With the weather being all over the place lately, a pool heater is a great way to keep your swimming pool at a comfortable temperature. While there are many different types and models of heaters on the market, you can save yourself some money by making your own. With a few supplies and some basic knowledge of how they work, you can have your very own pool heater up and running in no time!
Benefits of Making Your Own Solar Pool Heater
There are many benefits to making your own solar pool heater. First and foremost, it will save you a significant amount of money compared to purchasing a ready-made model. Additionally, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you built it yourself! Not to mention, it’ll be much more eco-friendly than gas or electric models since it will rely on renewable energy from the sun.
How Does a Solar Pool Heater Work?
Solar pool heaters use sunlight to heat water and circulate it in your pool, making them one of the most cost-effective ways to heat water.
Regardless of the design or type of DIY solar pool heater you pick, they all employ the same principle. Cold water is drawn from the swimming pool through a chain of pipes or channels known as collectors, which are exposed to sunshine and thereby heated by solar radiation.
The warm water is then re-introduced to the pool, where it gradually warms the entire body of water. The procedure is unlikely to be as quick as one utilizing electric or gas heaters, but it is environmentally friendly and free.
Also Read: Solar Heater for House
How to Make a Solar Pool Heater
Materials You’ll Need
- 1 or 2, 250 -foot rolls of ½-inch PVC drip irrigation or PEX tubing
- ½ inch compression fittings for irrigation tubing
- ½ inch drip tubing ball valve
- 1 x 4′ x 8′ sheet of ½-inch plywood
- 5 x 10′ lengths of 2″ x 4″ framing timber
- 1 x roll of foil-faced insulating foam
- 1 x quart tin of Rust-Oleum high heat black paint
- 2 x 12 oz cans of Rust-Oleum high heat black spray paint
- 1 x sheet of 0.08″ x 48″ x 48″ clear acrylic sheet (if you can’t find 48 x 48, 2 sheets of 24 x 48 will do)
- 2 tubes of silicone sealer and applicator
- Battery or power drill
- Set of drill bits
- Zip ties
- An assortment of countersunk wood screws
Steps to Follow
Step 1. Build the Box
The first step is to build a simple box out of the plywood. This will serve as the base for your solar pool heater. Cut four pieces of plywood to form the sides of the box, making sure that they’re all the same size.
Next, use the 2x4s to create a frame around the perimeter of the box. This will provide added support and stability for the entire structure.
Step 2. Paint and Insulate the Box
Once the frame is in place, use the black Rust-Oleum paint to coat the entire box inside and out. This will help protect it from the elements and ensure that it lasts for years to come.
After the paint has dried, line the inside of the box with the foil-faced insulating foam. This will help reflect heat back into the box, making it more efficient.
Step 3. Install the Tubing
Now it’s time to cut the tubing to size and attach it to the box. Start by measuring and cutting four pieces of tubing that are each about 6 feet long. These will form the sides of your solar collector.
Next, use the zip ties to attach the tubing to the 2×4 frame around the perimeter of the box. Make sure that the tubing is snug against the wood so that there are no gaps.
Step 4. Terminate the Collector
Once all four pieces of tubing are in place, it’s time to “terminate” the collector. This simply means adding a fitting to the end of each piece of tubing so that water can flow through it.
To do this, cut a short piece of tubing and attach it to one end of each tube with a compression fitting. Then, add a ball valve to the end of the short piece of tubing. This will allow you to control the flow of water into the collector.
Step 5. Secure the Collector
Now that the collector is complete, it’s time to secure it to the box. This will ensure that it doesn’t move around or become damaged.
Start by flipping the box over so that the bottom is facing up. Then, use the silicone sealer to attach the collector to the plywood. Make sure that you apply a generous amount so that it’s completely secure.
Step 6. Close the Box
Once the collector is in place, it’s time to close up the box. Start by attaching the remaining piece of plywood to the frame with countersunk wood screws. Then, use the silicone sealer to seal any gaps or cracks.
Step 7. Complete the Installation
The last step is to add the acrylic sheet to the top of the box. This will allow sunlight to enter and heat up the water inside.
To do this, simply cut the acrylic sheet to size and attach it to the frame with countersunk wood screws. Then, use the silicone sealer to seal any gaps or cracks.
Also Read: Types of Solar Water Heaters
Pumping the Water and Setting the Flow
Now that your solar pool heater is installed, it’s time to start pumping water through it. The best way to do this is to use a submersible pump that can be placed directly into the pool.
Mounting Your Solar Pool Heater
Now that your solar pool heater is installed, it’s time to start using it! The first step is to hook it up to your pool’s pump and filter system.
To do this, simply attach one end of a length of tubing to the outlet on the pool pump. Then, run the tubing to the inlet on the solar collector. Once the two are connected, turn on the pump and let it run for a few minutes to prime the system.
Next, open the ball valve on the solar collector and let the water flow through. You may need to adjust the flow rate to ensure that the water is moving slowly enough to heat up properly.
Checking the Temperature
Once the water is flowing, it’s time to check the temperature. You can do this by using a pool thermometer or by taking the water temperature with a standard kitchen thermometer.
If the water is not as warm as you’d like, simply adjust the flow rate until it reaches the desired temperature.
Now that you know how to make a solar pool heater, you can enjoy the benefits of this eco-friendly and cost-effective way to heat your pool water. Keep in mind that it may take some trial and error to get the temperature just right, but once you do, you’ll be able to enjoy your pool all season long!
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