Q: How much does a solar pool heater cost to install and operate compared with other types of pool heaters?
A: Generally speaking, the initial cost of installing a solar pool heater is slightly higher than a gas-fired or electric pool heater. However, while the annual cost of electricity to run a heat pump may be only two thirds that of natural gas (and far less than propane), the sun’s energy is FREE! Once a solar pool heating system is installed there are zero operating costs. That’s right, no more ridiculously high utility bills just to use your pool comfortably! In fact, over a 15-year span of heating your pool installing a solar pool heater can save you up to $28,000.
Q: But, doesn’t the pump have to run longer? And it must be working harder to push all that pool water up to the roof?
Actually, a high-efficiency solar pool heating system only needs about 6-8 hours of good sunlight each day to effectively heat a swimming pool. Most residential pools already run their pump or filter at least 8 hours a day (8-12 is recommended). So, as long as the pool is being filtered, it is being heated.
There is more than enough power in today’s pumps to operate a solar pool heater without stressing the motor. Did you know a 1-horsepower pump is capable of pushing a column of water 60-70 feet in the air, without breaking a sweat? Once water is diverted up to the roof, physics tells us it has to come back down – creating what is known as a “siphon effect” – effectively helping to reduce pressure drop at the pump. In the end, the pump is simply overcoming a very minor frictional loss.
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