFORMATION
The Truth About FAFCO® Solar Panels

If you are diligently researching the various solar pool heating products and options, you have likely read many reviews on all your options for a solar heating solution for your swimming pool. Here, we will explain what is true, what is not, and what information is missing from the equation.

Don't Cut Corners & Costs - Follow the Installation Manual:

The primary aspect is quite simple, and understanding this will greatly impact your experience with a FAFCO® system. This is a high performance system that needs to be installed correctly or problems may arise. These panels have specific installation requirements that are very important for normal operation, and if neglected or disregarded, can be problematic down the road. This is not the system to just throw on your roof and hope for the best. These panels really do need to be installed in accordance with the manufacturers installation manual! (explained in detail below).

There is no way around it. The double edge sword of the performance enhancements that enable this panel to generate the significant heating results it does, also makes it more susceptible to complications if installed incorrectly. This is not the system to cut costs and corners on with the goal of installing more quickly or at a reduced expense.

Flexible PVC Expansion Joints:

FAFCO® solar collectors expand and contract quite a bit during normal operation. Additional steps for connecting the PVC plumbing to the system is required to accommodate for this thermal movement. The installation manual outlines a couple ways of achieving this and the extra step is critical and should not be ignored. DO NOT CUT COSTS AND AVOID THIS REQUIREMENT!

Proper Drainage is Extremely Important:

SunSaver™ solar collectors have far more tubes (packed very closely together) than other brands. One of FAFCO®'s performance innovations is geared at putting as much water as possible as close to the heat source as possible. It is critical that the panels be installed with a minimum of a 2”/12” slope to maintain uniform flow and drain properly! Installing these panels flat, or with plumbing that does not allow for gravity drainage will significantly increase the likelihood of freeze damaged riser tubes.

*If you are unable to achieve automatic drain down with your plumbing setup, make sure you install manual drain bibs at appropriate locations and drain the system whenever freezing temperatures are expected. This is explained in the installation manual.

About Warranty Concerns & Reviews:

As you have likely gathered, an incorrectly installed system can be problematic down the line. Systems that are not installed correctly are not covered by the manufacturer's warranty and such claims would need to be resolved by the installer.

If you are going to have your system installed professionally, make sure to do your due diligence on the company completing the install, not just the system being installed.

What About D.I.Y? If you decide to complete the installation yourself, FAFCO® will honor the warranty provided the system is installed in accordance with their manual.

Concluding Points - Is FAFCO® The Right Choice For You?

When the measures above are taken and the installation manual followed properly, our experience has shown that customers are extremely happy with their system and note heating results that are sometimes hard to believe. When these measures are not followed and systems are not installed or plumbed correctly, the results can be rather unfortunate.

If you are looking for a system you can quickly throw up and not have to worry about, FAFCO® is probably not the right choice for you. If your goals prioritize heating performance and you are the attentive type who is willing to spend the extra time and make sure the installation is completed properly, FAFCO® is worth a serious look.

Oldest & Largest Solar Thermal Manufacturer in the U.S.

Patented Water-Flow Metering System

FAFCO Water Flow Metering System

Almost Twice as Many Tubes Per Panel
(Hover-Over For Closeup View)

FAFCO Fully Wetted Surface

When Its All Done Right, It's Perfect.

FAFCO Metal Seam Roof Mount

FAFCO® Solar Panels

SunSaver™ Solar Pool Heater
FAFCO®'S High-Performance Solar Collector

Need Multiple Panels?
Installing a Complete System?

SAVE BIG WITH A D.I.Y. KIT!

IT ALL STARTED WITH FAFCO®

Leading the Industry

FAFCO Leading The Solar Industry

The Pioneer of Modern Solar Pool Heating

How solar pool heating became what it is today.

In 1969, there were no successful solar businesses, and FAFCO® founders Freeman A. Ford and Richard O. Rhodes sought to change that. The standard they set back then remains the same today: any new FAFCO® product must be practical, efficient, and above all, make economic sense.

In the beginning, the few existing solar water heating system used heavy, expensive “copper glass” collectors. FAFCO®’s first breakthrough was developing a proprietary copolymer blend material that was inexpensive, easy to install, and could withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight, heat and pressure. The second breakthrough was the collector panel design, featuring many small, closely spaced tubes that efficiently transferred thermal energy into water. Within a matter of years, FAFCO® was the largest purveyor of solar pool heating systems in the United States.

In 1998, After witnessing FAFCO®’s success in solar pool heating, the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory approached FAFCO® with an exciting challenge: to jointly develop the world’s first lightweight, affordable solar heating system for household water. FAFCO® accepted the challenge, and in 2007, introduced a solar hot water system capable of reducing water heating bills by up to 50%—even more in some applications.

In a history spanning over four decades, FAFCO® has earned nearly 30 U.S. patents. FAFCO®’s achievements in solar technology have been widely recognized with a variety of industry awards and even a feature in Newsweek magazine’s “History of Solar” in 2008. Today, FAFCO® remains confident that with time and technology, it will achieve its ultimate goal of putting solar energy within reach of every household.

First To:

  • Introduce solar heating to swimming pools.
  • Develop all polymer solar pool heating panels.
  • Provide comprehensive product warranty.
  • Install 2,000,000 solar panels.
  • Invest in product performance innovation, resulting in the hottest performing panels in the industry
  • Offer award winning POP materials for retail stores.
  • Custom build a state-of-the art dedicated Solar R&D and manufacturing facility.
  • Provide a complete product line of solar pool heating panels, including solid body panels, separated tube panels and above ground pool systems.

Seeing Is Believing

FAFCO Infrared Photos: Seeing Is Belieivng

Why FAFCO®?

  • Pioneered solar pool heating industry in 1969.
  • Over 2 Million panels installed worldwide.
  • Fully wetted surface places more water in touch with sun’s energy.
  • 21 patents, international and domestic.
  • Patented flow metering system.
  • FAFCO® has been blending and extruding its own solar panel materials longer than any other company in the business.
  • State-of-the-art roof mounting system.

How Many Panels Do I Need?

To find out precisely what size system (how many panels) will adequately heat your swimming pool and provide the results your looking for, see our informational page: "How to Size Your System".

Here we discuss all the factors that should be considered when planning your solar pool heating system. We will walk you through the planning phases, step by step, and help you identify the best setup for your pool, climate zone & heating goals.

What Parts Do I Need?

Panel Kit (Collector Pack)

  • Contains the parts necessary for installing a solar pool panel to a supporting surface and making water connections from one panel to another.
  • (1) panel kit is required for each solar panel.

Row Kit (Bank Pack)

  • Contains the parts necessary for making water connections from a row of solar pool heating panels to the systems supply and return plumbing lines. Also contains the parts necessary to aid in gravity drainage of the panels and piping.
  • (1) row kit is required for each row of solar panels.

Row Spacer Kit (Split Pack)

  • Contains the parts necessary to bypass mounting surface obstructions larger than 6" such as roof vents, skylights and exhaust fans. Allows connection of PVC pipe between the panels to provide proper clearance of the obstruction. Row Spacer Kits are also used to connect collectors into one row that are on different roof levels or that are facing different directions.

Repair Tool Kit

  • In the event a collector is damaged and incurs a pinhole leak, this kit contains everything needed to make a repair to the damaged riser tube.

D.I.Y. SYSTEM KITS

Take the guess work out with one of our DIY system kits. Each kit contains everything you need.

  • Install your chosen number of solar panels in a single row. *If the system is being broken-up into multiple rows, one additional row kit will be required for each added row. Please contact us if you need assistance with multi-bank / custom systems.
  • Mount solar panels to your preferred installation surface; roof or rack.
  • Make water connections to and from each panel.
    • Make water connections to your supply and return plumbing lines.
    • Allow for gravity drainage of the panels and piping when the pump is turned off (water drains back to your pool through the supply plumbing line).

What Parts are Included in the Kit?

The following installation hardware is included in a FAFCO® DIY kit. The row kit and panel kits are always included while the row spacer kit is sold separately.

Panel Kit

  • Contains the parts necessary for installing a solar pool panel to a supporting surface and making water connections from one panel to another.
  • (1) panel kit is included for each solar panel.

Row Kit

  • Contains the parts necessary for making water connections from a row of solar pool heating panels to the systems supply and return plumbing lines. Also contains the parts necessary to aid in gravity drainage of the panels and piping.
  • (1) row kit is included for each system.

Each Installation Hardware Kit Includes:

Panel Kit

  • (4) Hose Clamp, ST/ST, #40
  • (2) Rubber Coupling, Short, 3 1/2″
  • (5) Dacron Strap, Cut, 65″L
  • (1) Dacron Strap, Cut, 32″L
    (7) Tie Down Cap
  • (7) Tie Down Base

Row Kit

    • (6) Hose Clamp, ST/ST, #40
    • (2) Rubber Coupling, Long, 5″
    • (1) Rubber Coupling, Short, 3 1/2″
    • (1) Dacron Strap, Cut, 32″L
    • (7) Tie Down Cap
    • (7) Tie Down Base
      (1) Vacuum Relief Valve, CPVC
    • (1) Plug, CPVC, Machined
    • (2) Adapter, Female, CPVC
    • (1) Bank Pack Instructions

Which Size System Do I Need?

The most relevant aspect of sizing a system is based on the square footage of your pool. We typically recommend anywhere from 50%-100% solar panel to pool square foot coverage based on a number of different variables including, weather, shade, install direction, wind, climate region, performance expectations, etc. For example, if your pool is 500 square feet, then 50% coverage would be 250 square feet of panels, 75% coverage would be 375 square feet of panels, etc. From there it is selecting a panel size that fits your installation area.

To find out precisely what size system (how many panels) will adequately heat your pool and provide the results your looks for, see our page on "How to Size Your System". All the factors are discussed and we will help you identify the best system for your pool, climate zone & heating goals.