Selecting the right solar pool heater for your swimming pool can be a complex, and often daunting, process with all of the different systems and solar pool heater reviews out there. The best way to get started is by knowing the right questions to ask before you buy. Then you can use a comparison chart to differentiate between the various systems with information about the advantages and disadvantages of each one.
Questions to Ask
Before you buy a solar pool heater, these are the screening questions you need to ask any potential contractors, installers, or salesman.
- Does your company have experience installing ?
- Are the installers W2 employees and not sub contractors?
- Are your employees covered under workers your workers comp policy?
- How many years of experience do you have installing and maintaining the systems?
- Is your company licensed and insured?
- What are your panels thermal performance rating (Btu/day)?
- What is the total installed cost of the system?
- Does your system require any yearly maintenance?
- What is the warranty on your system?
- What is your mounting process? Do you hit trusses with your mounting hardware?
Solar Pool Heater Efficiency
The primary reason you’re aiming for the highest efficiency solar collector is because it will reduce your annual operating costs, and it will require fewer square feet of area to heat your pool.
Determining the efficiency of a solar swimming pool heating system is based on the solar collector’s thermal performance rating. This rating is measured in Btu’s (British thermal units) per square foot per day: Btu/(ft²day). It can also be measured by Btu per day, which is the rating in Btu/(ft²day) multiplied by the area in ft².
In more basic terms, the higher the number in Btu’s, the greater the solar energy collection efficiency. However, the value of your system should always be judged by the total provided heat, not by the heat per square foot. For example, a high-efficiency system that’s undersized will produce less energy than a lower-efficiency system with more square feet of collectors. To calculate the total production of the system, multiply the total square footage of the system times the efficiency per square foot.
You should also take into consideration weather conditions, instrumentation accuracy, and other conditions that may vary. Because of these conditions, thermal performance ratings of two collectors within 25 Btu/(ft²day) of one another can be considered approximately the same.
Before you purchase a solar pool heating system, you can effectively estimate and compare the costs of using various solar collector systems from different companies. This will help you configure your potential savings of investing in an efficient collector. You should keep in mind, however, that when selecting a solar pool heater, it’s also equally important to evaluate all of the factors involved in the system, including size and quality of the design and installation. To evaluate and compare costs, you need to know the following parameters from each vendor:
- A collector’s thermal performance rating (Btu/day)
- Total number of collectors for the area needed to heat your pool
- Total installed cost of system
With this information, you can calculate the energy output of each collector per dollar spent or invested.
(Btu/day multiplied by the number of collector panels/piping modules) divided by total installed cost of system = Btu per dollar spent
Sometimes the vendor will give you the prices and thermal performance ratings, and you can calculate the Btu per dollar spent even easier.
Btu/day divided by collector price = Btu/day per dollar spent
With this information and the comparison checklist, you should now be ready to find the ideal solar pool heating collector for you and your home. If you have any questions about solar pool heaters, or if you’re interested in purchasing a Heliocol system, contact Superior Solar today!