There are a few things you can do to obtain the maximum heating for your pool. This assumes that the system is working correctly. (See: Troubleshooting) These are listed in descending order of effectiveness.
- Cover the pool. All solar systems are fighting against nighttime heat loss. A pool cover minimizes this and provides a higher starting point for the next day. Of course, cheap covers are unsightly, a hassle to pull on and off, and need replacing after 2 or 3 years, but they are quite effective. Ideally, you should only need one for early and late season use. But some pools, due to shading, wind or other factors may need a cover at other times.
- Run the system longer. Generally speaking, you should see good results running the pump about 6 hours per day. However, if you have good sun on the panels towards the beginning and end of the swim season, you might try to increase the run time to 8 or even 10 hours. This will cost a little for the extra electricity, but still much cheaper than running a gas heater. Your pool will also be a lot cleaner from the extra filtering time.
- Take at least 50% of your suction supply from the bottom of the pool. This is usually done by adjusting a valve at the equipment pad or adjusting the diverter valve under the skimmer basket. The water at the bottom of the pool can be somewhat cooler than the surface; cool water absorbs more heat, maximizing your solar pool heating. Many pools are set to run skimmer suction only, and in effect are re-heating warm water.
- Direct the return flow downward, if the return lines into the pool have adjustable “eyeballs.” This helps to even out the heating.
- Minimize water features in cold weather. Large spillways, waterfalls, stream beds, negative edge overflows, fountains, etc., can cool water, especially in windy conditions.
All of these suggestions lead to proven improvements in the heating capacity of your solar pool heating system. If for any reason you still have questions about your solar heater’s effectiveness, contact the helpful technicians at Solaron.