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DIY Solar Pool Heater- My Summer Maker Project

I've been tossing this idea around for about 20 years, ever since we moved into our current house, a house that included an above-ground pool. I'm not really that fond of swimming pools, unless of course the water is exceptionally warm. The first time I put my foot into that pool and felt how cold the water was, I started thinking about ways that I could warm up the water.

Very soon after getting it set up for swimming, when adding water to that above-ground pool, I noticed how hot the water was that had been sitting inside the garden hose which was laying out in the sun. I mulled over an idea of how I could use the sun and water to heat up a swimming pool. The initial issue with this solution was a lack of recirculation. If I continued to add hot water from the garden hose, eventually the pool would be overfilled. At that point I would have to remove some water from the pool (wasteful) in order to continue adding hot water.

Fast forward twenty years. I woke up Saturday morning and had to remove a submersible pump from an old stone well. As I was pulling the pump up, I suddenly realized that if I put a submersible pump in the pool, ran a couple of hundred feet of garden hose out into the yard and ultimately back into the pool, and was able to automatically turn the pump on and off once the water in the hose had been heated up by the sun, I would finally have my solar heated pool solution. But how could I automate the pump turning on?

This turned out to be the easiest and most cost effective part of my entire plan. You can now buy programmable power outlets/timers. These outlets allow you to program power on and power off events. Here is a timer similar to the one that I picked up from Menards:

Here's a link to a pump like the one I used:

The entire schematic looks something like this:

Programmable Timer->Pump in Pool->Hose to Yard->Hose to Pool

I set the timer to turn on at the hour and half hour, all day from 10 AM to 7 PM. The timer allows the pump to run for 3 minutes and then automatically turns off. This provides enough time for the hot water to evacuate from the hose, while refilling the hose with cool water off the bottom of the pool. 27 minutes later, the pump turns back on and again pumps hot water heated to 110F by the sun back into the pool.

Last evening we soaked and lounged in our pool with a water temperature in the mid-high 80s. Water temperature courtesy of the sun. :)


WARNING: Remove timer from power and pump from pool before swimming! Electrical hazard.


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