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Frequently Asked Questions about Sungrabber Solar Pool Heaters

Q. Why heat my pool? A. Your pool represents a significant financial investment. Heating your pool enables you and your family to enjoy your investment more than just a few months a year.

Heating your pool enables you to comfortably enjoy your pool - earlier in the spring, evenings after work, and later into the fall. A warmer pool means more time for family fun, more opportunities for healthy exercise, and a better gathering place for family and friends.

Q. Is there enough sun where I live? A. Studies show that there is enough solar energy in all parts of the United States and into Canada for you to enjoy a longer swim season with a solar pool heater.

Q. How does a solar pool heater work? A. Cold water is pumped from your pool through our patented solar tube design where it is warmed by heat collected from the sun. This is very much like the water that sits in a garden hose and is warmed by the sun. The warm water is then pumped back into your pool giving you luxuriously warm water and plenty of extended swim time.

Q. Is a solar pool heater better than a gas heater? A. We think so. A solar pool heater can be less expensive up front than a gas heater, depending on the size of your pool. Once a solar pool heater is installed, your heat is FREE from the sun. With a gas heater you need to pay the gas company depending on how much you use the heater (your pool store can give you estimates for your area). In the spring and fall when you really need heat, you use the pool heater more, so it costs you more - but solar energy is still free. Also, solar is non-polluting, and it can cool your pool during hot months, something no gas heater can do.

Q. How do I compare a gas heater to a solar pool heater? A. First check the operating costs. Will you really be willing to pay the gas bill, or will you shut off the pool heater when you need it most? Second, ask about annual maintenance costs. Solar has none. Also, determine the life of the system. Solar pool heating systems can last 15-20 years. Lastly, what are you really trying to accomplish with a pool heater? If you want your pool to be a comfortable swimming temperature all season long, then choose solar.

Q. Will it heat my pool? A. Of course! Each system produces up to 80,000 BTUs of heat per day. In general, this will heat a 24-foot round pool 10o to 15o Fahrenheit warmer during the season than a pool without a solar system. A solar blanket will help hold in this heat at night or when it's windy, and can help the system do even more. For larger pools, we recommend you start with one system unless your pool is in the shade. It's easy to add another system later if you need it. If you think you may need another, leave room on your rack!

Q. Can it also cool my pool? A. During the hottest part of the summer, running the solar system at night can cool a pool to a more refreshing swimming temperature - down several degrees in one night if the conditions are right. Also, if your pool is too warm, leave the solar blanket off at night to allow more heat to escape.

Q. How big of a system do I need? A. For best results follow the attached sizing chart or see our Sizing your Sungrabber System calculator. It is important to use this sizing chart or our sizing calculator to ensure your system will be large enough to heat your pool. Each Sungrabber system consists of two 2'x20' solar collectors (ex: if you have a 28' round Above-Ground Pool, you will want two systems, which equals four 2'x20' solar collectors). A properly sized system will raise pool temperatures 10-15 degrees during the season. For areas where the swimming season can be year round, an additional panel may be needed to heat your pool during the cooler months.

Q. Will the Sungrabber work OK with my pool equipment? A. Of course. The Sungrabber system is designed to work with any common pool pump.

Q. Do I need anything else? A. Sungrabber Plus comes complete with enough hose to connect to your pump and filter. If you are installing the panel far away from your equipment, you will need to purchase extra hose. If you'd like to build a platform or rack, a materials list is available from your pool store.

Q. How big is the Sungrabber System for Above-Ground Pools? A. Each system is approximately 20 feet long by 4 feet wide, consisting of two 2'x20' solar collectors (coupled together with a 3 ½" coupler).

Q. How much does it weigh? A. The 2x20 panel alone weighs approximately 12.55 pounds. When it is full of water, it is approximately 40 pounds. Each 20' panel holds about 5 gallons of water.

Q. Is the Sungrabber hard to install? A. Anyone can install it! The Sungrabber system can be easily installed in less than 30 minutes.

Q. Where can I put it? A. Anywhere that the panel will be in full sun for most of the day. The panel should face south if possible, but west is the next best. Lay it on grass, gravel, landscaping bark or the like, or mount it on a platform, rack or deck. Mounting at a 20 to 45 degree angle with the ground will help maximize efficiency. For rack design ideas, there is a sample design available in the Download area of our Customer Service section.

Q. What should I use to attach my panel to a rack or to my roof? A. Our mounting kit can be purchased separately to attach your panel(s) to a rack or to your roof.

Q. What do I use to connect multiple collectors together? A. If your system requires multiple collectors, you will need to purchase a panel Add-On-Kit.

Q. Should I use a pool cover with a solar system? A. A pool cover prevents evaporation loss, particularly at night. The cover traps the solar heat that has been added during the day. This is very complimentary to the solar system. The solar system can be viewed as actively adding heat. The cover retains that heat passively.

Q. Does the Sungrabber panel require maintenance? A. The Sungrabber solar panel requires no maintenance beyond your standard pool winterizing procedures. (See the next question for information on winterizing your pool.)

Q. What do I need to do to winterize my system? A. The panel must be drained and stored before the first frost. If water is allowed to freeze in the panel, it may cause freeze damage. To winterize your system:    1. Turn off your pool pump.    2. Place the plugs given to you with your pool in the inlet and outlet of the pool.    3. Disconnect both of the hoses from the hose barbs on the solar heater. Disconnect the hose from the pool inlet. Connect the hose from the pump to the inlet on the pool.    4. Remove the plugs from the inlet and outlet of the pool and check the hose clamps you just tightened for leaks.    5. Unscrew the white drain plug that's located on the panel end opposite the inlet and outlet.    6. Roll the panel and secure using the yellow/black -carrying strap. Tilt panel until water no longer comes out. Replace drain plug, and store the panel and plumbing in the garage or a shed until next spring. 
Q. What is covered by my warranty? A. All Sungrabber solar pool heating products come with a 10 Year limited warranty. A copy of the warranty is available in our Customer Support section under Warranty.

Q. Can pool solar collectors be used to heat the house? A. No. Solar pool collectors and controls are designed specifically to heat a large volume of water in a swimming pool, and to operate in temperature ranges of 80 to 100 degrees. Household space heating and household hot water are different applications of solar, requiring the heating smaller volumes of household water to higher temperatures.