How to make a solar pool heater?

Heating your pool allows you to enjoy it longer. You can find many solutions to gain precious degrees, but one of the most practical and eco-friendly methods is to rely on the sun; solar energy!

What could be better than making your own solar pool heater using simple materials without (too much) heating your wallet!

This article is about how to make a solar pool heater at home.

How to make a solar pool heater

Do-it-yourself solar pool heating

To bathe in a heated swimming pool, with a lower investment, without increasing the energy bill while respecting the planet; is it possible? As long as you have a passion for DIY, yes, building solar heating for the pool is possible.

There are more or less simple, more or less sophisticated techniques. Some only use wood frames, others use wood/metal frames, and some may use rock wool.

Depending on the difficulty and the materials used, building solar heating on your own requires being a good handyman or even an excellent handyman.

The homemade solar panel is ideal for above-ground pools but more difficult to implement for large pools.

The materials and tools to make a solar pool heater

  • A 1x1m wooden panel to create the bottom part of your solar water heater (Two water repellent OSB panels, or any other suitable material)
  • 50m of hose (here we used 16mm red PER hose, which limits expansion when the water is hot but non-porous 16mm PE irrigation hoses may be suitable)
  • Two elbow fittings suitable for your pipe (not necessary if you are using PE pipes)
  • Two fittings to connect your solar water heater to your pool hose
  • The exterior paint matt black (by aerosol)
  • Eight eyelet screws with a 10mm head
  • Four round beech sticks 10mm 60 cm long (you can also use IRL tubes)
  • Four autoclave wooden brackets 60 x 40: two of 1m and 2 of 0.92m
  • A polycarbonate plate of 1 x 1 meter
  • 70 and 40 mm stainless steel screws and washers
  • Two fixing brackets at 45 °
  • Two cleats for the feet

And the following tools:

  • Ajigsaw (to cut the cleats and rods to the right size if necessary)
  • A drill-driver
  • A hole saw 30 mm in diameter

How to make a solar pool heater

Prepare the Panel Bottom

The plywood plate(s) are cut to useful dimensions, depending on the pool’s volume and the space available. Some solar heaters have 25 meters of pipe, others 40 meters, or two panels of 25 meters.

Roll Up the Pipe

The pipe is coiled on the board, securing each turn with ties. The ends of the pipe come out of the frame. Start from the center without forcing the curvature. The pipe must pass under the wooden sticks. Slide the rod into the eyelets to free the passage, position the pipe, and put the rod back in place.

Proceed in this way until the end of the pipe – you will still keep 1 meter of pipe free for the fittings. It may be helpful to have a second person to help you with this step. On one side, it will be the entry of cold water, and the other will be the return of the heated water to the swimming pool.

Finish the Panel Frame

The profiles or bastings of sufficient thickness are cut to make the frame, then glued or screwed onto the plywood plate.

Paint Everything in Black

Everything is painted black to absorb as much heat as possible. Cover the pipe, if necessary, the wood, the rods and everything inside the panel. This will better absorb heat.

Install Glass Sheet

Before installing the plexus-glass sheet, adhesive insulating foam is placed around the perimeter of the frame, or a silicone sealant will be applied after the installation of the glazing. The glass is pre-drilled and fixed to the frame using screws spaced evenly all around.

It remains to put the fittings and valves at the ends of the pipe and connect the homemade solar panel to the hydraulic system of the swimming pool.

Add a slight tilt to maximize the sunshine for your solar panel

On the back of your water heater, screw the feet using the fixing brackets and provide the fittings to be able to connect your pipes after the pump. You can either connect your water heater after your swimming pool pump if it is powerful enough or create a parallel circuit.

Particularly useful in mid-season, the inclination can be slightly lower if you wish (between 25° and 48°). Once your water heater is installed, you can expect water leaving the installation of between 30° and 45° C depending on the weather if it is oriented correctly.

Making your own solar pool heater: the advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of manufacturing solar pool heating

First of all, building your solar pool heater is the most environmentally friendly way to heat your pool. Making your swimming pool heating is, therefore, an important gesture for the planet.

In addition, this process has the advantage of being inexpensive. Indeed, the purchase of wooden and plexiglass planks, a long hose, paint and other instruments remain relatively low, compared to other existing solutions to heat your pool continuously. Also, what could be more satisfying than making your own installation yourself?

There are drawbacks to building your own solar pool heater

Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to manufacturing solar pool heaters, the first being its limited power. Indeed, if your exposure to the sun is not relatively high, the solar heating panel will not be profitable. Also, precise control of the water temperature is much more difficult with such an installation. One thing to know before building your solar pool heater!

Finally, the larger the size of your pool, the more the efficiency of the solar heating panel will be reduced. You will then have to manufacture several to hope for sufficient heating or to direct you towards a heat pump.

Final Thoughts!

Now you have no excuses to say you don’t know how to create your own homemade solar pool heater. Following these simple steps, you can now build your own swimming pool heater that will cost almost nothing to heat the water as long as the weather conditions allow it!

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