A solar pool heat controller will turn your solar pool heating system on or off automatically. Typically a controller does not control the operation of your pool pump*. What is controlled is whether pool water is directed through the solar panels or if the solar panels are bypassed.
Determining whether the solar pool heating system should be on or off depends on a couple of factors:
- Is the temperature of the collectors on the roof warmer than the pool water?
- Is the desired temperature higher than the current pool temperature?
To determine the above factors, the controller uses sensors. One sensor is located near the pump to sense the temperature of the pool water. The other sensor is located on the roof to sense whether there is adequate heat available from the solar panels. If the difference is great enough, an electronic valve opens and pool water is directed through the solar pool heating panels. If the desired temperature is reached, the valve closes, the solar panels are bypassed, and the pool water circulation continues until the pump timer shuts off the pump.
* The Pentair SunTouch and SolarTouch controllers can control the speed of a variable speed or variable flow pump – another money saving product. When the solar pool heater turns on, the controller will adjust the speed of the pump to the appropriate setting.