How Does A Solar Pool Heater Work? (A Complete Guide)

The swimming pool has now become a popular place to pay a visit to, be it for professional purposes, be it for training, or be it for a casual pool party.

However, it does take a lot of maintenance.

Size of Swimming Pool:

An average swimming pool is about eight to twelve inches deep (20×40’).

So, needless to say, that it takes a lot of effort to maintain it, and to keep it clean as well. Swimming pools’ temperature is often adjusted according to the weather.

Solar Pool Heater

Mostly during the winter or during night time, the pool needs to be heated.

Swimming pools have various sizes and it varies from place to place. But if the average capacity is eight to twelve inches deep, you can imagine how much energy is needed to keep it heated.

The amount of gas or electricity spent behind heating the swimming pool every day is enormous and it is a huge waste of energy as well.

That is why today we shall see an inexpensive alternative which is equally effective when it comes to heating the pool and that is a solar pool heater.

Before approaching the topic, let’s get to know a little bit more about what exactly is a solar pool heater.

What is a Solar Pool Heater?

What is a Solar Pool Heater

A solar pool heater is basically a special kind of mat that is embedded with polypropylene that works by absorbing energy or heat from the sun. And from the mat, it eventually gets shifted to the pool and resulting in heating the swimming pool water.

The mats are veined and are accompanied by two pipes. The mat is exposed to direct sunlight and the water is pumped through the veins that the mat has.

So, the water is being heated so long the mat is exposed to the sunlight and the same water is gets conducted to the pool and thus the pool becomes absolutely chill free. That is pretty much how this works.

This policy is the most common when it comes to solar pool heater.

However, there is another kind, which is rather expensive, and that other kind of solar pool heater is addressed as the glazed panel heater. This is actually far more productive but is double the budget.

This system is designed with aluminium panels accompanied by copper piping. And the whole arrangement is in a way that it would work as a sandwich linking the tempered glass protectors.

There are many less expensive options are available. Especially for those who need it on a regular basis for professional purposes. There are coiled packs of solar cans, which are cheaper but works well.

They can make pool water warm that are sized up to 16’x32’ which is very efficient.

Now that we know what it is, let’s talk about how it works because that is the most important part.

How Does Solar Pool Heaters Work?

Solar energy used to heat your pool is ecosystem friendly and also saves your great amount of money because you will be using free radiations from the sun directly instead of purchasing the fuel.

The amount you will save depends on the available sources of heat for your pool, the efficiency of your system, how it works, the upfront cost, and some other factors.

It begins with getting the swimming pool into a size. What is mean is, the first step is to reckon the surface area of the pool. The solar heater panel usually is equivalent to fifty to sixty percent of the total area of the pool.

So, if, for example, the pool area is about 500 square feet, you will need a solar panel of 250 to 300 square feet. That’s the basic calculation. These vary from the shape of your swimming pool as well.

For example, a rectangular-shaped pool works fine with the common X width formula, but for the lagoon or kidney-shaped ones, it is different. The more solar panels you have, the better.

The reason for this is that if you have more panels you could only heat the pool quicker, that is why do not hesitate to expand it or make it larger in size, even if the panels are outsourced by any other fuel like gas or petrol.

Because having more panels will only heat the pool quicker, so do not hesitate to expand it or make it bigger in size, even if the panels are run by gas.

There are a few things to keep into account when you trying out a solar pool heater. One of the crucial things to consider is the place that you are going to set it up at.


Or in other words, where you will be placing it.

So, before you get started please make sure that there is enough space and of course, the most important factor, is that the space is exposable to the sun.

There is another factor that needs to be considered, and that is the adjacency to the pump.

The ideal place of the solar panels is the usual and obvious one which is the rooftop, preferably facing the south.

However, the panels need to be set in the proper degree so that it gets energy from the sun all day long.

For example:

the panels should be tilted to 10-15 degrees during the summer. The main thing is to keep the solar panels positioned in a way so that it can absorb a maximum range of heat from the sun.

If your house or location is such that it does not always face the south, in that case, calculate and choose or fix the position. It could be hung around the fence, it could be placed on the grounds, whichever way works.

Usually, it is possible for the panels to structure in a way you would prefer it to be because it comes with the necessary tools and supplies. And they should also be strong enough to hold the panels and the water.

What is interesting is, the solar panel works both ways. Meaning, not only can you use it to heat your swimming pool, but you could also use it to actually make the water cool as well.

It just needs to work in the opposite way. Which is you keep it active during the night, and the temperature it will absorb could be transformed and used to make the water of the pool colder. In fact, it is a pretty common practice in Arizona.


Let’s take a look at the technical bits of the solar panel, known as the controllers.

Solar Panels as the Controllers:

Solar Pool Heater

The controllers are basically there to make sure that the panels are getting the highest frequency during the peak hours of absorbing the sunlight.

It consists of sensors for air temperature, a mix of valve actuators, and water. These are essential for the panels for the most expected results.

The automation system makes sure that the pressure is lessened and makes it a lot cost-effective as well.

Although we have been talking about only the “sunshine” part there are a few minus sides to it as well.

You need to always remember that, it is a slow process. You will never get your desired temperature or the result in a matter of minutes.


As the solar panel runs on the energy from the sun, it could be interrupted anytime such as clouds or rain or a simple foggy day resulting in delay. Also, the temperature will remain constant during the absorption.

You can’t control it. Also, the solar panels are not the prettiest machinery to look at.

It will most definitely not add an artistic view in your neighborhood.

Lastly, just remember why you are using it for and the rest should form in line. Know the drawbacks, know how to use and maintain it and you are good to go. F

or what it’s worth, it will only serve you for the better. You might have a little amount for its maintenance.

Robert Laswell
We use cookies to analyse data and personalise your visit, learn more in our privacy policy