Warmth of the sun

Posted: April 27, 2008 in General, House

I’ve been thinking about solar heating for the pool pretty much since the first day I got into our pool and it was too cold for my tastes. I figured out pretty quickly that I’m a wimp and the closer the pool is to 82 degrees the longer I’m willing to stay in it. I ran through the gamut of what I could do to keep the pool warmer in the beginning and ending of the season. Solar is certainly the way to go, but I want to make sure whatever we do is convenient and somewhat attractive.

Probably the best solution is to mount solar (water) panels on the roof of the house and pump the pool water through them. That poses a few problems. First, the peak of the roofline is probably 40 feet higher than the pool pump (that’s a lot of pressure to overcome). Second, a reasonable setup wouldn’t be inexpensive (especially because I’d probably need a secondary pump). I even explored the idea of using our considerable deck surface as some kind of a solar heater (which would be great, albeit impractical).

I’ve settled on doing coiled elements around the perimeter of the pool (on the edges where we don’t have deck). There are a few reasons for this. First, as a DIY project I think the cost per element is about $50 in materials. Second, I can build one or two elements and get some quantitative results before building the remaining elements.

Based on my calculations I should be able to get about a 1 degree temperature increase for every element that is in place. I’ll provide some additional details in the upcoming weeks (along with some results in June).

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