Let’s be honest- owning a swimming pool is awesome. Some of us in the developed world have the luxury of our very own swimming pool in our back yards, just for our use. It’s an awesome thing.
One complaint, though, that is often is heard about swimming pools is that the water is too cold, which can make for an uncomfortable first few minutes in. Even in the dog days of summer, the water in a large pool can be near bone-chilling.
DROPPING SOME SCIENCE
You see, water is slow to absorb thermal energy and slow to release it. This is a very good thing if you live near a large body of water- it keeps the surrounding area cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. That’s why the summer and winter temperatures along the coasts are generally less extreme than they are in the Great Plains.
Unfortunately, the same principal applies for our pools. There are over 10,000 gallons of water in the average pool, leaving the water shockingly cold even during the warmest months of summer. Luckily, there are methods available for making your pool water warmer, allowing swimming to be more enjoyable during the summer and possible during the spring and fall.
METHODS OF POOL WATER HEATING
There are different methods for warming pool water. Electric and gas heaters are available on the market today, but they use electricity or fuel and tend to cost upwards of $2,000. There are pool covers available that absorb heat and keep it in as well. These are great, but have a minimal effect, and are probably bet used as a supplement. One of the best methods available uses the suns energy itself to warm your pool. These are called solar pool heaters.
TYPES OF SOLAR POOL HEATERS
Solar pool heaters consist of a solar panel, a water pump, and tubing that runs to and from the pool. Cold water (usually located at the bottom of the pool, as warm water will rise) is pumped from the pool to the solar panel, where it is warmed. It is then pumped back into the pool, and the process begins again.
Flat plate collectors are a common form of solar panel used for these kinds of water heaters. A flat plate collector is a flat box, with a transparent top to let sunlight in, and a dark bottom to absorb as much heat as possible. Water is carried through the box through a series of tubes (usually made of copper) where it is warmed.
Generally, solar panels 12 feet by 5 feet (3.5mx1.5m) should be enough for pools 6000 gallons and under in size (of course this will change based on your climate and time of year, but this is on average). The same ratio can be scaled up for larger pools.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, your panels should face directly south to maximize the solar energy they receive (they should face directly north if you live in the Southern Hemisphere).
Some guidelines for pumps suggest they should be able to deliver 120 gallons/hour, and should be capable of raising water at least five feet two inches (5’2”) in height (or 1.6m).
There are solar pool heaters available for purchase on the market today. If you’re a handyman or woman, check out our article DIY: HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN SOLAR POOL WATER HEATER.
Good luck and stay prepared!
P.S: Happy 30th post to me, woot woot!