Although swimming pools or sunshine are as abundant in the Pacific Northwest as they are in Southern California or Arizona, there are still benefits to be had for hotels, community centers, health clubs and individuals choosing to heat their pools or spas with solar power.
Spa and Pool Heating Indoor, Outdoor, Year Around
Pool and spa owners in the Northwest can utilize simple hot water heating systems to increase the efficiency of their traditional pool or spa heater year around. During the summer months, the solar hot water system can supply water to the heater all ready heated to the proper temperature for the pool or spa. Even in sub-zero temperatures, solar collectors can heat the water to between 60 and 80 degrees, which is higher than the 50 degree water typically supplied by a cold water source meaning the heater has less work to do to heat the water to the desired temperature of 90 degrees for swimming pools and 104 degrees for spas.
Saving Energy Heating your Pool
Heating a pool to 82 degrees with a gas heater in the Northwest during the summer time alone can cost as much as $1,300. A simple outdoor pool heating system designed for summer time use only can replace this cost by 100% and the system can be installed for less than $5,000 and last 20 years or more, giving this type of system one of the best returns on investment in the solar industry.
Indoor, year around pools require a more detailed solar heating system and will still be partially dependent on traditional heating during the winter months, but adding a solar heating system can still lower the cost of the annual energy required within the system by 50% or more. The return on investment is dependent on the specifics of the system, but on average can be expected to pay for itself in 12 years or less and operate for 20 to 40 years.
The return on investment for solar powered pool heaters is directly tied to the price of energy cost and become more attractive as energy prices rise.
Solar Pool and Spa Heating Systems
Summertime Outdoor Pool Heating Systems
The simplest pool or spa heating systems are designed to work in the Northwest from roughly June 1st through August 31st and use polypropylene pipe to heat the water from your pool directly to temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees. The pool itself is used as the storage tank and water can many times be circulated using the existing pump. Combined with a pool cover, these systems can provide more than adequate heating for your summer time pool use and are available for $3,000 to $5,000.
Year Around Spa Heating Systems
Spa heating needs can be provided for with a direct heating system that works to increase the efficiency and decrease the energy used by your conventional heating system. They work by heating the water from copper pipe collectors and introducing it to the heating unit at a temperature above the base temperature that it would enter the system at, requiring it to work less to heat the water. In the summer months these systems can replace as much as 100% of the energy needed for your spa. Even in sub-zero temperatures, the system can replace 10-50% of the energy needed to maintain your desired spa temperature.
Year Around and Indoor Pool Heating Systems
Year around pool heating systems use direct heating systems that heat the water from your pool in solar collectors before introducing it to your conventional heating system at a higher temperature than it would otherwise enter the system. Even in sub zero temperatures, the solar collectors can heat the water enough to provide savings of up to 25% of your overall heating costs. In the summer time, up to 100% of your heating costs can be replaced by the solar system.
Additional Pool and Spa Heating Resources from A&R Solar
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