Previously, owners of swimming pools had to rely on environmentally unfriendly and costly energy sources like propane, electricity or oil in order to keep water at a comfortable temperature. Now, with new solar energy systems, keeping your pool warm can be done without damaging the environment or breaking your wallet with solar thermal energy.
Solar energy comes from the sun’s rays. However, it is not as concentrated as other sources of natural or renewable energy (e.g. Natural Gas). The pool heating system needs to be large enough to collect, store and distribute the amount of heat required to keep a swimming pool warm for extended periods of time.
Consumers are told that wired heat pumps are better and cheaper than gas heaters. This just isn’t true. Ontario pool heat pumps consume nearly twice as much electricity as natural gas heaters, for the same heat output. Installation and maintenance costs are hefty, they create pollution and put a peak load on the grid.
On average, a natural gas heater for pools comes with a 250,000 BTU/hr rating and is capable of delivering around 188,000 BTU/hr to a pool. Solar pool heaters of similar capacity would require, at minimum, 940 sq. feet of high efficiency pool solar panels in order to deliver the same amount of heat.
The short truth is that solar thermal pool heating systems do not have the same rapid paced performance abilities as natural gas heaters and they don’t need to.
Unlike fueled heating systems that have an average of one day to heat an entire pool and then cools down very quickly, a solar powered system takes a bit longer to heat to the same temperature but maintains temperature consistency for much longer periods of time – for FREE!
The majority of ‘fuel-driven’ pool heating systems (those not powered by solar energy) operate in ‘spot heating’ mode, causing the pool to cool down between intervals. The means that the heater must regularly add or adjust heat in order to bring the pool back up to the preferred temperature – this can be costly! Solar powered heating systems operate in ‘maintenance mode’, meaning that pool water always stays ambient.