Must You Construct Your Own Solar Swimming Pool Heater?

From the operators of — providing education regarding how to make a homemade solar panel, solar powered, and solar hot water.

Building your own solar swimming pool heater is a fantastic do-it-yourself project if you want to add solar to your house.  You will not need to buy a lot of high-priced equipment or tools.  And you will not need highly specialized skills.  Here is a fundamental explanation of the process and benefits so you can decide if you want to tackle it.

The project payback time can be as short as 2 years in terms of energy savings.  This is because you will be saving the cost of gas to heat your pool.  And the cost of materials for building a solar pool heater is lower than with most other solar projects. You will also be saving the cost of installation if you decide to go ahead and do that yourself.

You will need to buy only a few simple components: solar collectors, piping, a controller and a diverter valve.  You will not need to build or buy a storage container, since your pool already stores the water.  And you will not need to get, build or install a circulating pump, since your solar pool heater will use your pool’s circulating pump.

Here’s a straightforward explanation of how the system works.  The water from the pool gets pumped into the solar collector, gets heated by the sun and gets pumped back into the pool. This is called an open loop design.  The controller allows you to select the warmest temperature you want the pool to reach.  And the diverter valve either sends water back to the pool if it is already warm enough, or over to the collector to be heated as required.  

The solar collector is a simple system of black polypropylene UV-resistant tubing.  The choice of materials is important so that the tubing doesn’t break down from exposure to the sun or from exposure from the chlorine in the pool.  The suitable materials will last up to 20 years.

Although it is attractive to think of doing it all yourself, including making the solar collector, it is really easier and more cost effective to purchase ready made collectors for your project.  The reason is that adhesives will not stick to polypropylene, and the equipment you would need to thermal weld it would cost more than buying the ready-made collectors.  What’s more, experts advise against using a cheaper rubber or plastic tubing that will break down too quickly because of exposure to the sun and chlorine.

If you decide that you really want to install your solar pool heating system yourself, the easiest method is to buy a kit.  You will still need to design measure and install your system.  And you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your efforts for years afterwards.

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