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Solar Panels for Heating Your Pool Efficiently

Solar Panels for Heating
Photo credit: Yelp

Winter often casts a chilly barrier around our pools, but imagine transforming that icy touch into a warm, welcoming embrace. Solar panels for heating your pool efficiently emerge as a beacon of hope in these frosty days. Interestingly enough, it's not just about warmth. You're also embracing an environmentally friendly cause.

The premise behind this is simple yet profoundly impactful, offering a seamless blend of comfort and eco-consciousness. So, you do the maths of cost and efficiency. Isn’t it time to let the sun keep your pools warm all year round, ensuring every plunge is a delightful dip into comfort and sustainability?


In This Article


How Do Solar Panels for Pool Heating Work?

Overview of Solar Pool Heating

Curious about how solar panels for pool heating work? It's a common query but do not worry, the mechanism is straightforward and efficient. Unlike photovoltaic (PV) rooftop solar panels, solar pool heaters operate differently, though both harness solar power. The benefits of using solar panels for pool heating are immense, not just keeping the water warm but also being environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Components Involved

  • Pump & Filter of the Pool: Most pools already have a robust filtering system and pump in place. These essential components ensure that the water circulating through your solar panel heater is clean, free from leaves, or other debris.

  • Solar Collector: Here is a backdrop. The solar collector or solar panel heater is the heart of the solar pool heating system. It's not your typical PV panel. It comprises strings of tubes, designed to capture and convert solar power efficiently to heat the pool water. As water circulates through these tubes, it absorbs the sun's generous heat, elevating its temperature.

  • Flow Control Valve: This component is the unsung hero. It meticulously manages the water flow, ensuring the heated water is reintroduced to your pool at an optimal pace, maintaining the perfect warm temperature.

The Heating Process

Now, putting some flesh on the bones of the process... Cold water is pumped from the pool into the solar collector. It embarks on a journey through the tubes, soaking up the sun's warmth. Post this sun-kissed journey, the water, now warm, is guided back into your pool through the flow control valve. This cycle continues, keeping your pool pleasantly warm, ready for a comforting dip anytime.

Efficiency Matters

Efficiency is paramount. The placement and orientation of the solar collector significantly influence the system's efficiency. Ideally, it should face south to bask in maximum solar power, ensuring your pool remains consistently warm, mirroring the sun's radiant embrace.

How Much Does Solar Pool Heating Cost?

Pondering over the cost of solar pool heating? It's hard to talk about it without mentioning the significant savings it brings. The initial investment in a solar pool heating system might seem a bit steep, but here's the catch – it's a one-time cost that promises continual returns.

In contrast, traditional gas or electric heating options can burn a hole in your pocket, costing upwards of $1,500 or around $840 per year respectively. But with solar pool heating, the annual expense plummets to less than $75, covering just the cost of running a pool pump. Imagine the savings! Within three years, your solar pool heater can effortlessly pay for itself, proving its cost-effectiveness and impressive ROI.

Additional Costs

What about maintenance or other hidden costs? Minimal! Solar pool heating systems require basic maintenance, ensuring their longevity without unexpected expenses. Some states even offer subsidies or tax breaks for solar energy investments, sweetening the deal further.

If you are ready to dive into the world of savings with solar pool heating, then don’t just take our word for it. Get a free solar quote now and see the precise costs and savings for yourself.

Best Solar Pool Heaters

In the world of solar pool heaters, making an informed choice is paramount. The market is brimming with options, each promising to be the ideal solution to warm your pool waters. Let’s delve deeper into the top contenders, examining their features, pros, and cons, to help you make an educated decision.

1. SunQuest Solar Swimming Pool Heater

Brand: SunQuest

Designed for both in-ground and above-ground swimming pools, SunQuest Solar panels promise enhanced water circulation thanks to their MAX-FLOW design with 2" OD headers. This design reduces back pressure on your pump, ensuring it works efficiently. The compatibility with existing pool pumps and the ability to increase pool water temperature by up to 10 degrees make it a compelling choice.


  • Highly efficient solar panels

  • Special design for better water circulation

  • Increases pool water temperature by up to 10 degrees


  • No replacement warranty

2. SunHeater S120U Universal Solar Pool Heater

Brand: SunHeater

SunHeater S120U stands out for its user-friendly installation. It can be installed on the roof, rack, ground, or fence, ensuring maximum exposure to the sun’s rays. The patented web design and the use of existing pool pumps add to its appeal.


  • Simple installation

  • Versatile installation options

  • Special web design for maximum sun exposure


  • Low build quality

3. SOLARPOOLSUPPLY Industrial Grade DIY Solar Pool Heater


This solar pool heater is a beacon of reliability and durability. It offers a lifetime limited warranty that includes freeze protection. The industrial-grade durability and specialized clamping system ensure it stands the test of time.


  • 12-year warranty

  • Industrial-grade durability

  • Specialized clamping system for hassle-free experience


  • Expensive

4. Fafco Pool Solar Bear Economy Heating System

Brand: Fafco

Fafco’s solar pool heater is an economical choice for above-ground pools. It ensures optimal heating with unobstructed sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm and offers various installation options.


  • Wide solar collector

  • Optimal heating performance

  • Easy installation


  • Low build quality

  • No warranty

Other very good mentions are:

  • SwimEasy Maximum Performance DIY Solar Pool Heater

  • Heliocol Solar Pool Heater Pane

Making the Choice

Interestingly enough, each solar pool heater has its unique offerings. The SunQuest Solar Swimming Pool Heater is a robust choice for efficient water heating and circulation, but the absence of a replacement warranty might be a dealbreaker for some. SunHeater’s S120U is a versatile option with easy installation, but its build quality leaves much to be desired.

If budget is not a constraint, the SOLARPOOLSUPPLY Industrial Grade DIY Solar Pool Heater is a stellar choice with its extensive warranty and industrial-grade durability. For those on a budget, the Fafco Pool Solar Bear Economy Heating System is a viable option, albeit with no warranty and reported low build quality.

In the quest for the best solar pool heater, consider your specific needs, budget, and the pool type. Evaluate the pros and cons, and make a choice that promises efficiency, durability, and value for money.

How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Heat a Pool?

The number of solar panels it takes to heat a pool depends on various factors.

First up, consider the size of your pool and the amount of sunlight your location receives. For instance, a 500-square-foot pool in a region receiving about 5 hours of sunlight daily would typically need around four 4'x20' solar panels. A larger pool in a less sunny area? You might need six or more panels. The efficiency of the solar panels also plays a crucial role.

High-efficiency panels, with about 80-85% efficiency, can heat your pool faster and might require fewer units. It's hard to talk about solar panels without mentioning the type and quality as well. Premium panels might cost more but could save you money in the long run by reducing the number needed, potentially cutting the number of panels by half.

In conclusion, it's all about balancing various factors to find the right number of solar panels for your specific situation. Ready to make the plunge into solar-heated bliss? Calculate your needs and dive in! Your warm and eco-friendly pool awaits...


Is solar heating for pool worth it?

Absolutely! Solar pool heaters are cost-effective in the long run, environmentally friendly, and can extend your swimming season by providing consistently warm water. They have low maintenance costs and can also increase the value of your property.

How long does it take to heat a pool with solar panels?

Can I use my existing solar panels to heat my pool?

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