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Q:
Does solar pool heating work here in Ontario?
A:
Yes! Solar pool heating works extremely well in Ontario. There are thousands of installations here. Solar pool heating systems have been installed in Ontario since 1975.

Q:
Are glazed or evacuated tube solar collectors better than the unglazed collectors for heating pools?
A:
For swimming pools that are only used during non-freezing weather in Ontario, unglazed plastic collectors provide the best performance by far for the dollars spent. Both glazed (flatplate metal) collectors and evacuated tube collectors can do the job, BUT, not with less surface area!! This makes the cost of these systems several times greater than unglazed plastic collectors. The reason is very simple. If the weather is so bad that glazed or evacuated tube collectors will perform better than an unglazed collector, the heat loss from the swimming pool will be so great that no solar system could keep the pool warm. (Neither could a heat pump. A gas heater could, but would cost a fortune to operate.)

IF the solar system is to be used for some other purpose as well as heating the outdoor pool - such as space heating during the winter - or if the solar system is to be used to heat an indoor pool all year round, then a glazed or evacuated tube collector system may be appropriate. Note: there is 75% less solar energy available in the Winter than in the Summer!

Q:
How quickly can a solar pool heating system pay for itself?
A:
A typical, fully installed, with auto controller, solar pool heating system will pay for itself very quickly - within 2 or 3 years - when compared to the costs of installing and operating a gas or heat pump pool heater (using the cheaper spot-heating mode). The payback based only on the fuel savings (assuming a pool heater is already in place) is commonly less than 5 years for natural gas (again based upon spot heating.) Compared to the cost of the electricity to run a heat pump, the payback is less than 4 years.

Note: When comparing costs, installation costs for gas heaters should include the cost of adding or extending the gas line (typically $25 a foot plus trenching if necessary). Heat pumps will require a new electrical breaker sub-panel and heavy gauge wire to be run. This can cost hundreds of dollars.

Q:
Is there a downside to heating my pool with solar?
A:
Yes. Your pool will be significantly warmer than before when you (didn't) heat it with a conventional heater. This means you will use the pool more - more swimming, more pool parties, more friends and kids using the pool, which means you will need to add more chemicals to the pool to keep it clean. Note - your entertainment costs will likely go up too (beer, pretzles, sunblock, the cost of washing towels, etc.!-)

 
The Basics    Pool Heater Comparisons    Sizing Your System   Maintenance and Service