Above Ground Solar Pool Heater

An above ground solar pool heater is a great way to add free heating energy to your pool for an affordable, upfront cost. It's the perfect addition to your pool if you want warm and inviting water temperatures throughout the summer months. It will also allow you to start the pool season earlier and extend it later into the cooler months. All of the benefits of free solar heat can be enjoyed by anyone and with our list of top rated above ground solar pool heaters you'll be on your way.  

above ground solar pool heater

There are a few important things you need to keep in mind when choosing the best heater for your pool. There are limitations to how much heat is harnessed from each dome or panel and most pool owners will need multiple units to achieve substantial heating. It's common for pool owner's to overestimate how much heat is produced but we'll explain a bit about how many panels or domes you need as well as solar efficiency. 

If you find that you don't have enough space to set up multiple panels or domes you might want to consider a propane or natural gas above ground pool heater. A heater that uses combustable fuel can be relied on in any climate and may be necessary if you don't receive enough sunlight hours or you want heating capabilities that solar energy just can't provide. Many pool owners use a solar heater to supplement a natural gas heater to reduce monthly fuel costs. 

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How Above Ground Solar Pool Heaters Work

Solar heaters for pools are growing in popularity because they are affordable, easy to install and they work. You can count on free heat for your pool every season and who doesn't want anything that's free but how do solar heaters for pools work?

The heater is made up several tubes that can be spiralled in a dome shape or laid out flat in a panel. The idea is to optimize the surface area so that the most heat energy is transferred from the sun to the tubes, and subsequently the water. The tubes are black in color so they absorb the most possible heat when the suns solar energy reaches them. 

As the tubes are heated by the sun they warm the water inside the tubes just like a garden hose warms water that is sitting out on the lawn. If you've ever experienced the rush of warm or hot water that first comes out of a garden hose when you turn it on you'll know how hot water can get by being warmed by the sun. 

The water is pushed through the solar dome or panel by the pump via plumbing that is looped into your existing pool system. The design allows water to be drawn out of your pool as normal and as it sits or passes through the solar tubes it warms up. It's eventually returned to the pool, increasing the temperature over time. This process is repeated any time the system is running and as long as there is sun, the temperature will increase. 

Increasing Water Temperature 

How much the temperature increases depends on 4 basic factors; solar collector size, solar efficiency, pool size and circulation. We'll discuss each one so you have a better understanding of what to expect including the capabilities and limitations that you will be faced with. 

Solar Collector Size and Efficiency

The size and surface area of the solar panel or dome is directly related to how much energy it will be able to transfer to the water. You simply cannot heat a large pool with one dome or panel because there won't be enough energy transferred. Learn more about solar panel sizing and efficiency by following this link. 

The solar efficiency of an above ground solar pool heater comes down to how much energy is transferred from the sun to your pool. Maximum efficiency can be achieved by ensuring that you place the solar collector in a place that receives the most sunlight without being obstructed for a minimum of 6-8 hours. Proper angle and orientation should also be determined for your location. 

Pool Size and Circulation

The larger the pool, the larger surface area of solar collectors will be needed to substantially heat the water. You will need to make sure that your pump can handle the slight increase in demand that the above ground solar pool heater adds to the plumbing system. The amount of hours you operate your pump and how much water is passed through the solar collector will affect temperature. 

Above Ground Solar Pool Heater Installation

Above ground solar pool heaters are very easy to install and can be done by any handy pool owner in as little as an hour or two. If you have an existing system with pump and filter all you need to do is splice it into the plumbing as per the manufacturers instructions. You may require an installation kit if you require specialized adapters, hoses and fittings. 

Ensure that all the plumbing is fastened properly and check for leaks when operating the pump system for the first time. If you suspect a leak or the installation is more complicated you can always contact the manufacturer or hire a pool service professional. 

Top Rated Above Ground Solar Pool Heaters

These solar pool heaters earned their distinction as the best on the market because of a number of factors including; cots, warranty and ease of installation. If you end up going with environmentally friendly solar heat you can buy with confidence using the following list of top rated above ground solar pool heaters.

The SmartPool universal sun heater will keep your above ground pool warm with 4 polypropylene heat collector panels. It comes with everything you need for installation including end caps, clamps, tape and connector hose. The easy installation and affordability make this the best above ground solar pool heater on the market today. 

The SunQuest solar pool panel system for above ground pools come with 2, 2' x 20' panels for a total of 80 square feet of solar panel collection area. They are compatible with just about any size of pool pump and system. It boasts a really easy do-it-yourself installation process that any handy pool owner can complete in a couple hours. It will raise the average above ground pool up to 10℉.

The Kokido Keops solar dome above ground pool heater will help keep a small pool warm and extend enjoyment into the cooler months of the year. They are ideal for supplementing heat if you have an existing fuel heater to reduce or illuminate heating costs. You may require multiple dome solar collectors if you have a larger pool and that is explained on the product sales page. 

This list of the top rated above ground solar pool heaters includes our highest ranked panel and dome collectors. If you have a larger pool and the space we recommend panels and if you are tight for space, portable dome collectors should be sufficient for your heating needs. 

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