How to Build Your Own Homemade Solar Pool Heater

Nothing is as inviting a warm pool after a long day. Unless you don’t mind freezing temperatures in your pool, a heater is always a great investment. It allows you to enjoy swimming all year round. However, the cost of heating a pool with electricity can be astronomical, and that is why most homeowners turn to solar heaters.

The energy efficiency of solar power ensures that you can keep your pool warm throughout without the burden of spiking fuel bills. There is also the sustainability of solar power, which reduces your carbon footprint. Another advantage is that you can DIY a homemade solar pool heater with inexpensive materials, thus save money. Solar heaters are very simple in design, so making one yourself doesn’t require a lot of skill, not to mention you can have a lot of fun with the project.

Homemade Solar Pool Heater – 4 Things to Consider

Homemade Solar Pool Heater

Components of Your Homemade Solar Pool Heater

Before you start tinkering, learn the basic parts of a homemade solar pool heater. Knowing which component does what will make it easier to put the device together. The most crucial section of a homemade solar pool heater is the collector. This part allows the heat trapped from the sun to warm up water. You can use an unglazed plate, a recycled glass door, or a black poly pipe. A homemade collector will need copper tubing. If you haven’t the time to DIY the collector, buy solar panels.

The filter is responsible for removing dirt from the water before it can cycle through the collector. Then, there is the pump, which is responsible for the water circulation- from the pool to the filter to the collector then back to the pool. Underwater pumps are readily available at local hardware stores. Your homemade solar pool heater also needs a solar PV module to operate the collector, and you can buy one at a home depot. Copper wiring is necessary, as well for connecting the PV module to the pump. Don’t forget to get PVC piping and valves.

Making the Collectors

The first task is to size the collectors. Collector size will determine the amount of heat it generates. The ratio of the pool’s surface area to the collector’s surface area should be 2:1. You can increase their surface area if your region has a lot of cloud cover or gets too cold during winter.

Once you have the measurements for the collector, cut the unglazed plate or recycled glass door. Get plywood and 2x4s to make the box that will house the glass surface. You will make the plywood the bottom of your box; the 2X4s will be the sides while the glass goes on top. Join the 2X4s to the plywood using nails then paint the box black. Make a hole in the bottom corner of the box and another one on the opposite side at the top corner. Take the copper tubing and pass it through one of the holes then lay it on the wooden box in curves. Make as many turns as possible inside the box because they will determine how much heat you trap. The copper tubing should come out in the other hole. When this is complete, place the glass surface or unglazed plate on top of the box frame.

Assembling the Heater

After that, position the collector correctly so that it can trap sufficient sunlight. You can place it on the roof or the ground near the pool. Building a support structure can also help, especially when you have an above ground pool. Be wary of any shades that may interfere with the heating process. Once you have the right positioning, connect the submersible pump to the input pipe in the collector box. Installing an intake valve at this juncture will give you control of the water flow. You can also have a valve at the outflow section of the collector box.

Since the pump will be inside the pool, it should have enough pressure to raise water to the collector. If the collector is on the ground, almost any pump will work. Next, connect the PV module. Use the copper wiring to make this connection. Before turning your pump on, cover the copper wiring with the PVC piping to prevent shock.

If your wiring skills are not very good, you can have an electrician consult to avoid unsafe connections. After connecting everything, turn on the pump and wait for the water to heat. Note that your homemade solar pool heater will take a while before it can collect enough heat to warm the water, so be patient. Since you have the filter pump separate from the heat pump, you can run the filtration system at night for a couple of hours.

With this assembly, you have your homemade solar pool heater that will keep your water warm for a significant while.

Getting the Most Out of Your Homemade Solar Pool Heater

Pool being heated with the help of solar heater

You can DIY a solar heater for your pool then realize that it doesn’t provide the required heating. One way to fix that is to use a pool cover. Covering your pool at night retains heat, which minimizes energy loss. This cover is also capable of trapping heat from the sun such that your pool stays warmer for longer. It also keeps the pool free from debris especially if your compound has a lot of trees.

The maintenance of your pool may also be the reason your homemade solar pool heater is not working optimally. Check the filters regularly to ensure that they are clearing debris. Clogged filters will interfere with water flow and consequently, the heating process. Balancing the pH levels in your pool also help in boosting heater performance.

Final Thoughts

With a homemade solar pool heater, you don’t have to fret over the expense of keeping your pool warm when it’s cold. Just because your budget doesn’t allow a full solar heating system doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a warm swim. A multitude of other options is available when looking to make a homemade solar pool heater. If your pool already has a DIY solar heater, what type is it and how much did it cost you to make?


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