How Does a Solar Pool Heater Work?

One of the hot topics surrounding swimming pool design today is the installation of a solar pool heater instead of a traditional electric heater. Many people are shifting their focus to greener, more sustainable amenities—not to mention systems that require little to no maintenance and have quieter operation. Solar pool heaters fit the bill on all accounts!

When trying to understand how a solar pool heater differs from a traditional electric one, many homeowners will first consult with their swimming pool contractors in Los Angeles, CA. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of jargon that might be confusing, and it’s not always easy to understand the nuances of a solar collection system.

Breaking Down the Solar Heating System

To make it easier to understand, we’ve broken down a basic solar pool heating system step by step below and simplified it. If you’re interested in making this eco-friendly upgrade to your pool, take a look at the process of how a solar heater works:

  1. Water is pumped out of your pool, where it’s run through a filter to remove any debris. Once it passes through the filter, it’s pumped to the next stage of the circuit where it will become heated.
  2. Sunlight is collected by a solar panel array, generally located on your roof or other nearby sloped structure. Within the solar panel is a conduit, where water runs through the collection panels and becomes heated by the sunlight being absorbed.
  3. Once heated, the water is returned to the pool. The process is cyclical, meaning water is always being pumped out and returned to the pool, creating a circuit of heated water that’ll keep your pool warm.

The process isn’t really as easy as 1-2-3, but the concept is. There are a lot of intermediate parts to consider as well, including a flow control valve that dictates how much water is being pumped out of the pool.

Additional Variables to Consider

There are also a ton of individual variables to consider with a solar collection system—each of which can have an impact on how effective the system is. For example, the tilt of your solar panels can determine how much UV light is being captured, just like the size of the solar panel can determine how much conduit is run and how long the water is heated. Even something simple like adjustment of the flow control valve can determine the flow rate of water being sucked out, which affects the temperature that it’s heated to!

All of this is to say that solar pool heating isn’t as easy as hooking up a few panels to a pump! It’s a complex process best left to swimming pool contractors in Los Angeles, CA, and one that needs to be adjusted based on the size and capacity of your specific swimming pool. Getting the most out of your investment in a solar heating solution only pays off when all of the variables are properly calibrated and coordinated properly throughout your system.