Free solar pool heating
If you have a swimming pool, you will find this idea for a way to heat up the pool for free very interesting, because who wouldn't want to add free solar heating to warm up a swimming pool. It's an inexpensive project that allows you to use your swimming pool for longer - for free!
As a pool owner you can bet that I will be shopping around for all the supplies needed for this project. I have seen hula hoops around and will be grabbing more than a few to heat up my pool for summer. This project first appeared a few years ago, but it's definitely one that I am sure many South Africans will find practical.
Plastic hula hoops
Thick black plastic or pond liner
Soldering iron (I am going to use epoxy glue instead - see comments below)
1. Place your hula hoops on the plastic and cut out a slightly larger circle using a pair of sharp scissors. Allow an extra 10cm all the way around for securing to the hoop. You will cut away any excess plastic later on.
2. Use clamps to hold the plastic around the edge of the hoops while you secure the plastic to the hoops. In the original tutorial they use a soldering iron to fasten the plastic to the hoop, but I personally feel that you could use epoxy glue to make the project much easier and faster.
My method would be to cut the plastic about 2 centimetres larger than the hoop. Mix up enough epoxy glue to apply to the bottom of the hula hoop and press this down onto the plastic. Repeat this until the entire hoop is secured in place for a watertight seal.
3. The original method requires that you blunt the tip of a soldering iron and use this to fuse the plastic to the hoop. You have to stretch the plastic over the base and clamp, moving the clamps as you fuse all around the perimeter.
4. As you fuse one spot you need something to immediately press down to ensure that the plastic liner fuses nicely with the hoop. I definitely think epoxy glue would be an easier solution.
5. After fusing or bonding together the plastic and hoop you can cut away any excess. They recommend that you make a few holes in the centre section of the plastic to prevent air bubbles accumulating underneath the hoops.
The solar hoops absorb solar heat and pass this into the water. You obviously need quite a few hoops to cover the surface of a pool, which is why I am posting this now - to give you plenty of time to get started before summer!
Another great bit of advice is that, once you have the solar hoops floating on the top of the pool, set the pool pump timer to only work at night. This will allow the solar hoops to heat up the water and also cut down on your electrical bill, as it's cheaper to run your pump in the evening rather than during peak hours.
Thanks to the guys at Make Magazine for this amazing project idea!