Do-It-Yourself Solar Pool Heaters

What You'll Need
1 sheet of Plexiglas
3/4 inch plywood
Flat black paint
Copper pipe
Copper elbow pipe 90 degree
Copper pipe adhesive
Pipe cutter
Water pump

Solar pool heaters allow you to use the pool not only in the summer, but in winter as well. To have a solar powered pool heater installed professionally can cost upwards of two thousand dollars. Nonetheless, with the right tools you can build one yourself at a fraction of the cost. Here are the step-by-step instructions to build your own solar pool heater.

Step 1) Make the Frame

Measure your Plexiglas. Cut your plywood to the same size as the glass. Use the 2x4s to make a box that is 4 inches deep and the same size as your plywood. The plywood will be the bottom, the 2x4s will be the sides, and the glass will be the top of your collector box when it is finished.

Step 2) Paint

You will need to paint the wood of your box in a flat black paint. Once it is painted let it dry for a few hours before you continue.

Step3) Cut Holes

You will need to use a hole saw. Cut a hole big enough to run your pipe through on the bottom corner of the side and one on the top corner of the opposite side.

Step 4) Install the Pipe

The pipe will go into one hole and make several turns (as many as possible) before exiting out the opposite side. Use your elbows and adhesive to make as many S-curves with your copper pipe as you can. The more pipe present the faster the water will heat. You can also paint the copper pipe black if you like.

Step 5) Attach the Plexiglas

Pre-drill holes along the edge of your Plexiglas and attach it to the wood frame with screws.

Step 6) Connect the Input Pipe

The next step is to connect the input pipe to the pump. You will need to modify your pool pump slightly by finding the pipe that returns the water from your pool and install a gate valve to it between the pump and the pool. You will need to use a T-connector between the gate valve and the pump to bypass the pump and go through your box. Then install another T-valve in the side of the box to bring the water back to your pump.

Step 7) Regulate

You will need to use the gate valve to adjust the water flow through the box. If you have the water moving too fast the water will not heat before it is fed back to the pool. This may take you a bit of time to find the right setting.

With the above set, you will have a fantastic solar pool heater to help you swim as long as possible.