Build Your Own Solar Pool Heater – Complete Guide

In many places, people enjoy swimming in their pools throughout the warm summer months, but nobody wants to swim in a cold pool, especially if it’s not summertime. This is where pool heaters, specifically solar pool heaters come in handy. To keep a swimming pool warm year round you need a pool heater to keep the water warm. Electric or gas heaters are expensive to use and take a toll on the environment. That’s why many people are now using solar heaters to warm their swimming pools.

pool heat

What is a Solar Pool Heater?

A solar pool heater greatly reduces the cost of heating the water in a swimming pool by using the heat of the sun. A solar heater maintains the desired water temperature in your pool and it is very effective in just about any type of climate or weather condition. Using a solar heater is also an excellent way to save money when heating large swimming pools. 

So How Does it Work?

A solar pool heater or solar pool heating system uses a solar collector to gather water to be heated by the sun’s rays. The water pump system draws the water out of the pool where it then passes through a special filter that removes any foreign objects. The water is then held and heated inside the solar collector, after the water has been thoroughly heated it is then fed back into the swimming pool where it warms the water. An automatic flow control valve regulates the flow of hot water throughout the solar heating system to give the swimming pool water a steady warm temperature.

Are There Any REAL Benefits?

The benefits of a solar pool heater are many, and it is looked upon by most homeowners as an investment. Solar power in all forms is becoming more and more popular and necessary to offset the rising price of electricity. Today’s solar-powered pool heaters are much cheaper and more cost-effective to operate than their gas and electric-powered cousins.  Plus, they will extend the time you can spend swimming in your pool throughout the year. 

A solar pool heating system will definitely decrease your dependency on electricity and save you money.  Also, a solar heater requires much less maintenance than a traditional heater. Using a solar heating system to keep your swimming pool nice and warm makes sense economically, solar energy is free energy from the sun with no ill environmental effects. The benefits of solar water heating go far beyond heating your pool.

For many people, getting a solar pool heater installed professionally is truly the way to go, but you can make a solar pool heater yourself if you are really feeling up to the task. Making your own solar pool heater is a cost-effective way to incorporate one of the hottest trends in saving money and energy with another trend; DIY projects.

Now, remember, you can use this solar pool heater to heat your large in-ground or above-ground pool, or even to heat the kiddie pool to a nice comfortable temperature, making your pool usable for at least three out of the four seasons. Here are some instructions for a passive solar pool heater that you can finish in one day.

The way a solar pool heater works is really interesting. Pool heaters use the existing water in the pool, pull it out from the pool, and into a ‘collector’ where the water is then heated and returned to the pool. Common types of heaters are gas and electric, but these are very costly and pretty difficult to create on one’s own. The solar pool heater uses the same pump and filter system that already work with your pool, but drag the water into a place where it is concentrated and heated by the sun before being returned to your pool.

The first materials you will need are a long spool of diameter flexible hose OR black PVC pipe. If you end up going with the hose, some feel you will save space and use even more of the sun’s rays. Also, you will use fewer PVC fittings, which can be costly. In any case, if you use the hose, then you will need several hose clamps and flat black spray paint to make this passive collector. The reason you want black is that black collects more solar energy than any other color. Attach the black hose or pipe between the pump and filter, and you have a heating system that will use the sun’s power to heat the water of your pool.

This type of heating system works the best if you accompany it with a good solar pool cover that you use, that way you are not losing a lot of the heated water to evaporation. Once you try this project, there is another easy and inexpensive way to add in a piece of solar-heated roofing to heat the water even more.