As one of the products manufactured by FAFCO, the nation’s oldest manufacturer of solar heat collectors, the SunGrabber system comes with a credible background. Unlike other solar pool heaters in its class, which promise to raise pool temperatures up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the SunGrabber system claims that it will raise water temperature by at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
A SunGrabber system can significantly reduce the costs associated with heating your pool, reducing fossil fuel usage by as much as 50%. This is a pretty good bargain, when you consider the total system costs only about $150. While this is more expensive than some products, it’s still less expensive than others.
However, at this low price, don’t expect the SunGrabber to be able to heat a pool more than 16′ round pool. For owners of small pools, this is a great product. For owners of larger pools, you should consult the SunGrabber sizing chart on their website before making a purchase, or consider a different solar pool heating system.
Economy and Deluxe Versions
Not unlike the SunHeater and EZ Heat systems, the SunGrabber uses “solar panels” to collect heat from the sun, using your pool’s water pump to pump cold water into the system and warm water back into the pool.
The economy system has a 2′ x 20′ solar collector designed for above-ground pools looking for a little bit of extra heat and extended swimming season. The deluxe system includes two or more of these 2′ x 20′ collectors. In both cases, a diverter valve is not included – these must be purchased separately, meaning that the system runs whenever the pool pump operates.
The Bottom Line
There’s nothing unique or special about the SunGrabber solar heater system – it operates in virtually the exact same way as SunHeater, EZ Heat, and other systems of comparable price and results. It provides a good service for a good price, and comes with the FAFCO name attached, a respected industry leader in solar water heating and solar pool heating.
Like other solar pool heaters, SunGrabber will definitely be a less expensive way to extend your pool’s swimming season than an electric-powered or gas-powered pool heating system. Typically, the cost of a solar pool heating system is only the cost of the pool pump itself, which hovers between $30 and $75 per month to run. However, the SunGrabber is not particularly better than other products: generally it is no better and no worse than similar products in its class.