A solar pool heater is a device that uses energy from the sun to heat the pool water.
Most people prefer swimming in pools with such systems as they have predictable and reliable temperatures.
Solar pool heater installation is pocket-friendly as there is little maintenance required, and they are as efficient as the other water heaters.
How exactly do solar pool heaters work?
Solar pool systems work similarly to traditional water heating systems. The difference is in the source of energy that they utilize to propel water inside them.
Solar pool heating systems come with solar collectors as an integral part of their functioning. These are quite similar to photovoltaic panels that are commonly found in conventional solar panels.
You can mount solar energy collectors on your roof or the ground next to the swimming pool. Solar collectors feature tubes as opposed to photovoltaic panels.
The primary function of these collectors is to convey water that is coming from the swimming pool. When water passes through the tubes in the solar connectors, it absorbs heat from the solar collector, consequently increasing the pool’s temperature.
In addition, it is good to take note that before the water gets into the solar collectors, all debris and water contaminants are removed through a screen to ensure that it is clean.
In your search for the best solar pool heater for your pool, you will come across some models with highly automated sensors.
Automated sensors monitor the water temperature to ensure that it is according to your preferences.
For instance, when the temperature is too hot, the automatic sensors close the valves to ensure that water from the pool is not heated any further.
The system ensures that you always enjoy the right temperature when at the pool.
Benefits of installing a solar pool heating system
- When you install a solar pool heater, you will utilize free energy from the sun which greatly cuts down on energy costs. You will only spend money when you buy the heating and during the installation process after which there are no maintenance costs.
- It is eco-friendly because its energy source is natural and does not emit harmful substances into the atmosphere.
- You don’t have to pay a single penny for maintenance. A solar heater runs efficiently and can go up to 15 – 20 years or extend its lifespan to 30 years.
- Their usage is enjoyable as they are quiet.
- Using a solar heater can extend the swim season. Unlike other heaters that stay for three to four months, a solar heater can extend the swim session for a few more months.
10 Best solar pool heaters
In light of the numerous benefits that solar pool heaters have, you may be considering getting one for your swimming pool.
However, the process of getting the best one for your backyard may be quite challenging given the numerous models from different manufacturers available in the market today.
With all this in mind, we have made an extra step, to compile a list of the top ten best solar pool heaters to enable you to find the best one for your pool. Without saying much, let us plunge in…
Fafco Solar Bear Economy Heating System
Fafco has gained a solid reputation among shoppers for the production of superior quality swimming pool solar heating products.
This particular model is made using high-quality polyethylene material that is UV stabilized, making it highly durable through multiple seasons under intense sunlight.
The Fafco solar bear economy heating system comes with a highly efficient solar panel that effectively collects energy from the sun to raise the temperature of your pool.
The product is straightforward to install, and the manufacturer includes a user manual for you to understand the entire process. It comes in a large, so it is easy to install it on the ground or if you so wish your rack or the roof. It measures 4 ft. X 20 ft.
That ensures it collects as much sunlight as possible. The manufacturer advises users to tilt the solar panel at an angle of about twenty to forty-five degrees Celsius towards the south to ensure that they obtain optimal heating as well as efficiency.
You will be impressed by the fact that this pool heater can produce a maximum of 80,000 BTUs of heat each day and that the manufacturer offers a ten-year warranty to guarantee its quality.
- Features durable UV resistant design
- Ensures easy installation as there is no need for connectors
- Impressive warranty
- Comes with oversized headers to facilitate maximum heat transfer as well as heat transfer
- The large solar panel requires lots of installation space
- Some users have reported tube leaks
The GAME 4714 SolarPRO heater
This product is designed by Game and features a dome design that makes it a great addition to your swimming pool.
The dome shape ensures it takes up minimal space as opposed to a large flat panel. It is also highly portable.
The curved design also increases energy collection as compared to flat models.
This solar pool heater can heat a maximum of 10000 gallons of water by 5 degrees Fahrenheit in about seven days.
In addition, the heater comes with adjustable and easily foldable legs to make it easier for users to tilt it in an ideal position for optimal energy transfer to your swimming pool.
The most impressive thing about this product is probably the fact that it is highly affordable and incredibly easy to install.
- Unique dome design for maximum heat collection
- Fairly priced
- Easy to install
- Highly portable due to its small weight
- Includes adjustable legs
- Users with large or medium-sized pools require more heaters
- The legs are quite fragile and may break easily
Smartpool S601P Solar Heating System
The smart pool S601P solar heater is an ideal option for users looking to increase the temperature for larger pools.
It comes with 80 square feet of solar panels, which is excellent for rooftop swimming pool heater set-ups. You can add more solar panels if your swimming pool is enormous.
This product is made using heavy-duty polypropylene material to ensure its durability. This solar swimming pool heater has a profound ability to spike the water temperature between 6 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit every day.
This smart pool water heater features a direct flow system together with one header hole for every heating tube.
- Comes with a large surface area for fast heating of the pool
- Made using quality materials to ensure its durability
- The manufacturer has not included an instructions manual that makes installation quite challenging
Kokido solar pool heater
The Kokido dome-shaped solar pool heater is an excellent choice if for looking for a heating system with superior quality features.
This solar pool heater works excellent for in-ground as well as aboveground swimming pools. Kokido has grown to be loved by many customers due to its highly durable products.
The product comes with high-end solar panels that ensure it collects as much energy from the sun as possible. This gives it the capacity to raise the swimming pool’s temperature by 10 to 15 degrees Celsius in the season.
It is designed in such a way that it can withstand harsh weather conditions during multiple seasons.
The device comes with an integrated rack that makes it easier for you to set it up at an angle that facilitates optimal sunlight exposure so that it effectively heats your swimming pool.
The installation process is quite easy since the manufacturer has included a user manual to help you with the same. As well, you can fix it on the ground or at the rooftop according to your preference.
In addition, the product weighs only 14.9 pounds that makes it highly lightweight for increased convenience when moving around.
It is also worth mentioning that this solar pool heater with most pump systems as well as above-ground pool filtration systems.
- Easy to install
- Beautiful appearance
- Durable construction to ensure it serves you for the longest time
- Integrated rack for faster set up
- The horse size may not be ideal for standard pools
Heliocol Swimming Pool Solar Panel
The Helical pool heater is undoubtedly one of the best solar pool panels in the market currently.
This pool solar panel comes with numerous benefits that make it different from other models.
A proprietary, unique tube design ensures maximum heat absorption and a high-end mounting design that makes it incredibly easy to install.
It has a beautiful modern design, which will highly contribute to the appearance of your backyard.
It is also worth mentioning that the solar heater is engineered to serve you for the longest time possible and worry about replacement costs.
Another useful feature of this product is that it does not take up lots of space when installed.
- Durable construction
- Beautiful design
- Easy to set up
- The manufacturer has an excellent reputation among customers
- You may have to buy additional solar panels if you have a larger pool.
GAME 4721-BB SolarPRO
This is the best option for individuals owning small above the ground pools. The heater features a nice compact built design with advanced smart technology enabling it to function properly for an extended period.
Your pool water will all through remain warm, pleasant, and balmy to feel experience full enjoyment.
The heater is built with a streamlined curved design to make it an affordable and environmentally friendly option to consider.
Game 4721-BB solar pool heater uses the sun’s energy to heat pools effortlessly.
This is the best pool heater to help you bid goodbye to skyrocketing heating bills.
What makes the pool so effective is its capability to collect the sun’s energy at all its ascent and descent stages across the sky.
By this, there is a relative increase in water temperature by about 10 degrees in few days.
The best part of this pool heater compared to other market options is that it is affordably bought, and easy to install.
- Small in size and build with a compact design
- Reasonably priced
- Easy to install
- Efficient in collecting solar energy due to its curved shape
- It’s energy efficient and ecofriendly option in the market
- Its best for small and medium sized above the ground pools
- Doesn’t provide expected heat levels due to its small size
XtremepowerUS Pool Solar Panel Heating System
It is among the best market brand delivering great performance to users like the high-priced market models.
The solar heater measures 2ft by 20ft and it is easy to install. It is a powerful market option with the ability to increase water temperatures to about 15 degrees in a day.
This is among the affordable market options to save you money in energy bills and is efficient at the rate at which it heats the water.
Additionally, it is best to both the in-ground and above-ground pools in the market.
The only problematic part of this pool heater is that it cannot effectively heat large-sized pools due to its small-sized measures.
However, the problem can be solved by installing two or three pool heaters of this kind.
- It’s an affordable market option
- Easy to set up and install this solar heater
- Increases water temperatures o up to 15 degrees in a short period
- It’s among the market’s versatile options, can be installed both above and in-ground pools easily.
- It’s best to small sized pools. If your pool measures something above 80 square feet, you will need to get two or more systems to serve your intended purpose
- You might need a diverter kit for it to work efficiently
Doheny’s 5′ x 10′ Solar Heating Collector
This is among the best market brands to keep your pool water warm all time. It’s designed with a large panel to heat up your pool water fast; it takes just an hour to heat up your pool water and warmth can be maintained for an extended period.
It’s a large-sized panel you can find in the market to take up quite a large space during installation.
However, it’s worth it considering its efficiency when functioning. It has also a beautiful design that not only makes it super easy in terms of installation but also offering it a great look.
The pool heater also comes with a super-efficient direct flow MAX-FLO to offer users maximum functioning when it comes to water circulation and thus thereby saving much in energy expenses.
This is an eco-friendly pool heating solution for any type of pool either small or large-sized.
- It’s a cost effective market brand
- Easy to install model
- Fits all types of pool pumps and pools at large
- Has capability of heating up 15 degrees of pool water in short period
- It’s large sized nature takes a lot of space
SunHeater 2′ X 10′ Heating Universal System
This large-sized market pool heater product efficiently collects heat using a long panel from the sun.
The collection panel is collected into tubes designed to warm up pool water to up to 15 degrees in a short period.
It’s a worthy buying model since it provides more or fewer heat levels consistently.
The model features a lightweight design making it a simple to design option in the market and for all types of pools at large.
- It’s an eco-friendly market product
- It offers a great value for money for its users
- Equipped with a direct flow system
- It features interchangeable connectors
- Increases temperatures to about 15 degrees in a short period
- A versatile market option for all types of pools
- Professional help is needed to install it
- Takes up huge space due to their large sized design
SmartPool S240U Pool Solar Heater
This is a fast-acting market option offering users great value for money at large.
The Pool heater features pools designed to efficiently collect the sun’s energy to increase the pool water temperature to about 15 degrees in less than a day.
The pool heater features solar panels connected through purpose-built tubes to the pool pumps making it an eco-friendly option to consider.
Installing this pool pump isn’t a joke, however, its stellar performance impresses users at large.
- It’s capable to increase pool water to temperatures of about 15 degrees in less 24 hours
- The pool heater features interchangeable connectors
- It’s an eco-friendly market option
- Cost effective and super-efficient
- Serves both the above and in-ground pool types
- Installation isn’t easy
- The panels are large sized
Factors to consider while buying these solar pool heaters include:
The size of the pool
When looking to purchase a solar pool heater, the pool’s size should be the primary consideration.
A large pool will require a bigger and more powerful system compared to a small and medium-sized pool.
It is also a way of saving money because if you buy a small operating machine for a big pool, you will not be content and might consider going back to the market and purchase another one. Instead, buy one that is fit for your pool.
As a pool owner, you would want to purchase a water heater that is going to last long and the same time is of service throughout.
Therefore, while buying a pool heater, look for one made with durable materials. The materials used to make the heaters will determine their durability.
Consider the functionality of the pool
A pool heater purchased for recreational services will not serve as a pool meant for spotting activities. A repository for recreational facilities will require a heater that will deliver the right temperature for recreation, whereas one for sporty activities will require a heater that provides constant temperatures.
If you want to purchase a solar heater, you will go for the quality that suits the amount of money you are having.
If you want the best quality, you might consider increasing your budget.
Check for warranty
A buyer prefers an item that has a warranty on it to be sure of the product and feel safe in the hands of the manufacturers.
For a product with assurance, if anything goes wrong, a customer can always revisit the store and get their items prefixed or replaced according to the company’s policy.
The cost of installation
There are two classes of pool heaters. Some are easy to install, while others require professional personnel to help with the process. That said, it is advisable to pick the method that favors you economically to avoid an unplanned cost.
This is an essential factor to consider as it especially involves where you live or where you want to install the pool heaters. Those that live in relatively dry areas might consider buying solar heaters whose maximum temperatures can favor them.
In contrast, those in cold and breezy regions should have those with high-temperature ranges.
Precautions before installing solar pool water heaters include:
Significant decisions should be put into consideration before setting up the pool heaters to their rightful places:
- Consider the roof support as most solar pool heaters are cumbersome and weigh a lot. Check if your roof is strong enough to hold the heaters to avoid accidents and heaters that do not work efficiently.
- Check to ensure that you want to situate the pool with proper access to direct sunlight.
- Ensure that the roof can be worked on safely or instead amendments on the roof made without negatively affecting the ceiling.
- Ensure that there is room for a storage tank in the building and an area where its hardware and spare parts can be stored.
- Consider the plumbing lines to be done are prone to causing any remodelling on your design or if it’s okay to proceed with the installation.
Best solar pool heaters – Installation process
The pool heaters’ location is essential since if you install it wrongly or in a place without direct sunlight, the pool heater will not function in the approved manner.
Below are the simple steps to be followed to ensure a successful installation of the pool heater panels.
Choose the proper position of the solar panel
When choosing an area to install your pool heater, you should consider the city’s openness and the sun’s direction.
It should be installed where there are direct sun rays, preferably on the south-eastern side of the roof.
Usually done to ensure that the panel absorbs most of the energy of the sun to increase its efficiency and provide the desired temperatures are achieved.
The pool heater size should be compatible with the size of the roof or where the heater is to be placed.
One has to measure up both to ensure both are the perfect fit. If it is hard for you to choose, it is advisable to ask for professional help because selecting the ideal fit saves a lot of money on collectors.
The setting of the collectors
This refers to the process by which the places for the collectors get made. Each collector sits on a frame on its own, and one has to ensure that the collectors are at a secure mounting point.
Support the collector
The system installation depends on the system one chooses. Flate plate collectors are usually placed on the roof or along the rails.
However, you also have the option to mount the water tank using brackets if you are using the tube system (evacuated).
When they are inflexible, the evacuated tubes are put in place and sealed for long-lasting performance.
Position the pipes in between
A PVC rubber pipe joins one panel to the other, utilizing an inlet and outlet to do the work.
The outlet pipe is directly attached to the inlet pipe of the other group.
Do this for each of the boards until all the panels are connected so that the water will flow smoothly through the panels.
With the pieces and panels being connected and put in place, it’s essential to check that everything of the pools heater is locked firmly into its correct position and ready to be plumbed.
It is advisable to recheck everything at this stage before moving onto the next phase of the plumbing system.
As the heat warm the solar collector is generating the pool, the plumbing pipes channel the water into the collectors.
In addition, it takes the heated water back to the pool. I have seen most of the pools using a current PVC circle which carries water from the lake to the filtration and they are moved to the pool.
The filtration points are usually the heater (electricity or gas).
Installation of all the pipes
A paired pipe should run up the side of your house to the inlet and outlet ports of the collector.
The pipes should have at least one-foot space between them. For example, suppose the two pipes are T1 and T2. So, the inlet pipe will run and attach to T1 and the outlet pipe will be connected to T2.
Always remember to connect both the T1 and T2 vertically and then run it through the horizontal passageway so that you can even get the water when solar collectors are not being used.
The last thing you must do is to install a vacuum valve which enables you to easily control the usage of heat.
The relief vacuum valve
It is advisable to add a simple vacuum relief valve at the top of your plumbing system that is usually located at the back corner of your collector array.
The flap helps to keep the water circle from being wholly blocked; making the water is stuck in the collection. As an alternative, it will drain back down into the lower plumbing and the swimming pool.
Installation of the check valve
It is a valve installed between the pool filter and the first vertical pipe.
The valve retains the water from going backward and going in the wrong direction when your pump is shut off.
It is a crucial and vital step to keep your swimming pool clean and at its best operation. In lack of the valve, the pool will get and perhaps damage your filter system.
Installation of the bypass
Every owner of a pool heater wants water to flow into your solar water heating array, so one would want to install a simple bypass between the first and the second vertical pipes.
You can easily close or open the valve manually. So, when you want your solar heater to work “close the valve” and “Open the valve” when you want the water to directly go to the pool.
Do you want your heating array to be automated? you can easily do it, you just need two devices – a motorized valve and a sun sensor.
Sun sensors are used to draw up the sunlight, and the motorized valve can automate the closing and opening valve processes that lead to the solar collector.
Install the sun sensor on your roof and connect the valve and the sensor to each other through wires. Install the motorized valves, one at the verticle T1 and the other at the elbow of T2 for the passageway to the horizontal way.
The fixed valve acts as a switch and when the sunlight condition is optimum, the valve will open and send water to the collector. However, when the sunlight is not optimal, another valve gets opened and run water to the horizontal passageway.
The lid also diverts water across the horizontal way to the outlet pipe and commendably bypassing the collectors as soon as the conditions are ideal.
The isolation valves
The isolation valves are the manual valves that are installed to each of the pipes to control the inlet and outlet manually.
You can isolate your solar collector system from the loop you created without looking for any professional help.
These valves give you an option to manually empty your solar collector or use this when there is any maintenance work to be done or your solar pool water system needs a repair.
Once the valve is in place, the solar heating system attached to the swimming pool will be fully working.
Solar pool heater test
Once done with the installation, it is necessary to test the heater to ensure that it has been adequately fixed and is efficiently working.
During a hot sunny day, take temperatures of water heading to the pool and compare it to the water from the overall lake that has not passed through the collector.
Generally, the solar pool heaters work as efficiently as other heaters, so no need to degrade them. Furthermore, they get the credit, as they are very cheap, easy to install, and are generally economically friendly.
For one who wants to enjoy warm water ever instead of cold chilling water, these water heaters will give incredibly great results. These water heaters have the added advantage that they work even during the night, so you do not need to worry about late-night swimming.
The tanks in which the waters are stored are insulated. The heater collects solar radiation, whereas the insulators keep the water warm even throughout the night.
It can also work on a nun sunny day as on a sunny day, and heat is collected and reserved for days when there is no sun.
If you were to look into the merits and demerits of these solar heaters, you will get to the market as soon as possible and get yourself one.
It will guide you to help you through the reasons you should opt for a solar heat panel over other heaters and narrow it down to the best in the market and how to install them.