Solar pool heating is the most cost-effective use of solar energy in the country, according to energy.gov. Not only are they reasonably priced, solar pool heating systems generally last longer than traditional, less environmentally friendly options like gas or heating. The initial investment is paid back with savings in less than five years on average and with convenient financing options – you could enjoy your pool for eight months out of the year for less than $80 a month.

So how does it all work? First off, the rule of thumb is, if it’s warm enough to be wearing your swimsuit poolside, you could be swimming inside, no problem. Aztec’s solar pool heating systems work with many existing parts of your pool’s maintenance, including the pump and filter if you have a newer pool. The process is simple: a solar collector is installed to heat water using the sun’s rays. A bypass valve diverts water either manually or automatically from its normal flow pattern, through the circulation system of the solar panels, and back into the pool, essentially moving the heated water from the collector into the pool, and back again, creating a uniform temperature.

Sensors are built into the system, ensuring that the collected water’s temperature doesn’t exceed the pool’s temperature. If the collected water’s temperature reaches a similar degree of the pool’s temperature, the water simply bypasses the collector and remains the same. Here in California, where we like to swim six to eight months out of the year, your solar pool heating system should be equal to 60 to 70 percent of your pool’s surface area. As with all pool heating, using a pool cover can drastically reduce evaporation, and therefore, temperature loss in your pool. Combining solar pool heating with a cover is an environmentally friendly, energy-efficient way to extend your swimming months!

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