You are here: Skip Navigation LinksHome » Products » FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Alcor is here to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your solar pool heating needs. For your convenience, below is a list of the most commonly asked questions.

» How much will my PG&E bill go up using solar?
  • No additional PG&E costs. The water in a residential pool should be turned over one (1) time each day to properly filter and sanitize the water. While you are filtering the pool you can be heating with solar.
» What temperature should I expect with a solar pool heater?
  • You should fall in one of the three following categories with a properly sized system:

  • CATEGORY 1 - 78-82 degrees F mid April through mid October. (We see clients with 78-84 degrees F in April and 80-88 degrees F in October.)

  • CATEGORY 2 - Approximately 10-15 degrees up to 20 degrees F above pool water temperature without solar.

  • CATEGORY 3 - Approximately 10-15 degrees up to 20 degrees F above ambient air temperature. Add the daytime highs and the night time lows of the past 5-6 days, average them, then add 10-15 degrees F.

  • The use of additional collectors will lengthen the swim season and increase temperatures. Generally, when the night time ambient air temperatures are in the 50's, the use of the pool cover is very helpful to extend your swim season.
» How much does it cost to receive an on-site appraisal, and a firm estimate?
  • Reputable dealers will not charge you for an on-site analysis! You can call (925) 825-5658 to arrange for a free on-site pool and solar appraisal.
» Will it be necessary to put holes in my roof?
  • It will be necessary to make a few roof penetrations to mount your system, but these are filled with a high quality sealant and are never exposed to sunlight. Because of the unique modular design, our collector panels can adapt to many types of roofs which will not accommodate other systems.
» What size are the panels?
  • They come in three sizes, 4'x8', 4'x10', and 4'x12'. Another unique feature of the solar panels is that it is extruded as one continuous four foot wide section, eliminating the heat stress inherent in the manufacturing process of other solar panels.
» Will my roof be strong enough to hold them?
  • Yes, the weight per fully wetted panel is less than 2 lbs. per square foot. All roofs are designed to carry that small a load....and of course, much greater loads.
» What temperatures will the panels tolerate?
  • The panels are resistant up to 290°F, and if properly drained will not be affected by freezing temperatures.
» How fast does the pool water heat up after the system is turned on?
  • Between 5 to 12 days depending on the climate. Closer to five days rather than 12 days generally.
» How does it work?
  • Basically, using existing pool equipment (in most cases), the pool water is pumped from the pool, up through the hundreds of channels in the panels, where it heated by the sun's rays, and then returned to the swimming pool. The average flow of water through the collectors is three to eight gallons per minute.
» How automatic is my solar pool heating system?
  • An automatic control turns the system on and off depending upon the weather conditions and the desired pool water temperature. A solar sensor employs the use of the sun's energy to activate the automatic control when there is adequate solar energy to heat your pool. Other control valves allow the water to by-pass the collectors and flow normally through the filtration system when the collector is not in use, and allows drainage of the collectors in the event of a freeze.
» What happens on days when there is no sun?
  • At all times, the water is returned to the pool through the conventional heater (if one is installed on the pool), therefore, if there is no available energy from the sun, the conventional heater can be used to bring the water up to desired temperature. Solar systems need sun in order to operate.
» What is the warranty for the collector panels?
  • There is a 10 year limited warranty against defects in material or workmanship. This warranty covers the panel for an entire 10 years.
» What is the payback period for my solar heating system?
  • This of course, depends on how much you use the pool, plus the cost on conventional fossil fuel in the next few years. The average time is between two and five years... and then your energy costs are free.
» Will the use of the solar system extend my swimming season?
  • Definitely, yes!! How long it is extended is again dependent upon climatic conditions.
» What if there is not enough room on my roof for the solar collectors?
  • We can install them on the ground. Some people prefer doing this even when they have the roof space. The panels work equally well on the ground as well as the roof.
» Do I need a pool blanket when I have a solar collector system?
  • It is highly recommended that a pool blanket be used in conjunction with solar panels. Most of the heat loss from a pool is due to evaporation, therefore the proper use of a pool blanket will reduce heat loss, as well as water evaporation loss. Blankets also help reduce heat loss at night, as well as keep leaves and debris from falling into the pool.
» What is the difference between copper and polymer panels?
  • Copper and aluminum may react with the chemicals in the pool water, causing liming and corrosion in the system. There is also a chance of permanent stain damage to your pool from using copper collectors. The biggest difference, of course, is in the cost. A plastic pool heating system generally cost half as much as the copper pool heating system.