If you own a pool, or you’re planning to have one built, you’ll be aware that pool ownership is an expensive, long-term commitment. With 1.2 million private pools in the country, Australia has the highest rate of pool ownership per capita in the world. If you’re amongst this number, you may be wondering how to heat your pool without breaking the bank. Melbourne Pool + Outdoor Design’s Thomas Henry talks with Paul Carroll, managing director of Aspire Pool Solar Heating, on why solar could be the best and most affordable option for your pool.
For many years, Australian pool owners have had to rely on overseas companies to supply one-piece rigid solar panels to the pool heating industry. This presented two challenges. With panel sizes being limited in variety, it proved difficult and expensive to make use of available roof space, and often these heating solutions were not built to withstand Australia’s harsh climate.
This changed in 2016, when Aspire Pool Solar Heating was established by four individuals with unique skill sets. These were Simon Boadle, co-founder of Sunbather Australia; Tom Boadle, general manager of Sunbather Australia; Mick Carroll, owner and managing director of Carroll’s Injection Moulding; and last but not least, Paul Carroll, designer and inventor of the Aspire Pool Solar Heating pool solar system.
Australian pools have had access to solar collectors for many years now and it remains one of our most sustainable and cost-effective ways to heat our pools and spas. Aspire Pool Solar Heating was recently honoured with their reception of the Gold award for sustainability at SPASA National, standing out amongst all the sustainability advancements in the swimming pool industry. The invention has also been awarded Product of the Year and Innovative Product of the Year for TAS 2023.
“One of the best options we offer our clients is the flexibility to customise their pool solar system and maximise the roof space available,” says Carroll. Now that local manufacturing has become an option, it’s possible to produce panels for 60cm in length up to 540cm in 30cm increments. This not only makes solar heating a more cost-effective option, but may also mean that your roof can share the space with PV panels.
And it’s no trouble if you’ve already got your pool set up with other forms of heating, such as a gas heater or an electric heat pump. The Aspire Pool Solar Heating solar system can be paired with these and become your primary source of heating. This means you can up the heat when necessary, but with a significant reduction to your energy bills. Additionally, “The polymers chosen to manufacture our panel system can be 100% recycled after twenty plus years of usable life, and helps reduce land fill,” says Carroll.
When it came to designing the system, the team had to be mindful of how easy the installation process could be made. “Our unique proprietary clamping and brackets allows us to install on 90% of tiled roofs without the need to penetrate the roof tile,” says Carroll. This unique innovation means it’s possible to install the panels on roofs with steeper, less conventional angles. If you’re planning on installing solar, Carroll also recommends you keep in mind the surrounding environment. For example, solar panels can be prone to destruction from cockatoos or hail.
HOW IT WORKS
The designs for the Aspire Pool Solar Heating pool heating system are the culmination of more than forty years of servicing the Australian pools industry. The patented design uses one-piece injection overmolding, making it the only Australian manufactured panel of its kind. The special resin is overmolded onto a barbed header, bonding the tubes to the header pipe, making the joint tough and leak-proof. This eliminates the need for individual seals that can be prone to leaks, and a triple seal joint ensures watertightness.
When it comes to solar power, there’s certain myths and uncertainties. For example, some believe that the low cost associated with solar also translates to low heat performance, but this is not the case. The panel works in conjunction with a solar controller and a low-energy circulation water pump.
Black solar panels absorb the sun’s UV rays in a two-stage process. “As the roof temperature increases, the solar controller activates the water pump, which takes the cold water from the pool up to the roof, where it is heated and returned to the pool,” says Carroll, adding: “It’s that simple.”
SOLAR POWER AND YOU
Ultimately, the pool heating solution that you choose comes down to what your requirements are. “My advice is to consult with your pool builder or service technician and be realistic about the time of the year that you will be using the pool,” recommends Carroll, adding, “Don’t settle for one option of heating. Do the homework and choose the system that suits you best”. A wrong decision can increase the cost of your energy bills in the long run, and there are so many variables to consider. You’ll need to think about where you live, the space and services available, how often you’ll use the pool, whether you’ve got a spa attached, how warm you like the water and your budget.
“My only recommendation when buying pool equipment is to buy quality,” says Carroll. “The swimming area and equipment is under some of the harshest conditions. You are dealing with UV from the sun, chemicals from the pool equipment, winter freezing and human intervention,” he explains.
If you’re looking to get the best experience from your pool heating and find yourself concerned with the sustainability and pricing of options on the market, Aspire Pool Solar Heating solar panels are an excellent option as a primary source of heat. Backed up by a secondary heat source, such as an inverter heat pump, and a good quality pool cover, you’ll be able to make the most of your pool while keeping costs to a
Images courtesy of Aspire Pool Solar Heating