Solar Pool FAQs
A solar pool heater can range in cost from about $3,500 to $8,000 with the average system costing around $5,500. Costs vary due to size of your swimming pool, desired water temperature, amount of exposure that the pool has to sun and shading, and, finally, the direction that the solar panels will face on your roof.
To see how much a solar pool heater would cost for your home or business, contact us to schedule a solar estimate. Once our solar consultant has evaluated your pool, roof, and energy needs, we can provide you with a more exact cost.
If you are currently using a gas or electric pool heater, the savings from solar pool heating system will pay for itself in 2-3 years of installation.
For example, the average system costs about $5,500 and it typically costs about $2,000 a year to heat a pool with gas. The payback period would be only 2.75 years in this particular instance.
Installation of a solar pool heating system typically takes anywhere from 1-3 days. Often, installation time depends on the size of the solar system, the type of roof and whether any trenching or concrete work must be provided.
From April to October, a properly sized solar system with unglazed solar panels in Southern California can heat your pool to a comfortable temperature between 78° F to 85° F. Though your pool will be warmer and will cut down on costs, it won’t reach as high of a temperature in the winter months from November through March. A pool cover will greatly augment the ability of a solar heater to provide comfortable swimming temperatures in the winter season because it will reduce nighttime heat loss.
If you choose to install glazed solar panels, better heating is accomplished on cool or windy days. You should be able to heat your pool to a comfortable temperature for most of the year, especially if you also use a cover or pool blanket in the off season (November to March).
A cover will help the pool water retain its heat at night. Without a cover in the winter, all of the solar energy that was collected during the day will disappear. Sometimes prolonged rainy or overcast weather will cool the pool even if a blanket has been used. Most swimmers prefer to use their pools during warm weather and thus 90% of the pool systems that have been installed in Southern California are unglazed and blankets are rarely used. But if you live in windy cool areas, such as near the coast, installing glazed panels might be advisable.
On average, solar pool heating panels should hold up for 20 years and sometimes longer. In fact, AMECO installed solar pool systems in the late 1970s and early 1980s that are still functioning today.
Most solar pool heater manufacturers that we work with offer 20 year and lifetime warranties. You may read more about the warranties of our solar equipment here.
Unglazed solar panels (the most popular option in Southern California) will heat your pool all year long. However, the degree to which your pool can be heated will be reduced significantly when air temperatures are cooler than 70° F. A system can be sized to provide a “swimming season” of up to, but not beyond, April to October, in most parts of our region.
In November through March, we suggest using a pool blanket or cover. This can help reduce any heat loss that your solar pool may experience at nighttime during the winter months.
Yes, today’s solar pool heaters have automatic controls that are easy to understand and very reliable. Just set the thermostat, wait for the sun to shine and let your pool be heated to the desired temperature.
A solar pool heater costs nothing to operate, making it the most economical way to heat your swimming pool when compared to gas or electric heaters.
AMECO carries a number of solar pool panels from certified and approved manufacturers. We are happy to make a recommendation after we have performed a site evaluation and conducted an interview to understand your swimming needs.
When properly installed, a solar system should not affect your pool chemicals. However, since your pool will now be warmer and you may be swimming in it more, you will probably need to increase your chlorine usage. We can help you keep your pool chemistry balanced. Ask us about automatic pool chlorinators, ionizers, ozone generators and saline pools during your solar evaluation.
No, if a solar system has been installed properly, then it will not cause your roof to leak. Make sure that you only invest in solar pool panels that can be securely attached to the structural members of your roof (i.e. the rafters).
The efficiency of solar panels for heating swimming pools and spas has not changed significantly over the past twenty-five years. When heating an average-sized pool to 78° F to 85° F, most solar pool heating panels operate in the 90% efficiency range. In our opinion, there is no better time than the present to go solar and install a solar pool heater.
When you hear about improving efficiencies in solar, it’s most likely related to solar electric panels (sometimes called photovoltaic panels) that are used to provide electricity to homes and businesses. Currently, solar electric panels are in the 14% to 22% efficiency range and continue to improve.
Many solar pool collectors (panels) offered today operate in the top 10% of energy performance. And most of these solar panels energy efficiencies are within ten percent of each other. The energy ratings of panels used to heat pool water can be found on the web sites run by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) or Solar Ratings and Certifications Committee (SRCC).
There are three types of pool heaters to choose from solar, gas and electric:
A solar pool heater can be installed for $3,500 to $8,000. Since the sun is free, it will cost you nothing to heat your pool from April through November. Plus, there are no regular maintenance fees. After five years, you probably won’t spend any additional money than what you originally did for installation.
A gas heater can be installed for $2,400 to $4,000. If you heat an average-sized pool for the months of April to November to 80° F, it will cost you another $1,800 to operate. After five years, your total expenses, including installation and yearly maintenance, will exceed $11,400!
An electric heat pump can be installed for $5,000, and will cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,400 to operate each pool season, depending upon efficiency and location of the installation. After five years, your total expenses will be anywhere from $11,000 to $17,000!
These price examinations prove why a solar pool heater is the most economical way to heat a pool in Southern California.
Unfortunately, it’s always the ugly solar panel installations that we remember. You might be surprised to discover how many of your neighbors already own a system that is hidden from view or installed so that it blends in well with the house. Click through to our solar installation photo gallery to see how nice a solar system can look when it’s installed properly.
If a hidden location is not available on your roof, you have a couple different options. First, you may consider purchasing solar panels that are more aesthetically pleasing; many customers choose to go with glazed solar panels because they can appear to look more like skylights once installed on the roof. Another option is the possibility of installing a solar heat exchanger in your attic, which would make the solar system invisible to all and has the added benefit of cooling your home in the summer. While both of these options can be more more expensive than a regular installation of unglazed solar pool panels, they may be worthwhile if aesthetics are your top priority.