What is the best heating for my pool? Solar pool heating vs Heatpumps

Published by Swimming-Pool-Expert on July 15th, 2011








Unheated swimming pool  = Only 4 months swimming seasons

Heated swimming pool  = Enjoyable swimming for children & adults = 8 Months  swimming !!!

Solar pool heating

Solar pool heating system


• Use FREE heat energy from the sun
•  Best for the environment
• Can generate easily a comfortable water temperature of 28°C+
• Best to use in conjunction with a solar pool cover (pool blanket)
• A quality solar pool heater will typically last 10 years and longer
• Very low maintenance





• DIY (Do-it-yourself) kits are delivered country-wide normally within 7 days by Swemgat
• Most systems have a 5 year warranty on the panels

Solar panels
DIY solar pool heating panel kit











Pool Heat Pumps

Heat pump

Zodiac power heat pump


• Uses electricity very efficiently
• Maintain water temperature accurately!
• Heat Pumps can warm your pool – rain or sunshine
• Good Heat Pumps last longer than 15 years
• Heat pumps have many moving and electrical parts that require an annual inspection and/or cleaning service by a pool technician
• Warranty normally 5 years




Solar panels                                                                                               Heat pump

Performance and use

Solar pool heaters are best for recreational use and are recommended for those who are comfortable with pool temperatures ranging from low to mid 20′s. Solar works year round in southern climates. There may be periods during cold spells that the pool may be too cold to use. However, a few warm days will bring the temperature of the pool back to where it should be. Proper sizing is essential for good performance. For those who like swimming regardless of the weather, a heat pump is the recommended method. It is also the preferred method for therapy and athletic users and also when a home is not “solar feasible”, (i.e. solar will not fir on the roof). A heat pump, when sized properly, can maintain nay desired pool temperature between 26°C-32°C regardless of the outside weather conditions. A heat pump will work if the outside temperature is above 7°C.


How does it work

Solar panels use the suns free heat and do not have an operating cost.Your existing pool pump circulates the water through the heater, usually located on the roof, and warms the pool. The pump timer is set to operate during sunlight hours, usually 8am to 4pm. Your existing pool pump circulates the water through the heater, usually located somewhere close, and warms the pool. The pump timer is set to operate during sunlight hours, usually 8am to 4pm.


Energy rating and efficiency

Solar panels can be rated by SABS (South African Bureau of standards), but most solar pool heating panels in South Africa are not rated. To compare “apples with apples” you need to trust your local pool expert’s recommendation. It panels are rated, the lower the cost per square meter, the better the value. Heat Pumps are not rated by any governing body. The manufacturer determines the BTU output at a specific water/air temperature and relative humidity value. To accurately compare one unit to another, these test values must be the same, or the comparison will be distorted. Heat pumps are also given a COP (coefficient of performance) rating, generally between 5 to 6.


Cost of operation

Solar is an alternative energy source, and has little or zero cost of operation. The pool pump must run for the solar heater to function, and may increase your electric bill by R1200 to R1500 per year depending on the swimming pool’s filtering time. Due to their high efficiency, heat pumps have a low cost of operation. Typically, for every R1.00/khW of electric input, you receive R5.00 worth of heat. The typical pool averages R3700 to R6400 per year for heat.


Sizing requirements

Generally you will need a system equal to 50% to 100% of the pool surface., the so-called “coverage”. Solar panels are available in 1.25m widths and lengths of 2;2.5m;3m;4m;5m;6m. They are generally placed in a row on one or several roofs. Heat pump sizes are rated by kW and BTU output. Standard sizes range from 6kW to 25kW for residential use. Heat pumps are normally located next to the pool pump or a sunny spot for best results.


Longevity and maintenance

A quality Solar Heater will typically last more than 10 years. They are very low maintenance. Most systems have a 5 year warranty on the panels. Heat Pumps will last between 10 years or more, depending on the quality. Because heat pumps are a mechanical device with many moving and electrical parts, they require annual service. Warranty of 5 years normally apply on the titanium heat exchanger and 1 year on the elctronic components.

For more information, call Swemgat on Tel. 0861 012 012 or visit www.swemgat.co.za

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>