How Can Your Pool Can Benefit from Solar Energy?
Solar power is a very popular choice among homeowners who want to generate their own cheap, clean energy and save money on their bills. Recent developments in solar energy have made it a go-to alternative to fossil fuels and it is something we can all benefit from in our homes. Although it has been around for a rather long time, solar energy is something which more and more homeowners are investing in as the technology develops.
Solar energy has many applications and it can even be used to heat or clean your swimming pool! In fact, this is one of the most popular applications of solar power and a proper solar energy rig can heat your pool all year round, even during the winter, with free and clean energy.
There are many benefits associated with using solar energy to heat up your swimming pool:
- Depending on where you are located, you can heat your pool for the entirety of the year;
- After its initial installation, there are no additional costs associated with heating your swimming pool;
- Solar heaters are very simple to have installed and they last much longer than traditional gas-reliant pool heaters;
- Solar panels are very easy to install and can be placed on the roof of your home, pool house or in your garden; and
- They are environmentally-friendly, will cut your energy bills down (heating a pool isn’t cheap!) and can even provide you with surplus energy for your home.
You do not have to live in a constantly sunny location to heat your pool with solar power, either. Solar panels work even when it is cloudy or overcast because thermal energy is not blocked by clouds. The best environment for solar panels is a mixture of strong sunshine and cloudy, rainy days, because rain helps clean your solar panels and keep them performing at their optimum.
How It Works
Most pool heating systems which rely on solar energy work in the same or a similar way, and they can significantly reduce the cost of heating a swimming pool, being very cost-competitive with both gas and heat pump heating solutions.
Many solar heating systems consist of the following elements:
- a solar collector through which water circulates to be heated;
- a filter which removes debris from the water;
- a pump which circulates the water through the filter; and
- a flow-control valve which sends pool water through the solar collector.
First, your pool’s water is pumped through the water and then through the solar collector where it gets heated up to your desired temperature before being returned to the pool. It is a very simple contraption which works quickly, efficiently and cheaply.
A solar pool heater cannot just warm up your pool’s water, though, it can even cool water down during the summer months when you don’t want to be swimming in warm water. The solar collector’s temperature setting is controlled by you, so you decide whether you want warm or cold water.
Choosing a Solar Energy Heater for Your Pool
Although the costs of buying and having your solar pool heater installed can be quite high, these costs can very quickly be recovered through your energy bills. Depending on how much your energy bills are, you could expect to break even on your investment within five years. Pools are not exactly a short-term commodity and you will have it for several years, so it makes financial sense to install a solar pool heater.
Before you go ahead and purchase a solar pool heater, you should take the following into account:
- Evaluate your need for the solar pool heater;
- Research what size heater you will need;
- Determine where it will need to be placed (orientation and tilt are key);
- Consider how efficient the system will be; and
- Try to get a rough idea of how drastically the solar heater will reduce your bills.
Most importantly, however, is how much sun your home or land gets. If you do not get a lot of direct sunlight, the efficiency of your solar heater will not be very high, and it will take longer to break even on your energy bills. The efficiency of a solar heater very much so depends on how much of the sun’s energy will reach your solar heater.
Because a solar pool heater is a long-term investment which lasts longer than traditional pool heaters, it is a worthwhile investment in any case. The whole point of an investment is for it to pay off in the long-term, so even if it takes ten years, it is still a long-term saving and more money in your pocket. In addition to this, it is a clean way to heat your pool and do your bit for the environment.