Pool Solar System Guide: Learn About Solar Pool Heating

During the hottest summer days, your pool water will be warm enough for you to have a nice and pleasant swim, but if you would like to enjoy your pool from early spring to late fall, or even during the winter months, you will have to find a way to heat your pool. The ideal solution is to install swimming pools solar heaters that will not only make your pool water well warmed, but that will help you save a lot of money on electricity bills.

We are talking about solar systems that are pretty cheap, so even if you are on a budget, you will be able to afford one. According to some research, they will be a great investment because, among all other reasons, these systems can last much longer than regular gas or electric pool heating installations.  

Solar pool heating can be used for both in-ground and above-ground pools, and it can cover the needs of any pool size. They are very versatile in their design and the way they work. Now, we are going to present you with everything you need to know about this subject in order to understand better what you can expect from solar pool heating systems.

How does a pool solar system work?

When properly set and installed, the heating pool system will first pump the water out of the pool using a filter, after which the thermal collector will heat it up and send it back to the pool. The heat is provided by solar panels that will absorb and transform solar power into usable electricity. Additional parts of this system, besides the collector, are the flow control valve, check valve, and temperature sensor.

Usually, these systems are capable of automatically detecting the temperature of the water and sending it straight to the solar collector to heat it up. And with the help of a flow control valve, the water will be directed from the solar collector back to the pool.

What you should know is that there are solar pool heating systems that can work year-round, even in a colder climate and during the winter months. The oversized solar collector will keep your pool water warm no matter what in those situations. The best part is you can use a solar system of this kind together with traditional gas or electric pool heating installation, so you won’t have to be worried if there’s not enough sun in the sky during the entire year.

Solar thermal collector

You understood by now that there is no solar heating system without a thermal collector. It’s the key part that uses solar power provided by solar panels to warm the water before bringing it back into the pool. There are two main types of thermal collectors – glazed and unglazed.

Glazed thermal collectors usually come with quite a complex design that includes iron-tempered glass covering, aluminum plate, and copper tubing. They are also known as flat-plate solar collectors, and they are pretty expensive. These collectors are very efficient when it comes to heating the water with the help of the sun’s power, and they won’t ask for much space. Glazed collectors are suitable for systems that will work during the entire year, even when the winter months come.

The unglazed solar collector is definitely more affordable and simpler in its design. It’s mostly made from high-quality rubber or heavy-duty plastic, and it’s UV treated for the purpose of having a prolonged lifespan. These solar collectors are not as efficient as glazed ones, but they will do their job correctly. They are an adequate solution for warmer climates where the temperature doesn’t go below zero degrees.

Solar collector size

According to the Department of Energy, solar collectors should be between 50% and 100% of the square footage size of the pool you are planning to use it on. That actually depends on how long you are planning to use your pool during the year and how warm the pool water you would like to have. Now, those people who would like to use their pools throughout the entire year should purchase a thermal collector that’s the size of the pool or even larger.

Solar pool system cost

If you are wondering what the pool heater cost is and how huge of an investment this will be, you should know that the price of a fully installed solar pool heating system is somewhere between $3000 and $4000. Now, the general estimate is that you will be able to pay off this investment in less than two years, after which you will be saving a lot on electricity bills, especially if you plan on heating the pool water through the entire year. If your appetites are even bigger, and you would like to go fully solar, you can additionally install a solar water pump as well, which will cost you an additional $1000 to $3000.  You can choose to use a submersible or a surface mounted water pump.

Way are solar pool heaters a good idea?

We already mentioned that with solar pool heaters you will be able to save a lot of money on electricity bills looking forward, but also that you will contribute to preserving nature and protecting the environment from the bad influence of fossil fuels. But those aren’t the only reasons why you should think about investing in this sort of system. Pool solar panels will provide a long lifespan to a solar heating system, and it’s most likely it will last longer than any regular electric or gas heating installation.

Conclusion

Using solar energy for making and keeping your pool water warm is nothing but smart. It is a great thing we are even able today to do such a thing, and for a very affordable price, if we are being honest, given that the benefits of a solar pool heating system are huge. Just imagine being able to swim in your pool during winter days and without having to spend hundreds of dollars on making the water feel pleasant.

We hope we helped you understand better why installing this heating system is our recommendation and how exactly it works, but before you purchase it and set it all up, make sure to consult with your installer to see what are his recommendations regarding the type of thermal collector and the size of the system.

What Equipment Do You Need for Setting Up a Solar System for Home?

mounting solar panels on roof

It’s pretty clear that solar systems are becoming more and more popular as time goes by and that there are more and more people willing to do their part regarding environmental preservation and reducing their own carbon footprint. Now, let’s not pretend that we all decided to go solar only because it was the right thing to do for our planet. The truth is, that’s only one reason, while the other lies in the fact we could save so much money on electricity bills if we were about to have a solar system installed upon our roof. But let’s be clear – there’s nothing wrong with that, on the contrary. 

According to statistics, during the previous year, 23 percent of growth has been detected when it comes to the number of residential solar systems being installed. And what’s been pretty obvious by now is that this number will be even higher at the end of 2020. The reason for that huge growth lies in the fact efficiency of solar systems has been drastically improved in the last few years, but also, the cost of solar panels has dropped significantly. So if you are interested in installing solar panels, here is what you need to know and have.

Solar panels for household

Usually, solar systems for home usage will be installed on the roof of your home, and they will convert the sunlight into the electricity you can use to power up your house appliances. Quite often, these solar panels systems are being called PV, as photovoltaic systems. 

If you choose your system wisely, and if we are talking about only high-quality solar installations, the roof-mounted solar construction will eliminate or reduce your home’s dependence on the local power grid, and therefore you will be able to save on electricity bills month after month.

We cannot deny that a home solar system is quite an investment, but the truth is it will most definitely pay off, and you will find yourself in a position to count on and use mostly clear and renewable energy that will prolong the lifespan of the planet we all live on.

Now, be aware that we have off-grid and on-grid solar power systems but that most solar systems for the home will remain connected to the grid. The off-grid solar installation is more appropriate for remote areas that have limited access to electricity in general.

Main components of the solar system

In order to understand how exactly the solar system works, you need to know what are its main components and how they work. We are referring to:

  • Solar panels
  • Solar racking
  • Solar inverters
  • Solar monitoring system
  • Solar storage

Solar panels

You cannot have a solar power system without solar panels. In other words, they are the main part of every solar installation, and when choosing which to buy, you should consider their efficiency rating, quality of the materials they are made of, warranty periods, their price and type.

Residential solar systems are usually based on one of these two types of solar panels – monocrystalline and polycrystalline. There are no huge differences between them, except the fact monocrystalline panels are a bit more expensive and slightly more effective.

Now, how many solar panels you will install and where you are going to place them depends on several factors, like what’s the climate like in the place you live in, do you have enough surface on your roof for solar installation, do you want to generate enough electricity for your entire household’s need or you would like just to cover one part, etc.

That’s something you should consult with a professional installer, but there’s also an option of using an online solar system size calculator. Also, be aware that if you have an extensive capacity solar system, you can probably send a surplus of electricity back to the grid in exchange for credits via net metering.

Solar racking

Even though it looks that way, solar panels aren’t actually attached directly to the roof. They stand on a solar ranking that can be constructed in different ways and in different angles, depending on what’s the desirable position of the panels regarding sun exposure. The racking is mounted on the roof, and solar panels are lying on top of it. This element needs to be built in a good quality manner and to be very durable and sturdy, so you can be sure your solar system won’t be endangered in case of bad weather.

Solar inverter

Solar panel systems cannot work without solar inverters. It is a device that has the ability to receive direct current (DC) solar panels generated and to transform it into alternating current (AC) our home appliances are working on. So without it, the power produced by the sun would be useless.

There are three types of inverters – micro inverters, centralized or string inverters, and power optimizers. Microinverters are pretty expensive, and solar systems based on these inverters need to have more than one – each solar panel is connected to one inverter. They will allow your system to work well even if some of the panels do not perform at their maximum at the moment.

The centralized inverters are more affordable, but they can fail to do their job properly, given there’s only one inverter on the whole solar system, regardless of the number of solar panels. And if there’s shading, the whole system could experience production loss. When it comes to power optimizers, they actually optimize the output of DC current, and they need to be installed in each solar panel. The system with power optimizers will need a centralized inverter as well.

Solar monitoring system

If you would like to be familiar with how your system is performing, how much electricity you were provided in the previous period, you should rely on the solar monitoring system. It will be able to show you how much electricity your solar installation was generating per day, per hour, or per year. Also, it will alarm you if there are any changes in the system.

Solar storage

When mentioning solar storage, we are actually talking about solar batteries. There are those that can store and save energy your solar system generated for later on, when you need it, or only overnight until the sun rises again and the system starts working again. They are a very important part of the solar installation because they will enable you to have a fully functional home even when the power is off or when the grid connection is not available. But also, they can keep the excess electricity before you are ready to send it back to the grid and use the net metering services.

The cost of a solar system

The overall cost of your specific solar power system will be determined by several factors, so we cannot speak about this subject in general. The fact is, solar panel systems are not cheap, but another fact is that there is a federal solar tax credit that will deduct 26 percent of the cost that installing a solar system brings from your federal taxes, as well as other solar incentives.

Regarding the calculations, you should know that the average payback period is usually six to seven years, depending on the size of the system, and that most solar panel manufacturers will give you a 25-year long warranty. That means there will be around 18 years where you won’t have to pay a dime for the electricity you are using, or that at least these expenses will be drastically reduced.

Solar installers

Who to trust with your solar system is always a huge question. Because not every installer is a good one, and because the overall performance, as well as the lifespan of the solar system, will depend on the way the system is set up. It can also affect the return on your investment. It is essential your installer is well experienced, licensed, and recommended by a significant number of people.

Conclusion

When you decide it is time for you to start thinking about your future solar system, and you begin to search for the best solar panels, know that three things are crucial in that matter – for them to be reliable, highly efficient and that they are covered with the warranty. The efficiency will show you how much electricity your system can generate per square foot.

The reliability depends on the quality of materials solar panels are made of and the technology they are based on. And finally, the warranty period will let you know for how long you can count on your solar system to provide electricity.

Solar Monitoring System: How Does it Work?

Not all people are familiar with this fact, but there are solar monitoring systems that can be quite helpful in the matter of providing insight on how your solar system is performing. Thanks to it, you can get information on your system’s energy generation and consumption, you can find out if there’s any damage to your system, and if it needs to be better optimized. Solar panel monitoring is extremely important because, without it, you won’t be able to know if your solar installation is productive and effective enough. 

How solar monitoring works?

Storedge-monitoring-RedSolar inverters are crucial for solar PV monitoring, given that the whole process goes through them. You probably know that you can purchase a solar inverter that has adequate solar monitoring software. Now, when your inverter transforms DC current into AC power you can use for your home appliances, all information about your system’s production and power levels is being gathered and sent right to the monitoring system if you have one.

Every homeowner can access this data in several ways, but one of the most popular is via a smartphone app or other smart home devices. In most cases, you won’t even have to have a WiFi connection. There’s an on-site monitoring option as well since you can set it all up to receive monitoring information on a monitoring device that’s located at your property.

When it comes to the Internet connection, you should know that microinverter monitoring systems rely on a WiFi connection and that they won’t be able to gather information on each individual solar panel in real-time without it. But monitoring systems with power optimizers will transmit data even when the WiFi connection is down.

Besides the fact solar monitors will provide you with information on systems performance and consumption, a monitoring system can offer you several tools that will help you better understand the whole solar setup of yours. This way, you will be informed when there’s some sort of a problem detected or a panel defect you need to take care of. Sometimes, these monitoring systems will allow you to get a history of data. That can be quite valuable because you will be able to predict the output of your solar system based on information about how it was impacted by the weather in the past.

Most popular monitoring systems

Enphase and SolarEdge are the two most popular solar inverter providers, and homeowners in most cases are looking for their products because they can come with a solar monitoring system that’s very reliable and high-quality designed. Now, they do offer two very different types of solar monitoring, and you need to figure out first which one you need.

SolarEdge has a power optimizer that needs to be tied up to a central inverter, and you can use a wireless connection to send the data to your mobile application. On the other hand, Enphase offers a system of microinverters that are attached to every individual solar panel. They are designed to communicate with the main device using WiFi, which will then provide you with monitoring information on your app.

These two systems are the most wanted at this very moment, but of course, there are many other companies that are selling solar monitoring systems. They can be quite different regarding their type and the way they work, which is why you should consult with an expert before you decide which monitoring system to invest in.

10 Types of Security Cameras

You may think that purchasing a security camera for your home is a simple and easy task, but as soon as you start researching the market, you will discover that there are so many different options regarding this subject. There are many types of security cameras, and each one of them has its advantages and disadvantages. So it’s necessary to establish what is that you want and need first, and then to see what your choices are in that narrowed area.

Here is the list of the ten most common types of home security cameras you can find in the market right now.

Bullet cameras

Bullet cameras are the most popular outdoor cameras. They have a specific cylindrical shape that looks a little bit like a bullet, so hence its name. We are talking about quite recognizable cameras, so if you place them at some visible spot, it’s very likely potential intruders will detect them and give up on attacking your home. But at the same time, there is a huge chance some vandals will try to destroy it for the very same reasons. These cameras will provide you with fixed views, so they are usually placed at the entering and exit points of the building. But given that their recording area is pretty limited, you will need more of them to cover a certain field. You can mount these cameras on the wall or ceiling, and even though they are most suitable for outdoor purposes, you can also place them inside of your home or office space.

Dome cameras

Dome cameras are, in most cases, used indoors, but they can also be a good choice for outdoor purposes. They are much more discreet than bullet security cameras, they have a round shape and are mostly attached to the ceiling. Therefore they are also called ceiling cameras. When it comes to their features, they are quite similar to a previously mentioned type of cameras, but they have some additional advantages. They have a much wider viewing angle, so you won’t have to install many of them in order to cover your entire building area. Also, dome cameras are more resilient toward vandalism. You should know that both dome and bullet cameras can come with a night vision and motion-detecting technology and that they can be connected to the NVR or DVR recorder.

IP cameras

Internet Protocol or shortly IP camera works entirely via the Internet – it will collect control data and send the images using this global network. Unlike CCTV cameras, these do not need recording devices, everything goes directly on the web, it’s just the matter of choice if they are going to be wireless or wired. One of the biggest advantages of these types of security cameras for home is that they can allow you to see your security footage no matter where you are at the moment. They can have different shapes and sizes, and they can be installed inside of the place you want to protect, or on the outside, it’s up to you to choose.

ip camera on white background

Wired and wireless cameras

As we already said, there is a difference if the data from the security camera will transmit via a wired or wireless system. Wired cameras are powered by the cable connection, which they need in order to receive and store filmed footage. They need to be attached to a video recorder, and they usually ask for professional help when it comes to installing them. The good thing about wired cameras is the fact you won’t have to wonder if they are working, because there is no changing batteries or some adjustments of other kinds, they will always have a power supply. On the other hand, wireless cameras are much easier to install and maintain, and they are more suitable for people who move a lot since their set up is super simple, and you won’t have to drill some holes. They may need cable for power, but mostly they will use Wi-Fi for storing data.

Indoor and outdoor cameras

Some of the security cameras can be used both indoors and outdoors, but there are many specifications that will tell you what they are made for in the first place. First of all, all outdoor cameras must be weather and especially water-resistant. Second of all, they should have some kind of a patent that helps to minimize the glare, like the enclosure at the tip of the barrel on bullet cameras.

And the third thing is, they should be based on infrared sensing, not only motion detection because, in that case, they will be triggered by many meaningful events that happen in nature. Indoor cameras usually have a quite wider field of view, HD video, night vision, and two-way communication feature as a must. So, in case there is an intruder in your home, you will be able to record the high-quality image of that person, to see in the dark, and to warn your loved ones about the danger.

Voice integrated cameras

Modern-day security cameras sometimes come with an integrated voice assistant, which is the latest addition to the smart home system. If you get one of those, you will be in a position to give voice commands to your security camera to control and monitor your surveillance system, hands-free. These features will make the usage of the camera simple and more flexible, but you need to make sure to speak clearly and a bit louder than usual if you want for your system to get you right. Mostly these cameras are integrated with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Solar-powered cameras

There are many types of outdoor security cameras, but lately, those that work solely on the power of the sun are becoming the most popular ones. We are talking about solar-powered cameras that are made in a way that includes a little solar panel, which is sometimes integrated into the body of the camera, and sometimes it comes as a separate part. These cameras need to be placed outside, under the direct sunlight, so their panels can collect and generate the sunlight into the usable electricity. Only if that’s achieved, they will be able to work properly and provide you with the footage. They come in different shapes and with different specifications.

PTZ cameras

Some people like having more control in their hands, so they usually choose PTZ cameras, which are based on pan, tilt, and zoom features. That way, the operator of the surveillance system will have more freedom to move and zoom the camera’s lens and to get better images. Now, there is an option to do all those things manually or to set everything up, so the camera follows a certain composition of rules. These cameras are quite advanced, so they are rarely used just for home monitoring, and mostly for television and sports broadcast, event producing, video conferencing, and for more serious security. They are almost always designed for a specific application.

Hidden cameras

If you would like to have a discreet security camera that’s not easily noticed, you can go with the one that is hidden behind some other objects like motion detectors or smoke alarms. These cameras will provide you with an extra layer of security if you place them in some strategic places. They are great for surveillance of the employees and customers, and they usually come with a wide-angle lens and high resolution so that the footage remains in good quality. Also, they can be, in most cases, controlled remotely, even if you are away from the object under the cameras.

Cameras with a security system

Security cameras are sometimes just part of a bigger and more advanced surveillance system. These complex structures demand to have a couple of different types of devices that will give you full and flexible recording features. Quite often they are coupled with home automation and remote monitoring, which means you will be able to see who is in your doorstep even if you are somewhere else, and to unlock the door and give these people access, all while being far away. There’s also an opportunity of using a video splitter in order to view multiple feeds simultaneously.

Conclusion

So, it is pretty clear that there are many different types of security cameras and that it will take some time for you to figure out which one will be the best for surveillance of your property. You should bear in mind, however, that you can combine a couple of them and create a customized security system that will answer to all your needs. But for starters, you need to estimate what are your true home security risks.

How to Install Motion Sensor Lightning?

So, you have finally decided to try on solar motion lights! We congratulate you on your decision because, as it turns out, they are an ideal way to illuminate your front or back yard and to have a great security tool that will alarm you when someone approaches your property, all at once. Now, if you would like to do the work on your own and set up the lights without the help of professionals, we present you with short but detailed instructions on how to install motion sensor lights that work solely on the power of the sun.

Step 1 – Prepare necessary tools

Before you start, you should prepare everything you will need for this endeavour. You will probably have to use a 4-in-1 screwdriver, maybe a drill, and leather, if you wish to mount the light on a wall of the house, above the driveway or pathway.

Step 2 – Choose the spot

You need to decide where you want to place your solar motion light. The experts suggest mounting it six to ten feet above the ground, in a zone that’s mostly used by visitors so that the sensor can catch the movements – the driveway, front door path, and back yard main path. That way, the light will always turn on when you are coming home at night or when you are stepping into your yard, but also, they will warn you if someone else does the same. You can also use these lights to illuminate the darkest places of your property, your patio, pool area, fence gates, etc.

Step 3 – Mount the light

Solar-powered motion security lights can come in two ways – with a solar panel as a separate part, and with a solar panel integrated on top of the light. If we are talking about the first option, then you need to mount both parts, usually closely one to another, because they are connected with a wire. Another option is much easier since you will just have one task – to mount the light in a proper place. In both cases, you need to make sure solar panels will have good exposure to the sun during the whole day, so it can charge the battery as soon as possible, and make sure your lights are ready for the night time. When it comes to specifics of the mounting process, each manufacturer will provide you with a manual that will explain all you need to do.

Step 4 – Aim the sensor and the light

During the mounting process, don’t forget about the motion sensor that comes with a light. You need to aim it correctly, so it remains pointed to the pathway, driveway, or any other area you want to be covered with its range. Both lights and sensors can have an adjustable head, so you can adapt their angle to your needs. So adjust the light as well, you probably want it to illuminate certain sports.

Step 5 – Set the controls

And finally, if you have a bit more advanced motion sensor lights, this is the part where you should adjust all the settings you can. That includes the detector’s distance range, the time period your lights will be on when motion is detected, and the brightness of the lights. Some of them come with several modes and possibilities, like when they turn into dim lights if the person stays on the illuminated spot for more than 30 seconds. And that’s it. You can now enjoy your brand new motion lighting!

How to Charge a Solar Watch Fast?

Given that renewable energy is becoming more and more acceptable and tempting lifestyle option for a great number of people, it’s quite often they decide to change their traditional watches for those based on solar energy and solar panels. They find it interesting, current, and pretty entertaining, since you can just put them under the sunlight if you see the battery is running low, and viola, it will continue to work perfectly. Here, we bring you detailed instructions on how to charge your solar powered watches fast.

Regular charging

First, you need to establish if it is even the time for a recharge. You will know that by looking at the watch dial. Usually, every solar watch will have a pointer bar that shows the current status of the battery. When you see that this bar is on the bottom, it’s definitely the right moment to expose it to the sun. All you need to do, in order to make the little solar panel on your watch working, is to put it under direct sunlight (outside, or on the window, for example). If you are outdoors and you have it on your hand, just make sure your sleeve is rolled up. Also, you will be able to understand your watch needs charging when it simply stops working, stops showing the right time, or when the mode buttons stop work.

Now, you need to understand that when your hand watch is totally disabled because its battery is at the bare minimum, it will take about 20 hours of charging for it to get to the maximum. But that means that it needs to be placed in a way that it has full exposure to the sun. During the winter, however, it will take three times longer – about 60 hours to get to that same point. The process of charging a solar watch indoors is also possible, but you need to make sure to put it in a place that has an inflow of light.

But, if you wonder how to charge a solar watch without the sun, or is it even possible, know that the solution exists, but you will have to accept the fact that you won’t be in a position to use it for a couple of days. The thing is, it takes a lot longer to charge the watch through an artificial light than the natural sunlight. The whole process might take up to 150 hours.

Temporary charging

The fully charged watch will last for months, sometimes even a year. But if you see the situation is critical, and that you need to give it a little power push immediately, all you have to do is to place it under the sun for only three minutes, and it will be able to work for the next 24 hours. But when it comes to the artificial light, for the same working period, the item will need to be exposed for three and a half hours.

In order to prevent this from happening, to avoid waiting for it to completely wear out, you should make a habit of giving your watch a daily dose of light, natural or artificial. That way, you will probably manage to charge it fully, day by day, without the need to do it later for hours. And remember, if the watch comes to the no-charge level, you will have to reset it after it’s charged.

FAQ

How to charge a Seiko solar watch?

If both hands stop rotating completely, there is a possibility your Seiko solar watch ran out of power. In that case, you need to expose it to the direct sunlight for about five to six hours before you start using it again, in order for it to get a sufficient amount of energy. If you are rushing and decide on setting it up before that, it will probably stop working again after a short period of time. 

Will a solar watch charge during the cloudy day?

Yes. Even if the whole sky is covered with clouds, a little solar panel on your watch will get a certain amount of sunlight and will be able to charge. But, you should know that in that case, solar panels can produce only 10-25 percent of their regular output, which means the charging process will take more time.

Conclusion

The usage of solar watches, including their charging, is quite simple and easy to handle. Pretty much everyone can understand it and realize it, it’s just necessary not to forget how important it is to put it under the sun regularly, on a daily basis. Besides that, these watches have many benefits, and one of them is the fact that you won’t ever have to change their battery, unlike the quartz-controlled watches that demand this service every couple of years.