How Does Solar Swimming Pool Heating Work?


Solar swimming pool heating is the most cost-effective application of solar energy. Unglazed collectors (solar panels), which are the simplest and least expensive of all collectors, are used almost universally for heating outdoor pools and spas.

The heating system itself is normally already required for pools, regardless of whether a solar heating system is added.

In Southern California, a typical pool season will cost in excess of $2,000 of natural gas to heat the pool. Installing a solar swimming pool heating system with a life expectancy of over 20 years, and with an average cost of $5,000 makes economic sense. A solar pool heating installation will save a substantial amount of money while providing a warm and comfortable pool.

AMECO Solar has found solar pool heaters to be one of the most cost-effective solar energy applications. A solar pool heating system will save enough money to pay for itself quickly and provide pool heating energy free for your enjoyment and use for many years. AMECO Solar’s thermal division specializes in designing and installing solar swimming pool heating systems in the Los Angeles area.

How You Can Prepare

To get the full benefits of a solar pool heater you must have an area for the solar collectors (panels) that is large enough and has the proper exposure to the sun. If you install the collectors on a pitched roof, the ideal direction should face south. You will need to add more collectors as the angle facing due south varies.

The collector area required will depend on the surface area of your swimming pool, the water temperature you wish to maintain, the amount of pool shading and the direction the solar collectors face. Typically, the area that will be efficient is 60% the area of your pool surface (length x width x .6). For less favorable solar collector orientation the collector area required may be as large as the pool surface area.

The only routine maintenance you will need to do is the same as you should always do for your pool, keep the pool clean and in proper chemical balance. It is advisable to shut off the water supply to your pool sweep and solar collectors if you will be adding pool shock treatment or excessive amounts of chemicals.


In almost all cases where the filter pump is currently keeping the pool clean, it is not necessary to change it or to add a pump for the solar heater. The existing pump is usually capable of circulating pool water through the solar panels.


Solar heating is completely automatic in a properly designed solar heating system. When your pool requires heat, the automatic control diverts the water coming from the filter to the solar collectors, if they are receiving solar energy. This continues until the pre-set desired temperature is reached or until no more solar energy is available. The solar collectors will preheat the water before it gets to the gas heater and the gas heater will use only the fuel needed to make up the difference.


Operation of solar pool heaters are extremely simple. Just flip a switch on the control to “Auto” at the beginning of the season and set the thermostat on the control to the pool temperature you want. At the end of the season, flip the control switch to “Off”. If you have a solar system that does not drain water back completely the panels should be winterized by uncapping the lowest solar panel to prevent the possibility of freeze damage.


Solar swimming pool heating collectors can be expected to last for at least 20 years.


Solar pool heating cannot keep up the temperature on heavily overcast or rainy days or during winter months. You may need to operate your gas heater to make up the temperature difference, if you attempt to maintain an unusually warm pool temperature. Even if you choose to use your conventional gas pool heater as well, the solar heater will still supply a large amount of free energy.

Have any questions about Solar Pool Installation in Long Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, Huntington Beach or Los Alamitos/Seal Beach area?  Give AMECO Solar a call today: 888-595-9570.