How Many Solar Rings Do I Need for My Pool?

By Kami Turky


Solar rings are now becoming a popular choice among pool owners seeking eco-friendly heating solutions. 

They harness the sun’s radiant energy, floating on the pool’s surface and absorbing sunlight to warm the water beneath. 

However, to ensure optimal heating, you need to know how to calculate the number of rings required for your pool’s size and shape.

On average, you need around one solar ring for every 25 square feet of pool surface.

In this guide, I’ll walk you step by step to calculate the exact number of solar rings you’ll need, taking into account various factors like pool shape and pool size.

Key Takeaways

  • To calculate the number of solar rings for your pool, first measure its surface area, taking into account whether it’s rectangular, circular, oval, or irregular.
  • To achieve effective heating, aim to cover 70-80% of the pool’s surface with the solar rings.
  • To determine the exact number of rings, divide the targeted coverage area by the surface area covered by a single solar ring.
  • To maximize heating efficiency, spread the solar rings evenly, ensure they slightly overlap, and position them in areas with direct sunlight.

How to Calculate the Number of Solar Rings for My Pool?

1. Measure Your Pool’s Surface Area

The first thing you need to do is determine the total surface area of your pool. This is essential as it dictates how many solar rings you’ll require for optimal heating.

For rectangular or square pools, the surface area is ascertained by multiplying the length by the width. 

Let’s say you have a rectangular pool that measures 20 feet in length and 10 feet in width. The calculation would be:

Area = length x width = 20 x 10 = 200 square feet.

For circular pools, the approach is slightly different. The formula for the surface area is:

Area = pi r^2,

where r represents the radius of the pool. If your circular pool has a radius of 10 feet, the calculation would be:

Area = pi x 10^2 = 314.16 square feet (rounded to two decimal places).

Oval pools have a distinct formula. The surface area is determined by:

Area = pi x a x b,

where ‘a’ and ‘b’ are the semi-major and semi-minor axes, respectively (essentially half the lengths of the longest and shortest diameters). 

For instance, if you have an oval pool with a long diameter of 30 feet and a short diameter of 20 feet, the calculation would be:

Area = pi x 15 x 10 = 471.24 square feet (rounded to two decimal places).

If your pool boasts an irregular shape, you might need to break it down into more familiar geometric shapes.

You can calculate the area for each segment, and then combine those figures to get the total surface area. 

I have an irregular-shaped pool in my backyard. To determine its surface area, I divided it into a rectangle and a semi-circle. 

The rectangle measures 15 feet by 10 feet, giving an area of 150 square feet. The semi-circle, with a radius of 8 feet, has an area of approximately 100.53 square feet

Thus, by adding these two areas together, my pool’s total surface area is roughly 250.53 square feet

2. Determine the Coverage Needed

Now, we’ve established how to calculate the surface area of various pool shapes. The next step is to determine the coverage needed for the solar rings. 

It’s not always practical or necessary to cover every inch of your pool with solar rings. Typically, for effective heating, covering 70-80% of your pool’s surface is recommended. 

This percentage ensures optimal heat absorption while allowing some space for the water to breathe and for easy removal and placement of the rings.

In my case, for example, with a pool surface area of 250.53 square feet, I aimed for 80% coverage to ensure optimal heating. 

To determine the exact coverage area, I used the formula:

Coverage Area = Total Pool Surface Area x Desired Percentage.

For my pool, the calculation was:

Coverage Area = 250.53 x 0.8 = 200.42 square feet.

So, I’d need to cover approximately 200.42 square feet of my pool with solar rings to achieve the desired heating effect.

3. Calculate the Number of Rings

Once you’ve determined the desired coverage area, the final step is to calculate the number of solar rings required. 

This is based on the coverage area of each individual solar ring. Let’s assume one solar ring covers 25 square feet

To find out how many rings are needed, you’d divide the desired coverage area by the area of one ring:

Number of Solar Rings = Coverage Area / Area of One Solar Ring

For my pool, the calculation was:

Number of Solar Rings = 200.42 / 25 = 8.01696

Given that you can’t have a fraction of a solar ring, I would need 9 solar rings to achieve close to the desired 80% coverage for my pool.

It’s worth noting that while the math provides a guideline, practical considerations might mean you round up or down when purchasing.

For instance, if solar rings are sold in sets of 5, you might choose to buy 10 or even 15, depending on other factors like budget or storage space. 

How to Properly Place and Maintain Solar Rings?

To properly place and maintain solar rings, you can follow this simple guide:

1. Proper Placement

  • Spread Them out Evenly: When placing solar rings on your pool, ensure they are spread out evenly across the surface to ensure maximum sun exposure and optimal heating.
  • Overlap Slightly: If your pool requires multiple solar rings, it’s a good idea to overlap them slightly. This prevents gaps where heat can escape and ensures a more uniform temperature across the pool.
  • Avoid Shaded Areas: For maximum efficiency, place the solar rings in areas of your pool that receive direct sunlight. Avoid placing them under shaded areas or where they might be blocked by trees or structures.

2. Maintenance

  • Regular Cleaning: Over time, solar rings can accumulate dirt, leaves, and other debris, so you need to clean them regularly to maintain their efficiency. Use a soft brush or cloth and mild soapy water to gently scrub the surface. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water afterward.
  • Check for Damage: Periodically inspect your solar rings for any signs of wear, tear, or damage. If a ring becomes punctured or starts to deflate, it’s best to replace it to ensure it continues to function correctly.
  • Store Them Properly: If you’re not using the solar rings, especially during the off-season, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Before storing, make sure they are clean and dry to prevent mold or mildew growth.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: When cleaning your pool or adding chemicals, it’s a good idea to remove the solar rings. Some pool chemicals can be harsh and might damage the material of the solar rings or reduce their efficiency.


Do Solar Rings Heat a Pool?

Solar Rings heat a pool by absorbing sunlight and converting it into thermal energy, which is then transferred to the water, raising its temperature. 

How Long Do Solar Pool Rings Last?

Solar pool rings typically last 3-7 years, depending on maintenance and usage.

How Do You Use Solar Pool Rings?

To use solar pool rings, simply spread them evenly across the pool’s surface and position them in areas with maximum sunlight exposure for optimal heating.


As promised, we’ve covered the essentials of determining the number of solar rings needed for your pool. 

We’ve also delved into the proper placement and maintenance of these rings to ensure optimal heating.

If you ask for my advice, I’d recommend investing in high-quality solar rings with UV-resistant features. Over time, cheaper variants might degrade under intense sunlight, losing their efficiency.

Do you still have questions? If so, feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll try my best to answer.

Kami Turky

Kami is a solar engineer with nearly a decade of experience in researching, testing, and reviewing various solar products. He has also provided technical consultation to several organizations on the best ways to incorporate solar energy into their operations. When he’s not busy helping others find the best solar solutions, Kami enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, and exploring the natural wonders of his home state.

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