Using Solar Panels for Supplemental Heat with Gas Pool Heaters

If you are already heating your pool with a gas heater, you know how expensive maintaining a comfortable water temperature can be. But, you may not want to switch to a fully solar pool heater. Maybe your gas pool heater is a recent investment. Maybe you just want the option of a heated pool on overcast or cool days. Fortunately, you can have the best of both worlds by using solar panels in conjunction with your gas heater!

Installing solar panels to work alongside your gas heater can easily cut your gas heating bills in half. Instead of relying on the gas heater for constant temperature maintenance, you can let the solar panels passively heat your pool during the day. This will save your gas for early or late season swimming. Or, if your area is temperate, you can keep your pool open year-round without breaking the bank. You’ll heat with solar energy in the summer and switch back to gas for the cooler months. You’ll increase the life of your gas heater by not using it as often. And, you’ll cut down on repairs!

How to add solar panels to your gas pool heater

So, what do you need to convert your gas heater into a dual gas and solar pool heater? First, you’ll need to make sure that you have an ideal area to place your solar array. This should be a section of roof, a fence, or a rack that gets at least six hours of full sun each day. Just check your backyard or roof throughout the day this weekend. If you’ve got an area just half the size of your pool that stays in the sunlight, you’re good to go! It’s easiest to get the ideal sun exposure in an area with a southward orientation. But, again – watch your backyard or roof. As long as the sun is shining on the array, the solar panels will produce heat.

How many solar panels do you need?

Now that you’ve determined that you have a good space to set up your pool solar panels, how many will you need to heat your pool? Most people are comfortable in water temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s. To heat your pool to this range during warmer months, you’ll only need enough solar panels to cover half of your pool’s surface area. Most residential solar panels are slightly larger than five feet by three feet. This gives you about 17.5 feet of collecting area. So, if you have a 10×20 foot pool, you’ll need only seven pool solar panels to heat your water to a comfortable temperature range.

Installing solar panels into an existing gas pool heater is simple. You’ll just need a three-way valve added onto the return line after the gas heater, with a pipe running to and from the solar panels. Then, reserve a day for standard installation of the solar array. You’ll be enjoying warm water and lower gas bills in no time!

 

Here at Daniel’s Home for Solar Energy, we’ve taken the guesswork out of shopping for solar heating products! Check out our product recommendations on pool solar panels to find the ones that best suit your pool heating needs.