Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Using the sun to heat a pool.

To heat the water in our pool I recently purchased a pool solar heater.
We have an in-ground pool with a liner that sits on dirt.
This makes for a cooler pool to begin with. On top of that we have a yard that backs to the woods with old oak trees that give us plenty of shade.
I do have a roof that gets plenty of sun for about 7 hours of the day.
So I thought let's make use of that time we have in the sun.

I did not want to spend a lot of money so I went with two 1' x 20' panels. This kit included connector hoses, a check valve, a diverter valve and the other hardware needed to mount the panels on the roof. I did have to buy additional 1 1/2 inch pipes and a shutoff valve that did not come with the kit.

Let's not forget the safety aspect: You need the ability to get on the roof safely and an additional hand to hold the panels in place while you mount the solar panels.

I plumbed in the 1 1/2 inch pipes from the filter outlet to the roof. I went through my roof so I did not have to run pipes on the outside of my house. (Good thing I did my roof myself about 5 years ago so I know how to cleanly install pipes without leaks) I installed an appropriate shutoff and diverter valve. I placed the panels and mounted them according to the directions and made sure all the connections were secured.

Of course no job goes without glitches I had a couple of leaks and a line break. All fixed properly and after some "kind words of encouragement" the system is functional.

Now as you all know Upstate New York can throw you all kinds of curves when it comes to the weather. And this year is no exception. We have yet to have multiple days of clear sunny skies with nights that are warm and sticky. Now most people people like the cooler summer days we have been having. But trying to test the solar heater has been less than favorable as you do need continuous sun for at least 6 hours.
The solar panels are making a bit of a difference on those few sunny days by helping raise the pool temp by about 3 - 4 degrees. This is all done by heat from the sun... free... no additional cost.

The panels are doing the job. But the square footage of the panels does need to be twice the current size to effectively raise the temperature by 5 degrees. For my budget that will be a project for next year.

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