Three major factors that determine your solar system needs are size of pool, orientation of solar collectors and efficiency of system. Other factors include temperature preferences, pool covers, exposure to wind and sun, and usage. Depending on the weather, some locations in South Florida lose only a few weeks of comfortable swimming time. Heating a pool means more fun from your investment and solar pool heating saves money and the environment. For over 30 years, solar energy has been extending the swimming seasons for hundreds of thousands of pool owners, from small lap pools to large resorts to world-class swimming facilities.
Dark solar collectors absorb the sunlight’s natural radiant energy and pass that heat along to pool water that circulates through the system using the pool’s own filtration pump. Solar energy is a clean, renewable energy source that is absolutely free to use.
The most efficient solar panels are installed on roofs facing south. Other orientations are possible with large panels. The system operates automatically, diverting water downstream from the filter, where it is pumped to the collectors to be heated by the sun. The heated pool water flows into the pool until the preset temperature is achieved. In systems with an automatic solar control, water bypasses the solar system until additional heating is triggered. All solar system plumbing is installed in conjunction with existing equipment.
Heating the water is a matter of preference, however there are habits that can be used and equipment designed to keep your pool heated at maximum efficiency. Most pool heating systems work automatically, with some owners electing to use heat pumps to provide additional heat when desired.
The best spot for any solar collector is generally on the roof at an angle, facing south. Alternatives can usually be found if such orientation is not feasible, such as on the ground or as part of an awning. There are a variety of styles to ensure a proper fit and some manufacturers even offer limited colors that blend in with the roof.
Like other exterior equipment and building materials, outdoor solar equipment installed in Florida must meet the new statewide code that requires affected products to withstand 146 mph winds. Most solar panels are integrated with the roofing system and are designed to minimize stress during inclement weather. Solar collectors have performed remarkably well during major storms, and are resistant to hail and ultraviolet radiation.
Since evaporation is the biggest source of heat loss for pools (75%), pool covers are an effective way to maximize the efficiency of your pool heating system. In addition, pool covers reduce water and chemical loss while preventing debris from entering the pool. Constructed much like bubble wrap, these resilient, lightweight covers are shaped specifically for your pool. On sunny days, they will even trap the heat that passes through the translucent covers. Large reel systems make for easy removal and deployment.
Florida Statute Section 163.04. makes it illegal for most communities to prevent the effective use of solar energy products. Floridians have a statutory right to access renewable energy sources, from clotheslines to water heaters. Click here to see the laws protecting your right to use solar energy.