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Solar Pool Heaters

Pool Heating Simplified

As I considered a heat source for my backyard pool, I simply looked up at the sunny sky and immediately recognized the primary advantage of solar heat: it provides free energy courtesy of the sun! Unlike other energy sources that are becoming scarcer and more expensive, solar energy will remain freely available for as long as we inhabit the Earth.

A typical solar pool heater consists of solar collectors designed to heat large volumes of water at relatively low temperatures, usually ranging between °F and °F (27.32°C). These collectors, made of polypropylene plastic, are ideal for the temperature requirements of pool water. Unlike solar panels used for heating domestic hot water, they are often not insulated or glazed.

When it comes to the economics of solar pool heating, as summer arrives in Canada and the rest of the Northern hemisphere, we eagerly anticipate swimming in outdoor pools once again. Pool owners know that heating the pool water is the most significant expense. In an interview with 30 residential pool owners who use natural gas for heating, all but three of them reported paying over $100 per month. The remaining three were frugal and maintained their pools at a notably low temperature.

Conversely, those who have transitioned from fossil fuel-based heating to solar pool heating share a different experience. Only 3 percent of respondents reported occasional use of their gas-powered heaters, while the rest stated that their solar heaters effectively maintained the desired pool temperature throughout the swimming season. Our study revealed that 100% of pool owners hesitated to utilize solar energy for running their pumps and filters due to the necessity of running them on cloudy days.

A typical solar pool heater

The Components of a Solar Pool Heater

A solar pool heater typically consists of several major components:

Solar Collectors:

These are the primary components that capture sunlight and convert it into heat energy. Solar collectors are usually made of durable and weather-resistant materials such as polypropylene or rubber. They are designed to absorb the maximum amount of sunlight and transfer the heat to the pool water.


The pump circulates water from the pool through the solar collectors and back into the pool. It helps distribute the heated water and ensures efficient heat transfer. In many cases the pump that filters the water in the pool can also pump water through the solar panes.


A filter removes debris and impurities from the pool water before it enters the solar collectors. Clean water enhances the system's performance and prevents clogging or damage to the collectors.

Flow Control Valve:

This valve allows you to adjust the flow rate of water through the solar collectors. By controlling the flow, you can optimize heat absorption and regulate the pool's temperature.

Control System:

Some solar pool heaters may include a control system with sensors and a thermostat. This system monitors the temperature of the pool water and adjusts the flow rate or activates additional heating elements as needed to maintain the desired temperature.

Bypass Valve:

A bypass valve allows you to divert water away from the solar collectors when heating is not required, such as during periods of low sunlight or when the pool has reached the desired temperature. This helps prevent overheating and provides control over the heating process.

Plumbing Connections:

The system includes plumbing connections to connect the solar collectors, pump, filter, and other components together. These connections ensure proper water flow and efficient operation of the solar pool heater.

It's important to note that the specific components and their configurations may vary depending on the design and manufacturer of the solar pool heating system.

  • Updated On: June 1, 2023
  • Posted On: Dec 15, 2022
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