3 Ways to Build a DIY Solar Pool Heater

Nothing beats a refreshing dip in a warm pool on a cool day. Although a pool heater won’t make your pool look like a hot tub, it can make swimming more enjoyable and a more comfortable place to spend chilly summer evenings.

A solar heater is also affordable, convenient and easy to use. Building your own further lowers the costs involved, making it a lot cheaper.

What is pool heating?

A pool heater drains the pool, transports the water to a storage tank, and then refills the pool with hot water. Even when it’s cool outside, the alternating flow of cold and warm water keeps your pool at a comfortable temperature. A solar pool heater is also an eco-friendly way to heat your pool as it runs on the renewable energy of sunlight.

Most solar pool heaters work with a solar collector, filter, pump and flow control valve. Water from the pool is circulated through the filter and heated in the collector before being returned to the pool. In general, solar water heaters are less powerful than electric and gas heaters, but they are cheap and easy to build.

Solar energy could do much more in your home than just heat your swimming pool. We’ve outlined some of the best solar powered devices you could use in your home.

There are three main approaches to building a working solar pool heater based on the type of solar collector: flat plate, evacuated tube, and batch collector.

1. Flat plate collector

Installation of solar panels

This method is by far the most popular way to build a solar pool heater. The underlying idea is simple: a dark, flat surface, usually a sheet of copper or aluminum, is heated with sunlight and this energy is transferred to the pool to raise its temperature. This working principle offers several advantages such as affordability, easy installation and low maintenance.

Flat-plate collectors are usually installed facing the equator. Insulation is added to the bottom and sides of the panel to minimize heat loss. Here is an example project using this approach to building a solar pool heater:

DIY solar pool heater

Swimming pool with side ladder

User Bnaiver built a heater for his above ground pool to keep a comfortable temperature during spring and fall. The tools and equipment required for this project are cheap and can be found at Home Depot for less than $100. It uses a 4×4 piece of plywood, 200 feet of half-inch diameter vinyl irrigation hose, UV-resistant cable ties to attach the hose to the plywood, a valve assembly consisting of a series of valves and a “Y”. . Adapter and a mechanical timer for outdoor use.

The valve assembly serves to direct water into the heater and then back into the pool. It also makes it possible to shut off the flow of heating when it is no longer needed.

Bnaiver measures with an infrared thermometer and can read 99℉ from the pool. If you follow the Instructables guide you should be able to build your own well working solar pool heater in less than a day of work.

If you’re interested in building something larger than a solar water heater, we’ve listed the components you’ll need to build an off-grid solar power system.

2. Vacuum tube collector

An evacuated tube collector is a solar heating system using a series of glass tubes containing a copper rod or tube. The air in these tubes is removed to create a vacuum. Also, aluminum nitrate or titanium nitride oxide is applied to the inside of the inner glass tube to maximize sunlight absorption.

Evacuated tube collectors are generally more efficient than flat-plate collectors. The vacuum space between the inner and outer glass tubes provides insulation and allows the tubes to contain thermal energy with minimal losses. This allows them to consistently perform well.

However, evacuated tube collectors tend to be more expensive. An evacuated tube collector can cost up to 20-40% more than a flat plate collector. They require less maintenance and can serve you for years after installation. While there are typically some differences in the specifics of building vacuum tube solar water heaters, the core concepts remain the same.

This YouTube tutorial by Pete Stothers will walk you through building your own evacuated tube solar pool heater. It uses a vacuum tube array (with 12 tubes) and a 12~24VDC circulation pump. As previously mentioned, evacuated tube collectors are quite expensive and you can expect to spend up to $400 on this project. Here is the second part of the tutorial.

This project can be automated with Home Assistant to monitor the temperature from time to time and regulate the pump flow rate. As Pete mentioned, this DIY project might be a lot better suited to pools with a smaller surface area, such as an infinity pool. a hot tub or backyard coil.

3. Stack Collector

This is the least common type of solar panel. It is also less efficient and takes up much more space compared to other collectors. However, the way it works is simple enough and requires a lot less maintenance.

Batch collectors are a type of integral collector tank (ICS) in which the tank and solar collector are combined into one unit. This eliminates the need for pumps and controls in the system.

A glass lined insulated box allows sunlight to heat a dark tinted water tank that absorbs the heat. The water is heated more efficiently thanks to a metal coil around the outside of the tank that draws in heat and disperses it inside the tank.

Most batch collectors house their water reservoir in an insulated box with a glass or plastic body. For use as a batch collector, all you need is an old, normal hot water tank. With its insulated walls, the water storage tank emits less heat to the outside air and its glass roof lets in solar energy to heat the water.

You can create your own stack collector by following this Instructables guide by Ganesh Ruskin. When building his batch collector, he uses as many recycled materials as possible. According to Ganesh himself, this Instructable is a bit rough around the edges, but the main steps are well detailed and you should be able to get the gist of what is being described.

Some of the tools and equipment you will need are an old hot water tank, two sheets of plywood, a glass patio door, two copper and steel pipes, drywall screws, steel plugs, teflon pipe tape and primer.

Build your own solar pool heater

Using a solar pool heater is an environmentally friendly way to keep your pool warm. Homemade solar pool heaters are possible, although there are numerous commercially marketed solar pool heaters to choose from online. They set up in a short time and cost significantly less than commercial options.

You might also like

Comments are closed.