Trends in Using Solar Energy for Pool Heating in metro New Orleans
Pool owners in metro New Orleans are lucky…we have a much longer swim season than our friends up north. However, even though we live in the deep south, it still gets cold and pool owners need a cost effective method of heating your pool to use it during those months.
The “going green” trend has made its way into the pool industry, and many people are talking about whether or not they can use solar collectors to heat their pools.
Credit: By Steve Straehley
Is Solar A Substitute for A Gas Pool Heater?
The short answer is no.
These solar powered water collectors will not allow you to swim year-round in climates that have cold winters, even as mild as our New Orleans winters are. However you may gain extra months before and after the normal summer season where you don’t have to run your gas pool heater to enjoy your pool.
Solar systems normally cannot warm water enough to be used in a spa. However, it can raise spa water temperatures enough that little energy is needed from your gas heater to get it up to the temperature you need.
Installing Solar Collectors for Pools
The installation of a solar system is not too difficult, particularly if you have experience. A typical installation may take two experienced workers less than one day to complete.
Solar systems installed in areas like Southern California, where temperatures are 80 degrees and above for about six months of every year, will allow you to recoup your costs in energy savings in just two or three years. This is according to Emery Osgood, who is the president of Solar Heating Specialists.
Using Solar Collectors for Older Pools
If your pool was built before 1996, the there is a good chance that your older single-speed pump may need to be replaced with a pump model with variable-speeds. Gas heaters may be added for those pools that don’t already have them, states Pool Spa News.
Collectors in these cases are usually installed on the house roof, but they may be mounted on a separate platform. Single-story homes are easier in which to work, since there won’t be as much ladder climbing needed.
Installation of Solar Collectors
1. Solar collectors should be placed facing south. If a direct southern exposure is not available, they should get as much southern sun as possible. These collectors are flexible, and the number of collectors you need will depend on the size of your pool. Average size pools may require six collectors, while bigger pools may require nine or ten pumps.
2. Rubber couplings are used in joining individual collectors.
3. The pipes located on the bottom of the collectors will be fitted together.
4. Brackets will be used to connect collectors to the roof, at the bottom and the top. Lag bolts are effective in bracketing the collector to the roof tiles. Different roof types may require different approaches for installation.
5. Stainless steel traps coated with plastic will keep your collectors from billowing during periods of high wind.
6. Older, single-speed pumps are removed during the installation of solar collectors. New models with variable speeds will be installed. After this, a sensor is placed in the line to test the pool’s water temperature. Another sensor will check the temperature on the roof. A differential of four to seven degrees will activate the system.
7. The return line will be fitted to the collectors’ tops. When your collectors are in operation, the pool water will enter the collectors from their bottom portions and will be heated as it steadily rises through the collector. Then it is returned to the pool.
8. The return line will come from the roof to the intake pipe, at the point where it brings in filtered water from your equipment pad.
9. The lines will be attached to the sides of your house, with holes cut into the roof, where the pipes are accepted.
10. Water lines will be run down through the roof to the equipment pad.
11. Electrical lines will be run into a new control box that is installed on the side of your house.
12. PVC pipes will be painted to match the roof color. Pipes mounted on the sides of your house are painted to match the paint, siding or stucco. Shades can be mixed to create good color matches.
13. The installation of the actuator is the last step, with electrical hookups run to the pump. Now you’ll have warm water coming from your pool jets.
Please note that each yard configuration and pool design are different, so it’s very difficult to make general statements about what will and won’t work when it comes to pool heating and solar solutions. If you have any questions about the information in this article please contact us today for a consultation to discuss your specific needs!