How to Make & Install A DIY Above Ground Solar Pool Heater

When the summer is over, you won’t get natural warm water to swim in your pool. But who doesn’t enjoy dipping in the pool of hot water in winter?

If the water gets cold, it starts to become unbearable to swim. Then you have two choices. Either you close the pool after summer or extend the swimming season by installing some solar pool heaters. If it concerns you, read this article to learn about installing a DIY above-ground solar pool heater.

Not only will it save time but also give you the same efficiency with less investment.

How Does An Above-Ground Solar Pool Heater Work?

The mechanism of an above ground solar pool heater is pretty simple because it works like solar photovoltaic panels. There is a collector to store the solar energy, and it is placed on the roof or high enough from the ground.

DIY Above Ground Solar Pool Heater

Then water is pumped from the pool to the solar energy collector. It should go through a filter. The solar collectors consist of hollow tubes throughout the inside of the panel.

When the water goes through these tubes, it absorbs the heat from the panel. The circulation takes the water back to the pool. Then you can enjoy the warm water. On top of that, the process is environment friendly. It does not even cost as much as the digital heating machines for the pool.

Factors To Consider Before Making A DIY Above-Ground Solar Pool Heater

If you decide to make a DIY solar pool heater, you need to look at some factors first. Otherwise, the process of making the heater will be hindered, or the project may stop before even its initiation.

Check Availability Of Solar Resources

Solar resources are probably the first thing to be concerned about. It’s because the efficiency of your solar pool heater is dependent on your site’s solar resource.

You have to ensure that maximum sunlight reaches the solar panel. Generally, a building in the unshaded area that faces south is the best candidate for installing a solar pool heater.

But you don’t have to worry if you live in an area that doesn’t get enough sun rays. This is because the solar pool heating systems are made to use both direct and diffused solar radiation.

Determine Correct Size

After checking the availability, you have to determine the correct size of your pool heating system. Therefore, the factors you should keep in mind while deciding the size:

  • Period of swimming sessions
  • The average temperature of your region
  • Size of your pool
  • Solar resource of your site
  • Efficiency of collector
  • Orientation and tilt of the collector
  • If you use any pool cover or not

You can seek help from the local solar system supplier. Some computer programs are also developed for this task. You have understood the depth of the importance of the size of the solar collector.

Typically, the solar collector area should not be less than 50% of your pool size. But it can extend to the equal surface area of the pool.

Determine Collector Orientation And Tilt

If you want maximum output from the collection, you must be concerned about its orientation. The orientation should take place based on geography and location.

Some experts say you can alternate the collector’s face up to 45-degrees west or east of the true south. However, it will not affect the performance of your solar heater significantly.

Also, keep in mind the weather condition may affect the optimal orientation. The collector is needed to be tilted based on the latitude and the length of the swimming pool.

Determine Efficiency

To measure the efficiency of the solar pool heater, you need to use a thermal performance rating. A higher number of these ratings will indicate more remarkable performance. It will help you to reduce the annual operating cost too.

Compare Costs

Before you buy a solar pool heating system, you need to estimate the overall cost & expenses. Several models of solar heaters are present in the market. You have to compare them and choose what comes within budget and decent efficiency.

Investigate Local Power Regulations

And last but not least you have to investigate the local power regulations. The factors like solar resources, local building codes, safety issues, and climate investigation have a massive role in the installation of solar pool heaters.

Making A DIY Above-Ground Solar Pool Heater

To make a DIY above-ground solar pool heater, you have to follow these two significant steps.

Gather All The Materials

First of all, gather all the materials that you need to make the DIY solar pool heater. A garden hose is necessary to pass the pool water through the heater. All you need to do is coil up the tube and hold it in the correct position. Then connect it to the pool filter.

Suppose you don’t have any pool filter. What will you do to bring back the water to the pool? The solution is to use a water pump.

It will push the warm water through the garden tube. The best option is to use a black-colored tube. It’s because the black color absorbs the heat faster than others.

Even if you don’t have a pump, you can use your faucet and connect it directly to the pool, and it will do the job perfectly. Always use more tubing than necessary cause it will last longer.

Set Up the Solar Collector

We have already discussed the factors that you need to keep in mind before installing the heater system.

Buy a solar collector and set it on the roof. Consider the orientation and tilt while installing the collector. It would be best if you don’t differ the angle more than 45-degrees from the true south.

Installing A DIY Above-Ground Solar Pool Heater

Now it’s time to install all other components and check if the heater system works or not. For that, you have two follow these steps accordingly.

Assemble the Valves

A series of valves and “Y” adaptors are needed to assemble in series. Then you can route the water into the solar heater.

The natural flow and pressure will get the water back to the pool. You don’t even need a separate pump for the job. Use the 1/2” ball valves to shut off the water.

Attach Water Supply

It’s time to attach the water supply. You can use a 1/2” “Y” adaptor with a 1/2” threaded adaptor. It will be wise to use two hose clamps on each hose. Then, there will be no chance of leaking.

But remember not to glue any of the threaded parts. Instead, it would be best if you got some plumbers grease or pipe dope in the threads because it will do the job of glue.

Install Regulator Valve

The regulator valve should be a 1/2” ball valve that’s glued to a small PVC. Try to keep it partially closed. The reason is that it will divert some water to the solar heater. Otherwise, the water will go to another side of the “Y” adaptors.

Set Up the Timer

Imagine you haven’t noticed the flow, and it has been running continuously. Then a massive amount of tap water will overwhelm the small amount of water that was heated in the solar panel. Even the tiniest amount of water won’t be heated enough in the panel. Then it will return to the pool. Isn’t it a huge problem?

You can solve it pretty easily by installing an outdoor timer with the pool pump. It will stop the flow and take an interval after the pump runs for several hours to filter your pool. In this way, the water will get enough time in the panel to absorb heat. Then it can go to the pool.

Check Water Temperature

It is imperative to check the water temperature before you jump into the pool. That’s because there is no other way to check if the heater is working or not.

Suppose the water got too hot and you forgot to check the temperature. Wouldn’t it cause you some losses because no one would swim into boiling water? Therefore, always check the temperature and maintain consistency.

If the water is not warm enough, then rerun the cycle. But when the water gets too hot, you will have to wait until it gets back to a comfortable temperature.

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Maintenance Of A DIY Above-Ground Solar Pool Heater

It is not a tough job to maintain a DIY solar pool heater. Always check the tubes if there is any leakage or not. Also, don’t forget to tighten the valves every time they get loose.

We recommend changing the water tubes at least once a year. Otherwise, water might get dirty. There is also a chance of growing microorganisms in the tube. However, it can last for at least 10 to 20 years if you can keep it under proper maintenance.

Parting Words

After reading this article, you must have acknowledged that having a DIY solar heater is very beneficial in the winter and definitely worth your time. Therefore, it would be best to learn how to make & install a DIY above-ground solar pool heater and apply it to your swimming pool.

We hope you had a nice read and can now carry on your home project of building the DIY heater for your pool. All the best!

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