Swimming Pool Heater
The sun is a potentially infinite source of energy. Using a process called photosynthesis, plants convert solar energy into chemical energy. While plants have been doing this for eons, humans have barely begun to tap into this renewable energy source. One relatively easy way for a homeowner to start to harness the power of the sun is to install a solar swimming pool heater.
A solar swimming pool heater harnesses the energy provided by the sun to heat the water in your pool. Because solar heaters use the sun’s energy they do not have an operating cost.
A solar swimming pool heater uses solar collectors to heat the water. The collectors are placed in a location that receives full sun typically on the roof. Pool water passing through the collectors collect heat from the sun, is warmed, and then returned to the pool. Pool water is pumped through the collectors using the existing pool pump.
Some solar swimming pool heater systems have a valve that allows water to bypass the collectors and flow directly back to the pool if the water has reached a desired temperature. A typical collector system consists of four to five panels, where each panel is typically ten feet long and three feet wide. Overall the entire collector system will be about ten feet by twenty feet or about 200 square feet.
Solar swimming pool heater collectors are either glazed or unglazed. The sun produces ultraviolet radiation that can degrade materials over time. Glazed solar collectors are made of materials that can withstand the destructive radiation produced by the sun. They utilize materials such as copper and aluminum and are covered with glass that intensifies the heat produced by the sun and protects the components from ultraviolet radiation. Unglazed solar collectors are not covered with glass and are typically made of materials such as plastic or rubber that has been treated to protect them from ultraviolet light.
Unglazed collectors typically do not require as much cleaning as glazed collectors and are less expensive. The downside is that the will not last as long as glazed collectors.
Collectors should include freeze protection if they’ll be used in colder conditions. In colder weather, glazed collector systems capture heat more efficiently and can be used year-round in many climates.
Solar swimming pool heaters can be used to cool pool water at night when outside air is cool. At night the collectors transfer the heat held in the water to cold night air. A timer can be used to operate the pump during sunlight hours for heating and during evening hours when cooling.
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