Oil vs. Solar

Oh, the weather outside is frightful and the days are simply delightful, so now what are you going to do?  Go to Disneyworld?  If you can great, but most of us are trying to think of a way to keep our valued technicians busy on these doldrums days of summer.  What do we do now?

In the past some of us depended on the ‘rich” to get us through with their pool heaters on. From what I see, not too many of those ‘rich” people are spending their funds on heating the pool this year, which is not good for those of us who sell oil. 

We still need to sell oil in order to make ends meet, right?  Or do we?  In the summer, if we are not doing air conditioning work to keep busy, what to do?

In the past, I, like most of you, have thought about the other types of fuel that could be used instead of our valuable oil.  We have mounted campaigns against the gas companies; we have looked at the coal industry as the ‘old” technology; and we have looked at solar as not being a viable resource in our beloved Northeast. 

In many arenas oil is being referred to as the old stuff polluting the atmosphere and causing a good deal of the ‘Global Warming” problem.  Well, maybe it’s time to re-think this position. No, I am not jumping ship here, but I do think we need to look at ways to better serve our customers.  I am referring to solar heating, not for home heating, but for those pools.  Solar heating can do what any other energy source can do, and it’s renewable and non-polluting.

We all know that solar heating for space heating does not work very well in the Northeast.  The sun is much too low in the sky to get any benefit from it.  Solar domestic water heating has the same concern as for heating, but only in the winter, in the summer when the sun raises high in the sky, solar water heating can work fine.  But what about pool heating?  Generally, the residential pool is only being used in the summer months, right?  Well, if your customer has decided not to heat his/her pool due to the economic situation, they are not getting the true benefit of that pool are they?  You may need to remind them of this, and give them an alternative: solar pool heating.

The customer can benefit from free solar energy.  They already have a good portion of the required equipment, the filter and the pump.  All that they need to do is have you install the solar panels on the roof.  Easy enough, no? 

If you haven’t seen the solar pool panels yet, they are not the same as panels for domestic water heating.  Panels for domestic water heating are generally designed for high temperature, and pool panels are designed for much lower temperature, but high volume. Where you benefit is that after the pool water is pumped through the roof collectors, it passes the oil fired pool heater before returning toasty hot water to the pool.  With the pool heater left in service, if the solar panels don’t reach desired temperature, the oil fired pool heater kicks in to make up the difference.

If you do offer this to your customers and handle the communication to them correctly, they may see you as someone who really has their best interests at heart. You are giving them an alternative to fuel oil (well, not really) to allow them to continue to enjoy the lifestyle they have become accustomed to.  Once they have jumped into the cold pool, your job is that much easier.

If you do decide to take on this new venture for your business, you need to be prepared with all the correct tools because not all houses will be suitable for solar pool heating.  One device I have seen used is the ‘Solar Pathfinder.”  This is just one of the programs out there available to you, so you can assure your customer of the success of the installation. 

Check with solar pool panel suppliers in your area for more specific applications available to you.  Before you jump feet first into this, why not simply do a search on the internet on ‘solar pool heating” and get a lot more information. 

You may look like the best professional company your customer deals with, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Let me know how it works out for you.  E-mail me at johngriffin@tampabay.rr.com.


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