DIY Solar Pool Heater - Solar Pool Heating Made Simple
Building a solar pool heater is one solar power task you can take on yourself, and if you've ever soldered a piece of copper pipe, you have accomplished the most difficult part of this simple solar DIY project. You may even be able to handle the entire system with PVC pipe alone, and not have to see a single piece of copper. Never soldered before? Get a short inexpensive piece of pipe, some solder and a soldering iron, and after about 15 minutes of practice, you'll be making smooth, clean solder welds like a pro.
The first step in a solar pool heating DIY project is laying down your plan on an in-depth schematic, or block diagram. You will also need to plan for placement of a solar collector, PV module and all your piping. And if you are concerned about your lack of math skills when it comes time to figure capacity heating, as long as your work on the solar pool heater block diagrams that you made before you began was properly done, tweaking the system is no big deal. You will have mapped out how each piece works in conjunction with the next, and how they fit into the mounting scheme. You also have the valves, pumps and collectors to configure in your diagram, but once these are all in the right order, raising or lowering the output of your solar pool heater is simple.
If you have the chance and the space, mounting your solar pool heating system on the ground is far and away the most headache-free installation you can get, and adds the benefit of allowing for simple access for maintenance down the road. And when you plan to upgrade, a ground-mounted system is a heck of a lot easier to deal with as well. Also, in a ground-mount solar pool heater, almost any pump can handle the job. And mounting the collector below the level of the pool allows for siphoning physics to take over.
Even if you plan on handling the job yourself, do yourself a favor and perform the following two tasks. 1st, get a couple of quotes from contractors versed in solar power installs, and 2nd see if you can find a solar heater system nearby that resembles the system you want to install. Both of these simple, inexpensive measures can help you answer questions you may not even have thought about, and make your solar pool heating job go as smoothly as possible.
In solar pool heater systems, the submersible pump needs to be lowered into the swimming pool water. This pump should be strong enough to raise the water to the level of your collector. To get this level right, measure the vertical distance from the water surface to the collector, and plan for water pressure 4 inches higher than that. This keeps it primed, and the pump is powered by the 12 volt DC power supply that came with your PV module. This should be more than sufficient to power everything. The more sunlight the PV cell gets, the more water that passes through the solar collector panels of the solar pool heating unit. Cloudy days mean a slow, quiet pump, and sunny days have your pump cranking away.
Remember, make out your block diagram, get a couple of estimates, mount on the ground if at all possible, and your solar pool heater project will go swimmingly.