DIY Solar Heating for Swimming Pools

Nothing is quite as refreshing when you’re hot as jumping into a swimming pool. When the water is too cold, however, it can be highly unpleasant. For many, this means that their pools remain unused for most months of the year. Even at times of the year when the days are hot, nights may still be icy – resulting in pool water that’s much too cold to be enjoyable.

Solar heating kits for your pool can solve the problem, but their cost and the added cost of installation can be a deal breaker. For those of you who don’t mind a bit of DIY, follow this handy guide for installing a low-cost, effective pool heating system yourself.

swimming pool

Image by lucasfoxbcn

What you’ll need

Step-by-step guide

Installing your own pool heating system is as simple as coiling piping on a roof that gets plenty of sun and using a pump to run the water from your pool, through the piping and back into the pool.

The most time-intensive part of the project is the first part – coiling the piping and affixing it to the roof. You’ll need to coil the piping flat so that as much of it as possible gets direct sunlight, keeping the coils tight so that they retain the most heat. Using zip ties can make this task a lot less frustrating.

Next you need to connect the piping to the outlet of your pool’s filter and run it into an additional pool pump. In some cases, even a smaller pond pump will do. This depends on the size of your pool and the elevation of the piping.

We recommend push-in compression fittings because they can be easily removed, making it possible to add or remove a length of piping from the coil. Adding more piping means you’ll require a more powerful pump, but your pool will be heated faster.

If you live in a double-storey house, you’ll need to install a vacuum breaker too. Without one, the piping may get vacuum trapped, preventing the water from circulating properly (or at all).

Once you’ve got the pump set up to push water up to the coiling on the roof, run the other end of the piping back down into your pool.

For extra temperature control, you could run the heated water pipe into a splitter with your pool’s inlet, enabling you to pump both warm and cold water into the pool. With some valve connectors, you can then fine-tune the pool’s temperature.

Precautions and notes

  • To retain heat over cold nights, use a pool cover. This will stop the pool water from cooling too drastically overnight.
  • Get a thermometer for your pool and keep an eye on it at different times of the day. A temperature range anywhere between 20 to 25 degrees Celsius is considered comfortable.
  • If you run a pump “dry”, you’ll damage it. So before pumping water up from the pool to the coiling, fill the piping with water from a tap and close the ends. Then connect it to the pump.
  • Consider installing a timer for the pump so that it works only during the day, saving you the trouble of having to turn it off and back on every morning.

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