This DIY Pool Heater Requires No Electricity

Do you own a pool? Sorry…! No, really – we had a small one at our house in Las Vegas, and I swore “Never again…” The work required to keep it clean, the costs for supplies, energy, and those inevitable pump repairs just weren’t worth it to me… and I really enjoyed a quick dip after a long, hot day. That’s me, though… you may enjoy your pool more, but still want to keep the expenses (and the environmental impact) down. Obviously, a pool requires water, but you can cut the cost of keeping that water warm (which does require quite a bit of energy) with the awesome floating DIY pool heater. From sister site Cleantechnica, Jo Borras has all the details

diy pool heater floating lily pad
DIY solar pool warmers look like lily pads

There’s nothing better than a swimming pool for beating the summer heat and spending some quality time with friends and family outdoors, but keeping a pool warm can be prohibitively expensive and incredibly wasteful. Fortunately, these simple-to-make, DIY pool warmers concentrate the energy of the sun to release up to 500 BTUs per hour into your pool. Each!

All you need to get started making these lily-pad style pool warmers are hula hoops, some readily-available polyethylene film, a few clamps (or an extra set of steady hands), a sharp blade, and a slightly modified soldering gun to get everything to stick together.

Keep in mind, it might take a bunch of these lily-pad pool warmers to keep your pool warm, and the original Make article seems to think that 50% coverage is what you’re really after. Still, given the bargain-basement unit cost of these things and their high potential output/heat-retaining insulation, you’ll probably make your money back in no time. You can check out the super-over-simplified version of the instructions for making your own zero-energy pool warmers, below …

Oversimplified Step 1


Cut the polyethylene film to the approximate size of the hula hoops you bought.

Oversimplified Step 2


Clamp (or find someone willing to hold) the polyethylene film to the edge of the hula hoops.

Oversimplified Step 3


Use the slightly modified soldering gun to melt, or “spot-weld”, the film to the edge of the plastic hula hoop. Next, use the pointed tip of the soldering gun to puncture 9 small vent holes in the film, one in the center and the rest distributed in a circle of about 24″ diameter. This is critical, because, without these vents, air bubbles would form under the stretched polyethylene and reduce the heat transfer.

Oversimplified Step 4


Trim the edge of the film so it more neatly aligns with the hula hoop. This is purely an aesthetic step.

Oversimplified Step 5


Toss those DIY lily-pad pool warmers into the pool and start making that freeloading sun work for you!

… if that’s not enough, just head on over to the original article on for a much more in-depth, step-by-step guide to lily-pad construction. In the meantime, you can watch Make’s lily-pad pool warmer promo video, below. Enjoy!

DIY Solar Pool Warmers

Source | More Photos: Make, via Pinterest.

Written by imcp

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