I bought one of these SunHeater Solar heaters. This thing really works! I bought it on eBay towards the end of last summer. I never hooked it up .. until I had to replace my pool liner on July 9th. The water coming from the faucet was around 60 degrees (58 I think was the exact number). If the only thing I did was put the solar blanket on the pool we might have been able to get in last weekend. But with this heater it literally raised the pool temp on average 10 degrees a day! My kids were swimming by the 13th. Since then the pool water has been hanging around 88 degrees. Perfect for the wife and kids. I like it between 80 and 85 myself. But after cutting the lawn or other outdoor work, 88 degrees feels great! It wasn’t that hard to hook up to the pump (as long as you aren’t doing any fancy by-pass valve work). I found a spot in the yard that was close to the pool and had a full 6 hours of sunlight. I did have to buy two 6 foot long hoses to position the heater in the right spot. I pulled the return line off the pump and the pool and replaced it with one of the new hoses going from the pump to the heater and then put the second new hose on the other end of the heater and connected that to the return on the pool. I will have to put up with two 20 foot long dead grass strips in the fall, but I’m not to worried about that. If you look at the picture you can see I had to move the heater panels about 3 feet because my neighbor blew grass clippings on it every time he cut his grass. You can see the dead grass from where they were. The best part about the heater is the wife and kids have been getting in it more. Not sure if it’s the heater or the new liner that’s brought them out to the pool more, I’m just glad the chemicals I buy every spring are finally getting put to work … other than maintaining a pool that never gets used.
I’ve also noticed more “family” showing up to use the pool this summer. It really doesn’t bother me as long as they call first. I really have issues when people just “show up” to swim. What if we weren’t home? I have the feeling that they would just get in anyway. And that is a liability I don’t want to have to deal with. So I guess if I go on vacation I need to lock the deck gate. Just latching it isn’t going to be enough it seems.
The only “real” down side to the pool being heated now is the chemicals become harder to keep balanced when the water goes above 85. I had a slightly cloudy pool when the water hit 90 last week. I could check the chemicals in the morning before the pump kicked on and they’d be fine, but once that water starts heating it changes. I noticed that with our hot tub too. When I replace the water in it, I wat until it’s heated before I even attempt to balance the chemicals. The biggest problem right now is bringing the alkalinity and pH back down. They climb from a “desired” level to slightly high when the water is warm. I’ve got to stablize the alkalinity first then the pH will fall in step. Who’d have ever thought my high school chemistry class would ever come into use?