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How Does Solar Pool Heating Work?

From solar covers to gas-powered heaters, pool owners are always looking for ways to warm up their pools. A warmer pool means a longer swimming season and better swimming conditions; it also means you can swim in warm water any time of the day or night!

However, most backyard pool owners shy away from heavy-duty gas or electric-powered induction heaters. They add significant costs to your pool’s operation and aren’t particularly environmentally friendly.

Instead, many pools use some kind of solar heating system. How does solar heating work, and what are its pros and cons? Read more to find out.

What is solar pool heating?

Basic methods

Solar heating takes advantage of the fact that most outdoor pools are located in warmer climates with lots of sunshine. The idea is simple; use the sun’s energy to heat water and transfer that into the pool.

Solar heating methods don’t have to be particularly advanced: a dark pool cover restricts evaporation and absorbs heat, transferring it directly to the water in the pool. It’s a very basic form of solar heating.

Other methods include using long lengths of black pipe or hose to heat water, or even constructing a greenhouse-like enclosure over the pool to trap in warm air.

Advanced solar heating

The most advanced solar heating systems use the same principles as the simple methods mentioned above. These systems typically use a thermal solar panel, designed to draw in the sun’s rays and convert that energy into heat. A small pump runs water through the panels, and the now-warm water feeds back into the pool, warming it up. 

In a nutshell, that’s solar heating. A good system is cost-effective because there’s little power required. The heating system itself is completely green, needing only the sun’s rays to keep the water warm. The only energy a solar heating system requires is the power to the water pump to keep water moving through the heater.

With solar thermal panels installed on your roof, you’re using the sun’s rays to heat your water and taking advantage of the heat absorbed by your roof throughout the day. A rooftop system also eliminates the need for any ugly thermal panels to be installed right next to your pool or in your patio.

Pros and cons

So what are the simple pros and cons of a solar pool heating system?


  • Environmentally friendly – no greenhouse gasses produced
  • Simple concept
  • Easy to install, low maintenance
  • Takes advantage of a hot roof


  • Relies on a sunny climate
  • Does require minimal power for the pump and electronic controller


Solar heating is a wonderfully versatile concept, and there’s sure to be a method that works well for you and your pool. If you need a simple thermal pool cover, we’ve got you covered (literally). And if you are looking for something environmentally friendly but still state of the art, our rooftop thermal panels include advanced wireless electronic controls which let you adjust the desired temperature and even provide a quick burst of heat into the water.

Contact us for a further conversation about the best way to use the sun’s free energy to heat your pool!

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