Warming up the Water with an Off-Grid Solar Swimming Pool Heater

You can make a solar hot water heater out of landscape tubing, and you can design it to fit just about anywhere. It’s cheap and just as effective as the col­lectors that cost $600 apiece.

You can connect a small submersible pump to a PV panel, and if you know a few rudimentary things about pumps and pressures and flow, you can make water flow through your homemade collector without having to run it
through the pool pump. Solar collectors don’t care how fast the water is run­ning through them; they’ll put out the same amount of heat with fast or slow flow. So your small system will heat your pool just as much as if you con­nected it to the pool pump, and it won’t load your pump, which makes it cost more to run.

Here’s the thing: You want to run your pool pump as little as possible, but you want to get the most amount of heat you can from your solar collectors. So the PV-powered system runs whenever sunshine hits the PV panel. This is ideal because that’s when the collectors can heat the water.

If you’re on a TOU rate structure, you don’t want to run your electric pool pump in the afternoon when rates are high. But this is when you need to run the pump to get heat out of the panels. Your homemade solar pool-heating system solves this problem nicely. Chapter 11 has solar projects, ranging from the simple to the more involved, for your pool.

Updated: August 21, 2015 — 5:20 am