If you would like to significantly reduce swimming pool heating costs for winters in Phoenix, you may want to consider installing a solar pool heater. Solar pool heaters are competitive in price with both gas and heat pump pool heaters and they have extremely low annual operating costs. Solar pool heaters are also (obviously) the most environmentally friendly choice!

How They Work

Most solar pool heating systems include the following:

Phoenix Solar Pool Heater

Example of a solar pool heating system. (Source: US Department of Energy)

  • A solar collector — The solar collector is a device through which pool water is circulated to be heated by the sun.
  • A filter — The filter removes any debris before the water is pumped through the collector.
  • A pump — The pump circulates water through the filter and collector and back to the pool.
  • A flow control valve — The flow control valve is an automatic or manual device that diverts pool water through the solar collector.

Pool water is pumped through the filter and then back through the solar collector(s), where it is heated before it is returned to the pool.

Phoenix Solar Pool Heater

Example of how a solar collector works. (Source: US Department of Energy)

In climates like Phoenix and Southern Arizona, the collector(s) can also be used to cool the pool during peak summer months by circulating the water through the collector(s) at night.

Some solar pool heating systems include sensors and an automatic or manual valve to divert water through the collector(s) when the collector temperature is sufficiently greater than the pool temperature. When the collector temperature is similar to the pool temperature, filtered water simply bypasses the collector(s) and is returned to the pool.

Solar Pool Heater Installation and Maintenance

The proper installation of your solar pool heating system depends on many factors. Some of these factors include solar resource (plentiful in Phoenix!), local building code requirements and safety issues. Therefore, it’s best to have a qualified professional like Unique Landscapes and Custom Pools install your solar pool heater system. If you are interested in integrating a solar pool heater into your Phoenix custom pool design, please be sure to let your designer know.

After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly for 10–20 years (typically longer than a gas heaters). Consult with Unique and read your owner’s manual for maintenance requirements. Your collector should require little maintenance if your pool’s chemical balance and filtering system are checked regularly. Certain type of collectors will need to be cleaned in dry climates such as Phoenix’s where rainwater doesn’t provide a natural wash.