- STRIP STYLE COLLECTOR
- PANEL SYSTEMS
- ELECTRIC HEAT PUMP
- GAS HEATING
Solar heating is, as the name suggests, heating straight from the sun. It works the same for all styles as far as capturing the suns energy/heat and transferring it to the water as it passes through the collector. Once back in the pool convection takes over and dissipates the hotter water around the pool. It is generally black, however other colours are available, and usually installed onto the north roof of your house.
There are many variables to consider about location of the solar, aesthetics being the most relevant. Nobody wants the system to detract from the look of your house. However it goes without saying that if you want solar you need to have it on the best possible aspect available, aesthetics aside, to help it work. Sometimes this may be the front of the house. You need to be made aware of this so you can make a decision about which form of heating best suits you.
There are a number of other things that affect the efficiency, wind, roof pitch and shading, to name but a few, so installing on the best possible roof will help! Anybody who has done installations before will have the right information for you at the quote stage. And it needs to be discussed then otherwise trouble is ahead. Solar might not be an option?!
Solar heating generally has two different styles: Rubber or strip systems and Panel systems. Both systems do what you require with the help of the sun. They both have differing advantages over each other in their applications.
Within this style there are two options for the type of collector.
Rubber (EPDM) or
Either type will do what you wish, and there is really no advantage from one to the next. Every company or installer has their favourite. They generally are sold in rolls that are 30mts long and 150mm wide. The width of the strip is academic, it's the number of tubes each strip carries that affects the efficiency. The standards are 8, 10 or 12 tubes across the 150mm width.
Panel systems have really taken off in the last few years due to their ability to resist cockatoo attack and their simplicity of installation. They work under the same principals as the rubber collector and heat the water via the suns energy/heat as it passes through the collector. They have real positive applications onto roofs in areas where birds attack the rubber and steep roofs that are difficult to work on.
There only shortcoming is that they are rectangular panels and as such don't fit real well onto any roof with a hip or valley at either end. If you have a big roof then this wont be a concern. Smaller roofs would be better considering the rubber as it can be custom fit and run into all corners and valleys utilising more of the roof.
Heat Pumps are basically an air conditioner for your pool. They have become significantly more efficient to run in recent years as compared to the old style electric heaters- which were basically a large kettle! They work on utilising the ambient temperature to heat the pool water. The heat pumps pictured here from Evo Heat Pumps, can work down to as low as -7 degrees. This gives them an incredible range of operation.
As with solar they have a lead in time to bring the pool up to temp. They can supply warmth on days where the solar might not, due to their method of operation.
Their only draw back is the use of electricity to generate the heat. However, given their efficiency this can be justified.
This is the most flexible of heating options. But as you would expect with flexibility comes the added cost of running the heater. All gas heaters run off your pool filtration system and as such don't have another pump to run it, but they still need the gas to burn to provide the heat.
If you want to be able to turn your heater on at 2pm in the afternoon and swim in warm water that evening AND not care about the cost to run, then this is the option for you. It is the only option that will work all year. It just gets a bit expensive to run and a lot of fine tuning to make it efficient is required by the owner for this to happen.