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Solar heating systems

updated: 13 JUNE 2005 :: By John Herbert | Director

Capturing solar radiation is a cost effective method to reduce your operating costs.

solar energy, renewable, green, low energy, solar hot water, energy saving

Above: simple solar collector

Once installed, solar energy is free! and can dramatically reduce your energy bills. Solar water heaters are not suitable for every location, before considering a solar thermal system consult the experts.

And remember that lower utility bills provides indirect benefits - reducing your environmental footprint.

solar energy power heating reduces energy bills and reducing pollution


Swimming pools

A solar heating system for your pool is an economical alternative to conventional heaters. Properly designed solar collectors capture free energy from the sun and use it to heat your pool.

Solar water heating also extends your swimming season whilst reducing monthly fuel bills, and without depleting non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels.

In fact, solar pool heating is the most economical solar application today. Solar heaters already make up over 10 percent of all new pool heating equipment sales in Canada - Yes, that's right cold snowy Canada!


Five Good Reasons

Even Canadians are using solar energy to heat their pools, here are five good reasons to chose solar water heating:

  1. Saves your money
  2. Extends your swim season
  3. Durability
  4. Lower maintenance
  5. Environment benefits

No. 1: Saves money

Lowering your pool heating costs saves you money. The price of energy has always been increasing, the price of oil recently hit the US$50 per barrel, sooner rather than later, these cost will be passed on the pool owners -  on the other hand, after you invest in solar - the sun's energy is free!

Over a fifteen year period, you could spend five, six times or more money heating with gas what you would spend on installing a solar heater today. Once your solar system is installed energy bills are dramatically reduced.

Many pool owners switch to solar because it meets all of their heating needs. But even if you continue to use a gas or electric heater as a backup, solar is a very smart investment that will save you money, year after year.

No. 2: Extends swim season

Solar heating allows you to extend your swimming season whether or not you have an existing heater. You can keep your pool warmer and open longer with free energy from the sun.

In most areas a solar heater used in combination with a good quality pool cover can add two to four weeks to the beginning and end of the swimming season. You get a longer swimming season for free, whilst improving customer satisfaction.

No. 3: Durability

Solar equipment is durable, and often lasts longer than gas or electric heaters. With proper annual maintenance, one can expect fuelled heaters to last seven to ten years.

Most gas heaters have a two-year warranty, and well-made heat pumps carry a two-year warranty with five-year warranty on the compressors.

Solar panels generally have a minimum ten year warranty, and often last up to twenty years. That means owner might change their fossil fuel heaters TWICE during the lifespan of one good quality solar collector.

No. 4: Lower maintenance

Solar water heating systems requires less maintenance which lowers your operating cost.

Unlike gas and electric heaters, which must be serviced by a registered technician every year - a solar water heater requires very little servicing. That means less hassle and lower costs for you. And less downtime means more income for commercial operators, keeping your customers happy.

No. 5: Environment benefits

If saving money is not reason enough, going solar energy is good for the environment. The damaging effect of burning fossil fuels is well known, polluting the air we breathe.

Burning fossil fuels releases nitrogen oxides that cause the formation of photochemical smog in urban areas. Using solar energy heating instead of fossil fuel can help, it reduces pollution whilst saving you money.

Burning fuels also releases carbon dioxide, the main cause of climate change. Replacing you gas heater with a solar heater could prevent three to ten tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each season. That's about the same amount produced by operating your car for one year!

 

How does a solar heater work?

A solar pool heater is simple to operate and doesn't change the way you operate your pool.

Solar collectors are usually mounted on the roof or another structure. This is the least expensive option and doesn't take up extra space on the site. When suitable roof space is not available, collectors can be ground-mounted on a rack.

The existing pool pump is used to circulate water from the pool through the solar collectors and back to the pool.  On sunny days, an automatic controller diverts the water to the solar panel. It is really that simple.

The key to a successful project, and lower bills is the properly designed and selected the equipment.


Author

John Herbert is the Managing Director at Kelcroft. He was educated and trained in the United Kingdom, he has managed and engineered solutions for more than twenty years, the last twelve years here in Asia. An international designer, designed solutions across three continents, whilst retaining a litigation free record.

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keywords: solar thermal, energy, sun, renewable, swimming pool, renewable design, engineering, Hong Kong, China