How to build a solar pool water heater.

Step 1: What You Will Need

When you live in Canada, you need to turn up the heat in your pool all summer long if you want to use it.

First off, you need a location to install the heater. Preferably, if you live in the northern hemisphere, a southern exposition. The location should have as much sunlight as possible all day.

That said in terms of supply and tools , you will need:

L shape metal rods (or wood it you prefer)
2 x 64 inch 1 1/4 inch diameter copper pipes
3-4 rolls of 1/4 inch copper pipes.
Tin solder
Soldering paste
Welding torch (bernzomatic, plumbers stuff)
Pipe cutter
Chalk line
Automatic punch
Measuring tape
Broom stick
Acetone or other cleaner that can remove soldering paste
Plumbers tape
<p>Great job ! I like it !</p><p>I assembled a Portable Solar Pool Heater 1,04 k Watt, see instructable .</p><p>All fits in a suitcase: Solar collector, 12 Volt pump, 12 Volt Photovoltaic panel, tubes, and Supply wire 12 Volt.</p>
<p>Ben,</p><p>I suggest you add a box around it to close it, with a glass overhead... as well as a reflective plate on the bottom.</p><p>I was able to harvest more energy from it.</p><p>I also added an anode in the pool to prevent the copper from corrosion</p><p>A friend of mine made the same thing from PVC... it is about 75% as effective<br>He made it with small PVC tubes just like my design...Keeping the small tubes gives off more surface contact... <br></p><p>If this is on a roof, I suggest using CPVC as it has a higher resistemce to heat </p><p>If you leave it out in the sun while it is not working... PVC start to fail faster</p><p>Good luck and have fun!</p>
Why does it enter through the bottom? To slow the water flow?
Overall this was a nicely done instructable. I do however have a few comments. 1. The steel frame is welded, but copper is either brazed or soldered (you were soldering). 2. PVC or CPVC would be much cheaper, last longer, and is easier to work with. 3. You really need to have either a reflective surface under the tubing or a flat black. Reflective surface will allow the tubing to receive the light a second time, flat black will absorb the light and provide some radiant heat. 4. You would be better off using a small pump that is separate from your circulator, unless you run your circulator continuously.
regarding: https://www.instructables.com/id/Pool-Solar-water-heater/step16/Swiming-2nd-week-of-May/<br><br><br>Wouldn't the system have ben more efficient has the plumbing been ran in series rather than parallel? Thank you.<br><br>gjlyon@hotmail.com
PVC is cheaper, BUT you will not get the heat transfer that you get with copper. Still the best bet for transfer of heat energy. Great Idea.
Thanks for pointing out the proper word usage, English is not my first language... (I'm in Canada and mostly use french ) we use the word "souder" the equivalent of soldering I guess. There's not really any welding equivalent, as we use the same word "Souder" for both. I do understand the difference. I will change the words in the instructable. Thanks
Interestingly enough "souder" is used to explain how the word "solder" is to be pronounced, in English.
Only Americanglish- in the UK we pronounce the L in solder, so it sounds like smoulder without the M.
Ah, English. I'm an amateur radio operator. While listening to an Aussie and a Kiwi give a Texan a bad time about his drawl, the Aussie remarked to the Kiwi, it's those Limeys who really talk funny. ;)
You telling me that we Aussies talk funny? I think you're wrong. It's the Kiwi's that talk funny, Not us!
Didn't say that you Aussies talk funny, just that one Aussie, and one Kiwi where in agreement that the Limeys talk funny.
Lol, Yeah, Some Aussies do talk funny, But not too many. Yeah, the Limeys talk funny!
This project looks really complicated and time consuming.<br>Wouldn't it be better to simply lay black plastic pipes<br>in sleeves inside the box?
Salut Richard, Tu a raison pour la température au Canada (Québec) moi ja l'ai fait il y a 4 ans, avec des tuyaus d' ABS et de la colle ABS 4 pieds par 20 pied et ca marche!!!! moi j'ai une 18 pieds et mon eau est entre 80º & 86º Merci Christian
&nbsp;You will get a more uniform flow through the vertical pipes if the manifold pipes (top and bottom) have the inlet and outlet at opposite ends (one left, other right).<br /> <br /> Other wise the greatest vertical flow is closest to the connections.<br />
You got a really useful blog I have been here reading for about an hour. I am a newbie and your success is very much an inspiration for me.<br><br><a href="http://southendplumbing.wordjack.com/">Water heater installers</a>
thats a lot of copper the watter will turn green i have a propane heater curently and it has much less copper piping and a have a large pool and it still turned green i dont know what can be done about it but just my point
unless you have sulfuric acid in your pool, its not the copper. HCl, the standard ph balancing acid for pools does NOTHING to copper.
it's been running for 3 years, without any water discoloration, and the units is not corroded any any way... Our PH and chlorine is always fine and tested almost daily...
Typically the bluish-green color comes from having a low PH. The acidic water eats away at the copper. This causes copper leaching into the water.
Are you sure it was the copper turning the pool green?? <br /> I made a pool heater basically identical to this one, but I use it as a fire pit grill. (Yes, water flows through the copper pipes and yes, it is still good for cooking on.) My pool has never had a problem (until I miss a couple days of checking chemical levels... lol)<br />
I have never heard of this from anyone before. Even copper that is left in a pool of water will not relese the oxide without scrubbing on it. I would think someone likely played a prank and food colored your pool.
i have no neibors i live in the middle of nowhere no one put foord coloring in my pool the heat and water being pumed through actualy put it into the watter we used the copper treatment in our pool and it cleared up in a day i dont remeber what te treatment was this was 2 years ago
Last I checked, algae turns pools green. ;-) The treatment that was most likely used was a pool shock. Basically a lot of chlorine and the like used to clean out any nasties.
thats what ithoght but alge stuff didn't work and ph was fine it was copper
That's really strange... I didn't know copper could affect water that drastically. Well, you learn something new every day.
great article !! I built two of these for an above ground pool back in the 90's, and they worked ok..I used a separate pump for heating..As-far-as Algae goes, it has been my experience that first the PH must be correct, and then the Chlorine levels..Easy to maintain, but once things get out of hand, it can be a real bear to fix !! Here's a couple of other heating methods for your pools: Install a heat exchanger in your attic space of your house..A radiator in reverse...Blow the hot air in the attic space across or through a heat exchanger, and warm the water in your pool....Another one is ( and this is complicated but another real good energy saver) to modify your home air conditioning condenser..All of you know that water is probably the best mover of heat and cold, so instead of blowing hot air across a coil as in your air cond. condenser, use a tube-in-tube heatexchanger and cool the condenser with pool water..It's so much more efficient that air !! check it out.
I like it best of the design I have found. <br>Will try PVC and make it larger. <br>Will Drill the headers and Glue the smaller pipes directly in drolled Holes. <br>Might use a lathe to taper and sholder them slightly for a better fit to the headers?? <br> <br>Love the Corragated Roof Idea... <br>Been all around looking for that solution. <br> <br>
Great job. I built a 3 solar panel boxed unit this summer. I wanted to use copper however 1 1/2 inch t's- 1/2 inch where about $15.00. So I went with pvc. I wish I had of thought about drilling the 1 1/2 inch pipe. Like your design I am using the manually 3 way value from the pool pump. On sunny days I see a 3 to four degree difference between the water temp from panels to pool. You would greatly increase the your temp by boxing your unit. Thank you for sharing your design.
That a good idea! You should write an simple instructable on it.
I have built one of these also but I built it more in a boxed enclosure (much like a solar panel) by doing this you can cover the coil ( I used soft fexable 3/4 inch copper, much like what is used in A/C systems. No solder joints except the fitting ends) to protect it during storms and the winters. The the coil was supported in the box by standoffs and I also painted the entire inside with black paint to increse the heat asorbed. Basicly built a hot box. I've seen the same thing made out of PVC for the coil but it dosn't work as well as copper. Just a thought for ya on how to improve the heat absorbitaion and protect your investment. And a plus there is no way for water or wind to get to the coils, that would in turn cool them off. Like the Instructable!
Great idea. I have taken alot of your ideas but used normal pvc hose pipe instead of copper pipe. I am trying the very poor council estate way using tin foil as a storer of heat behind the piping painted black mat. Folding the foil up around 5 times. Using 50m of pipe and taken into account the idea of using a sepearate pump. Do you think it would be a good idea to cover with glass. I was thinking maybe the reflection bounces light of but on the other hand keeps heat in.
PVC can be used in solar heaters. &nbsp;There are limitations, but if cost is a factor PVC is worth a look. &nbsp;<br /> <br /> I built one - check it out -&nbsp;<br /> <a href="http://www.teaters.com/modules.php?name=News&amp;file=article&amp;sid=217" rel="nofollow">www.teaters.com/modules.php</a><br /> <br /> <object height="344" width="425"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/KOY49bH7Ocg&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" height="344" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/KOY49bH7Ocg&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" /></object>
It will work, but the reason for using a metal, was to make it more compact. since copper is a better conductor, the heater was much smaller.&nbsp; (only takes up 4' x 2' )&nbsp; Taking into consideration our lattitude, and the time we have the sun out on the heater. We are able to heat up a pool. it's only about efficiency.<br /> <br />
UPDATE<br /> summer is over... no pool discoloration...I added a small pipe on the top collector, with a cap. Makes it easier to empty the thing and add a bit of pool antifreeze before winter.<br /> I used a shopvac to blow some air into the system to flush it out.<br /> <br /> I will build a second module for next summer, and add it to the first one...<br /> Adding a black metal backing or closing the sides did not make any significant difference.
Great information!&nbsp; Did you know it's also possible to use ageothermal heat pump to warm a pool?&nbsp; Solar can only cool waterover 50 degrees, but geothermal can heat even the coldest ofwater.&nbsp; For more information see <a href="http://www.geothermalexperts.net">Geothermal Experts</a>.&nbsp; <br />
Nice work. Many people probably don't have the skills or tools to pull this off though. If you're looking for information about a professionally installed solar water heater, check this site out. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.sunbelt-solar.com">Solar water heaters</a><br/>
Its soldering not welding :)
you knew what he meant. I have a shed pretty close to the pool and it has black shingles and I plan on doing something like this but underneath the shingles.
Yes I did but not everyone will. The smiley indicates my helpful intention and he has now changed it so it is good all around.
er no not real glass it'll break
so if i was doing this in texas during the summer where the average temp is 100F+ and roof temp is about 110-120F, could i get catastrophic results?
It would be really cool to see how hot it would be. Basically you could make a prediction by extrapolation of the values. It's most probably not a linear calculation. When it is 70F outside, the roof get to about 86F and there is a 3.5F difference between the input and the output. I imagine you could probably get at least 6F difference. Then again, if it's 100F outside, do you still need a water heater?
i was thinking ov using several pool heaters and some <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.tractorsupply.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CatalogSearchResultView?storeId=10551&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&pageSize=20&beginIndex=0&sType=SimpleSearch&resultCatEntryType=2&error1=&ip_text=water+storage&ip_textHH=water+storage&ip_requestUri=TopCategoriesDisplay&ip_categoryId=&ip_mode=&ip_perPage=20">water silo things</a> from tractor supply <strong>as</strong> the hot water heater for my house. they only sell white/clear containers at my store, but i could also paint it black for the summer, and in the cooler months i could throw some blanket like insulation over it<br/>
Wow! that was an involved project, but good workmanship. Myself, I would have used black poly pipe in a spiral.
Tried that before, but with the small area available, the copper is a better heat transfer than the poly pipes per square foot.
To prevent the copper discolouring the pool you really need to place a heat exchanger at the pool end, I am sure this could be made out of PVC tube, it will allow you to keep the solar heated water seperate from the pool water, that way you can fill the solar panel with antifreeze to prevent damage in the winter. To increase the performance you should install a metal collector place to the back of the pipes (painted flat black) and enclose the entire collector in a wooden box to prevent the wind from cooling the collector (some insulation at the back would also help). With these modifications your panel should yeild 4 times more energy and make a positive impact on the pool temperature. Insulating the pool and installing a thermal pool cover (bubble wrap) will allow you to retain the heat and reduce evaporation. This is a great project, well done!
The heater has been working for the past 2 months and there is no visible water discoloration. the PH is always perfect and the chlorination is as usual. we test every 2- 3 days and add some if needed. We try to keep it at the minimum in the acceptable range. We add at night and test in the afternoon.
nice instructible. Lots of good ideas to be harvested from the comments. If I may add my suggestion here. It might be a small thing, but you might want to change the direction of the cover. the way it is oriented, it will tend to hold the snow in place. If it were rotated 90 degrees, it would more easily shed the snow. just a thought. good job overall. T

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