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SWIMMING POOL: Who manufacturers solar pool heating & heaters? The List.

August 5, 2007

solar pool heating

To many of you, the “remodel” you are presently doing may be a backyard and pool makeover project – and it is highly likely that you may be evaluating the different methods for heating that swimming pool oasis. GetWithGreen.com wants to reveal a list of top manufacturers of solar heating products to you. We want to make your quest to understand your options as easy as possible. Additionally, we want to make sure you have a place to double check the information you are receiving from your pool specialist or installer.

solar water pool 1How does a solar pool heating system work? A solar pool heating system works via black plastic panels or collectors capturing the energy from the sun and using it to heat the water in your pool. The materials used to make these systems are manufactured from high tech. plastics which have been designed to resist weather and resist the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. The materials are typically a flavor of polypropylene. Using your existing pool pump, water is circulated through the solar panels where it is heated by the sun and then returned to your pool. The collectors that sit on your roof typically come in the same sizes, no matter what manufacturer you get them from: 4ft x 8ft, 4ft x 10ft, or 4ft x 12ft.

Solar heating is not “on demand” heating. On demand heating? On demand heating is, “I feel like turning on the heater and heating my pool.” Solar pool heating systems doesn’t work that way. Solar systems heat only when water is running through those collectors, and when those collectors are being heated by sunshine – so your pool will not heat at night. But how well will solar heat your pool? FAFCO (collector manufacturer) says their systems will:

  • “raise you pool temp 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit each time the water passes through the system, and
  • raise your pool’s temperature 5 to 15 degree Fahrenheit over a period of several days of good weather.”

solar heating pool temperature

Do solar systems cost a lot? Solar, unlike electric or gas heaters, uses sunshine, and that sunshine is free – therefore there is no operating cost, and you are heating your oasis with a completely renewable, non-polluting, green, eco-friendly sourse. In addition, following the purchase cost ($2,500-$7,000), there are no ongoing associated utility bills. Here is some other cost and feature comparison between solar and other heaters:

  • This table compares Gas, Propane Electric and Fuel Oil pool heaters and the saving you realize by going with solar instead. Estimated costs of equipment, installation and energy supply for an above ground 24ft. (7.5m) diameter pool or an in-ground pool 15 x 30ft (4.6 x 9.2m)

Heating Method

Annual Solar Savings

Payback for $2500 Solar System

Payback for $3500 Solar System

Payback for $4500 Solar System

Gas Heater @ $1.39/therm

$1612

1.6 years

2.2 years

2.8 years

Propane Heater @ $1.75/kWh

$2223

1.1 years

1.6 years

2.0 years

Electricity @0.089/kWh

$2270

1.1 years

2.9 years

1.9 years

Fuel oil @ $1.50 / gal

$1243

2.0 years

2.8 years

3.6 years

*Table from the Florida Solar Energy Commission (FSEC)

 

  • The charts below give some other interesting solar comparisons. (charts from FAFCO):

solar poolsolar pool 4

solar pool 5solar pool 6

solar pool 9

Here are the the Manufacturers GetWithGreen.com researched
(in order of the ones we found most informative)

FAFCO
Claim to be the oldest and largest manufacturer of solar collectors, having started their overall business in 1969. In 1996 FAFCO installed their 1,000,000 solar panel collector. FAFCO offers three products for in ground pools: SunSaver, Revolution, and SunSaverST. Solid website with information on ideal placement of panels.

Heliocol
Been in business since 1977. 12 year warranty. Claim to be the largest manufacturer with 200,000+ installations. Distributed all over the United States. Helicol manufacturers their panels out of polypropylene w/ “special” ultraviolet inhibitors, which Helicol claims won’t discolor your pool water. Heliocol has a fairly informative website, and claims several patents on their technology.

Aquatherm Industries
Solar collector manufacturer. Claim 125,000+ installations of their solar collectors The collector systems are called Ecosun Solar Pool Heating Systems, and designed into systems by a nationwide distribution network. The website is semi-informative.

Techno-Solis
Established in 1976. Techno-Solis has created a sizing calculator to estimate the number of panels you would need. Solar panel sizing calculator for pool. Semi-informative website. (We also found two other calculators: solar pool panel calculator, solarenergy.com pool calculator).

Suntrek
Established in 1991, and their products carry a 15 year warranty. Manufacture complete systems and those systems are sold by dealers in the US. Unclear if Suntrek is a manufacturer of their own collectors. Semi-informative website.

Enersol Solar Products, Inc.
Family owned and operated since 1979. 15 year warranty (pro-rated toward replacement). 

Solar Attic
Solar Attic manufacturers a completely different type of pool heating system that uses the sun. Their product runs piping through your attic where it collects and extracts the heat and deposits into your pool. This is a very innovative approach as it elimates the need for panels and positioning of panels. We had some interaction with the team at Solar Attic and we found them to be very responsive to our inquiries. Definitely we would recommend at least reading about their offering.

Sunfence
There is minimal US information about SunFence, as the products are designed and manufactured overseas, but we wanted to bring them to your attention. They manufacturer solar pool heating systems that are built into fencing.

sunfence solar

More…

Finally, we want to note a couple must read websites before you make your purchase:

Solar Energy Specialists
This is a must read page on solar pool heaters. Great background and overview of solar pool heating.

BuilditSolar.com
This site also gives great overview information. Warning: the BuilditSolar team website has many links that will keep your researching mind busy for hours!!

solar pool solar pool 2 techno-solis solar

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