An above ground solar pool heater is a very cheap and environmentally friendly method of heating a pool. Once the panels themselves are paid for and installed you don't need to worry about ever increasing fuel costs. These will use nothing other that the sun to heat your water to a lovely temperature. These systems are also suitable for heating water if required.
Solar water heaters are also very easy to install and will pay for themselves because they should be able to last for 20 to 30 years or longer. The only real problem with these systems is that their ability to heat water will depend on the temperature outside.
Step 1 - Planning
First think about how the solar heater will connect into your pools plumbing system. A pool without a heater will take water out of the pool and then pump it though a filter after which it is then returned to the pool. A solar heater will connect in the middle of this system. After the filter the water is diverted through the heating panel before being allowed to enter the pool again.
Step 2 - Decide Where to Fit Heater
Some consideration will be needed so you can decide where to install the solar panels. It's just not possible to stick the panels on any roof because these may not be positioned to get enough sunlight. Choosing an area of roof which receives a lot of sunlight for most of the day will provide the most efficient heater. Some roofs wont be able to get enough sunlight.
Step 3 - Choosing a Heater
You will now need to choose the size of solar panel required. You will normally need to choose a panel which is half as big as the surface of your pool. However the size will also depend on how much you want to heat the water.
The solar panels used to heat water are normally not covered by glass, this means that you will be interested in unglazed panels. These are actually cheaper than glazed solar panels.
Step 4 - Mounting the Panels
The panels need to be mounted onto the surface of the roof or any other open surface close to the pool. All of the fixings required to complete this project should normally be included in the package which should make installation easy. If these panels are fitted to the roof then you must be careful that you don't break any of the tiles.
Step 5 - Pump
Make sure that the pool pump you're currently using is large enough to pump water around the solar panels. You might need to upgrade the pump with a more powerful model so that it is capable of pumping water right the way to the solar panels which are fixed to your roof.
Step 6 - Plumbing
Diverter valves will then need to be installed into your plumbing system so that the flow of water can be controlled. This will mean that the system can control whether water passes through the solar panels to be heated or whether it will just be pumped back into the pool. These diverter valves can be controlled by a thermostat.