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Solar for Swimming

Is your pool too cold to enjoy?
We love our backyard pools in Australia. We just have an above ground pool and it had one BIG was freezing! We could only use it comfortably in midsummer, and then, only if it was really hot.

We bought a solar pool blanket after being told some incredible things about them...guess what? It did not raise the temperature of the pool one little bit. However, it is brilliant at stopping evaporation and reduces the amount of chlorine you need. So they are a very good idea.

In the end, we decided to heat our pool. We very quickly decided that it had to be environmental and cost effective. So that meant 'solar'. It is much cheaper to run because the only non-renewable energy source the system needs is the electricity for the pump. Because of this, it is much more environmentally friendly than other options such as gas and electrical heating.

Now we spoke to lots of solar pool heating companies - and it was a very, very frustrating time as they were either full of outrageous claims or they didn't actually want to do any work. We were about to give up when we came across a company called 'Heliocol'. Now we're not advertising, but they were so brilliant compared to all the rest that we just really want to tell you about them.

We chose Heliocol for many reasons. They use the most durable and efficient type of system. We live in an area where wildlife such as cockatoos and possums are constantly on our roof. With a normal system, the possums and the cockatoos would tear it to shreds within months but our system has a 25 year guarantee.

Heliocol also has ISO 9002 certification which means its the highest quality and stands by its warranty. It's got 'Green Certification' and was chosen for the Athens and Atlanta Olympics.

Heliocol came and installed our system in a day and for the first time that summer we had a toasty warm pool...even mum got in!

Water is sucked out from the pool and pumped up to the roof. Once there it passes through lots of tiny black tubes. Inside, the water quickly heats up because black is the colour that absorbs the most heat. The heated water is then channelled back into a thicker pipe which feeds back into your pool. This process repeats until the pool reaches your set temperature. Easy!

However, we had the panels installed on the back of our house because we did not want to have big black bits of plastic on the front where everyone can see. The downside to this is that on our back roof, there is lots of shade from the gum trees so we were not getting the most out of our system. We soon learned that you can actually get panels in different colours so we got terracotta colour installed on the front of our house (to match to roof tiles) to add to the panels at the back of the house.

do you have to go to the crowded public pool?
There are many things to consider when installing solar heating:
1. For maximum heat from the panels, the roof they are installed on should face north east.
2. The higher the roof, the larger the pump required to lift the water. So for example if you went from a 1hp pump to a 1.5 hp pump, you would be using 50% more electricity.
3. It might not be possible for the installers to lay down the pipes in certain areas without adding greater costs. This could disrupt your existing landscaped garden with trenches having to be dug.
4. Another thing to consider is where the pump is. You want to make sure it is as far away from bedroom windows as possible although the one we have is not too noisy at all.
5. Make sure you get a quote from someone reliable and knowledgable so they work out the right panel to pool equation.

In conclusion, installing solar heating means you are able to enjoy swimming in warmer water, for a longer season. much warmer will it get our pool? We are going to show you over the next 6 months, the temperature of our pool.

Click here to see our results

If you are considering getting your pool heated, solar heating is the best for the environment and the cheapest overall. We definitely recommend you call Paul (who's really nice and knows loads about solar) at Heliocol.

Heliocol, Solar Pool Heating - Phone: 02 9621 6453

By, Alastair Wadlow

Frozen Pool: P Gaffney