Obviously the cheapest form of heating to run, requiring only the heat from direct sunlight and the power to run the water pump. However there are many considerations when choosing solar heating. The size of the panels needs to be, in general, between 50% to 80% of the surface area of the pool water itself. The panels can be roof mounted, but a booster pump may be required to circulate the additional weight of the water. Apart from the systems designed for use with Splasher pools and above ground pools, i.e. the solar mating and Splasher panels, the initial outlay is perhaps on par with gas heaters.
More advanced systems use electrical temperature sensors and motorised valves, to divert the water when the weather is cooler. Preventing the panels from acting like a cooling radiator, rather than a heating panel, when the sun is not shining. Combining solar systems with other forms of heating, optimises the use of the sun while not letting the water temperature drop during a cooler period. The electric or gas heater senses that the water has been heated by solar energy, and the internal thermostats therefore, automatically turn them off.
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