Living off the grid

Can Solar Heating Make a Difference to My Enjoyment of the Pool?

Even though Australia is renowned as one of the sunniest climates on earth, it is still of course subject to seasonal temperature changes. This leaves a lot of Australians staring longingly at the pool out of their window on a nice, sunny spring day, rather than jumping in for a nice dip. You can change this scenario by considering solar heating, but what are the main issues to take into account first?

Extending the Season

The extent of your swimming season will be affected by the part of the country that you live in. Generally speaking, if you have solar heating you can double the length of your swimming season if you live in the southern cities, and this extends as you go north. In Darwin, you may be able to have year-round pool parties!

The efficiency of your installation will be determined by many factors. Some of these are crucial considerations during the planning and installation phase.

What about Collectors?

The solar collectors that you place on your roof in order to capture the energy must generally occupy an area at least equal to the surface area of the pool itself. Ideally, you should have a roof that is oriented towards the north to get the most direct sunlight, but installers can usually work with any configuration.

If at all possible try and select black solar collectors, even if they may "clash" a little bit with the colour of your roof. If you must have matching collector colours, then you need to increase the surface area of the collectors to attract more heat.

What Roof Types Are Best?

The type of roof will have a bearing on your outcome as well. Metal roofs are considered to be more efficient at conducting heat than tile, while full slate roofs are the least friendly. Usually, the darker the better when attracting and capturing the heat.

Time for Pruning

If you can, cut any tree branches that may come in between the direct sun and the collector area and try and ensure that your pool is not in shade, either as this will affect the overall temperature of the water through the season.

Extra Help

To really get the most out of your heated pool consider investing in a pool cover as well and draw this over the water at night. This will make quite a difference in the water temperature when you are ready to jump in for your morning dip.