Solar Pool Heating Water Temperature Sensor

How a Solar Pool Heating Automation System (Controller) Works

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A solar pool heating controller automatically turns a valve using a motorized actuator. It is the best way to maximize solar pool heating performance and provide convenience. Most pool automation systems have solar pool heating control built in, so you don’t have to buy a separate controller. Solar controllers can be simple thermostat-style controllers or can have advanced features to automate other pool equipment. Learn more below about how a solar pool heating controller works.

Here is a list of some popular solar controllers and pool automation systems that include solar control:

  • Pentair SunTouch
  • Pentair SolarTouch
  • Pentair EasyTouch
  • Pentair IntelliTouch
  • Hayward GL-235
  • Hayward OnCommand
  • Hayward AquaLogic
  • Hayward ProLogic
  • Hayward E-Command 4
  • Hayward AquaPlus
  • Hayward OmniLogic
  • Jandy Aqualink
  • HelioTrope HelioMatic

You can also learn more about how a solar pool heating system works here.


  1. I want to get a solar controller for my solar pool heater, but can I add it after it is already installed? Do you need to put a new valve? I have one speed pump now and might decide to get a variable speed in the future. What can I do?

    1. Author

      Hi Salvatore,

      Yes, you can add a solar controller after your solar pool heating system is already installed. Your installer will have included a bypass valve, also known as a Jandy valve (for the popular brand). A motorized actuator can be screwed to the valve after four of the eight existing screws and handle are removed. The actuator will connect to your new controller and turn the valve based on the need for solar heating.

      As for the pump, I recommend installing automation products compatible with the pump brand you are considering. For example, a Pentair Intelliflo VS pump will work best with a Pentair SolarTouch, SunTouch, Intellitouch, EasyTouch, etc. That’s not to say that other automation products can’t control the Intelliflo, but there may be an interface module required. Some brands of automation natively control other brands of pump. For example, the Jandy Aqualink controller (with newer firmware versions) will control the Pentair Intelliflo with a digital interface cable and no intermediate module required.

      I hope that helps!

  2. I am buying a new solar system and 2 different dealers are offering me the same panels but different solar controllers. One is offering a Hayward Aqua Solar automatic thermostat complete with set up. GL235 control and the other is offering a Solar Touch by Pentair.

    Which one is better or are the equivalent. Thanks

    1. Author

      For a few bucks more, go with the digital SolarTouch. It can natively control a Pentair variable speed pump later if you decide to upgrade. The GL235 is a basic control with an analog temperature dial.

      1. Thanks

        Both do the same but one is digital and the other is analog? That is difference?

        If I want to move to a variable speed pump next year can they both handle that?

        1. Author

          The GL235 does not have Digital pump control, so it can only command 1 speed of an analog pump like the Hayward Ecostar. You will not be able to select a third speed with the Hayward pump for things like cleaning the pool. That is why I prefer the Pentair controller and pump.

          Otherwise, they do essentially the same thing. we offer both, but rarely sell a GL235. Both are quality products.

        2. Author

          By the way, it is pretty rare to have two dealers for the same brand of solar panels in a single territory. Can I ask what market you are located in?

          1. You asked what market it is Tampa/ Land o lakes area

  3. Author

    Mitchell: Thanks – I recommend you call Coast to Coast Solar if they are not already one of the dealers. They will probably tell you to go with the SolarTouch. It really depends on your future plans. When you go to replace your single speed pump you are going to be forced by building code to upgrade to a multi-speed or variable speed pump, so making your control compatible with your future plans is key.

  4. Is it possible to add second sensor for solar control? The sun gets passed the sensor but it’s still on the panels but it turns off, I’m missing a lot of precious Soler Heat.

    1. Author

      Not possible. You can relocate the sensor or adjust the start/stop differentials.

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