Mike from Algarve Solar Pool Heating Solutions
-I can't believe people have cold swimming pools that are costing money to run and maintain, but are not being used every day. 
Last updated: 05-01-2023

Catching up with Mike Rumble of Algarve Solar Pool Heating Solutions

Mike is one of those passionate, enthusiastic, well-travelled, well-rounded, very knowledgeable, resourceful and likeable chaps.

Having relocated from Cape Town to the Algarve, his latest businesses in Portugal include Algarve Solar Pool Heating Solutions, Fire Suppression Pool and Golden Age Antique Furniture.  

In his spare time he gives out awards (Art & Tur Jury), wins awards at Algarve Business Awards, and delivers bottles of champagne from the sky.

Mike, your latest most successful business here in Portugal is heating swimming pools. What is your obsession with heating swimming pools in a place as hot as the Algarve? 

-I can't believe people have cold swimming pools that are costing money to run and maintain, but are not being used every day.

-Even more insane is using electricity to heat a pool. Heat pumps seem to be the norm down here. That is literally just watching your money evaporate off your pool all day.

-Infinity pools.. expensive waterfalls…WTAF!

-I read somewhere that the secret to a good business is to find a problem, and solve it!

-So I did. It was either that or getting a goldfish. Goldfish love cold water. 

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How did you get into the swimming pool heating business exactly?

-20 something years old in South Africa I worked with an incredible individual and solar engineer who had a successful solar business based in Johannesburg.

-I used to do sales calls, and over the years got more and more involved. The business grew into one of South Africa’s top solar service companies.

And how is business in the Algarve?

- Can't complain, there seems to be a new wave of property investors moving in, a definite change in seasonality and demand for heated swimming pools.

-It is no longer economical to use electricity or gas to heat swimming pools, and with the 17% reduction in vat on solar installations, there is a massive spike in interest in solar and renewables generally.

-There are lots of cold swimming pools around and I get to go places all over the Algarve, meet people and solve problems. 

You also received an award recently ?

-Yes, we received the Sustainability Award and were runners up in the Best New Business category at the recent Algarve Business Awards.

That is fantastic for a young company such as yours. Congratulations, but let's get to the point. What kind of swimming pool water temperatures are we really talking about here?

-We don't like to quote temperatures as every pool is different, and there are a number of variables.

-Lets just say we had a client phone us and ask us how to cool their pool down in the middle of summer. Their outdoor swimming pool was in the very high 30s at the time!

-In winter, we are talking from mid November when the temperature suddenly drops, to Easter / Spring time, that's difficult.  

-All the heat generated gets lost to the significantly cooler outside air and ground temperatures.  

-It's a constant losing battle no matter how much energy you throw at it.

-In the spring and autumn you really do need a heat retention blanket, in summer not so much.

-28 degrees is the Olympic swimming pool temperature and that is achievable for around 8 or 9 months of the year with any of our solutions.

-More panels doesn't necessarily mean more temperature, it just means quicker warm up times.

-You can always add in a heat pump, and power this with PV,  but solar should always be your primary source of heat for a large body of water.

.Having water too warm is an easier problem to deal with than not enough, it is easier to regulate down than up.

-Our more expensive systems will regulate the temperature automatically, but obviously everything is dependent on conditions, insulation and heat retention.

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Your also have several custom solutions, what are these exactly?

-I`m glad you asked. Have you ever walked on the beach and the sand is too hot to walk on?

-Imagine the paving around your swimming pool absorbing the sun's energy all day, then running piping underneath to extract that energy and putting it straight back into your pool.

-The result is a warm swimming pool and cool paving to walk on. 

-Flip a switch and at night you have a warm patio, and guests night swimming naked in your pool!

-Thinking of resurfacing your pool desk? Why not turn it into a solar collector?

-We have paving integrated photovoltaic panels (PIVP) you can pave your driveway with and generate electricity from.

It all sounds almost too good to be true. Now tell us about your fire pool solution, is this also a South African invention you brought with you to the Algarve?

-The idea actually came about when the South African president at the time had to justify massive public spending on his personal swimming pool.  

-His argument was that it was not a swimming pool, but rather a fire pool. Makes sense right?

-Imagine an incoming fire, strong winds, and a fire brigade some distance away. Your house is unlikely to be their nr 1 priority.

-Before you evacuate you can literally soak your property on the upwind side.

-I've seen too many photos of burnt down houses that have a perfectly good swimming pool full of water right next to it. 

-It is important to make it clear that the equipment we provide cannot be compared with the stuff you can get at the local hardware store.

-We are talking about professional fire fighting equipment that can be ready to go in seconds, giving home owners at least a fighting chance to save their house and valuables. 

-Of course we do not recommend trying to fight a fire yourself, but before you evacuate you can drop a line in your pool, flip some valves and leave knowing you have at least some protection!

You mentioned earlier possible future water restrictions and a solution for that as well?

-Yes, as demand on water infrastructure increases and weather patterns change, water restrictions are inevitable. We believe it will start with restrictions on things like washing your cars, watering gardens, filling swimming pools etc. 

-Now in summer, when it's hot, people have air conditioning running and one of the by-products of air conditioning is as most know, condensation.

-Each air con unit will produce a good amount of condensation every day. The bigger the house the more air con units, the more condensed water dripping away.

-On balance that's right around enough condensed water to compensate for the daily evaporation from your swimming pool.

-And there's me seeing people's air con dripping away onto the pavement. We can and have to stop this waste and it is simpler than many think. 

What other tricks have you got up your sleeve for us?

-Fancy infinity pools and nice sounding water features are detrimental to the situation. Return jets for pools tend to be in the shallow end and pointed to the surface. The trick is to get the warmer water to the deepest parts of the pool, and to insulate or protect the pool from heat loss.  

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-Every situation is different so the best advice I can give is take advantage of our free advice and consultation offer, so thar we can help you take advantage of all energies available to you.

Aside from the obvious benefits of going solar, what are the other benefits of having a heated swimming pool that people don't realise?

-Instead of just paying for a nice looking water feature in the garden, a heated swimming pool will have you jumping in daily.  

-Your kids will be wanting their birthday pool-parties at home, your grandkids will love coming over for a swim, dinner parties will end with guests night swimming. Naked if you’re lucky!

-A low impact activity that improves flexibility, swimming is known to be one of the best forms of total body workouts and cardiovascular exercises there is.  

-And since it is zero gravity, swimming is great for the elderly or recovering from injury or when rebuilding muscle after surgery.  

-Diving into water and swimming is also therapeutic in immeasurable ways. A form of meditation, an escape from the world that puts a smile on your face.

-A warm swimming pool is a welcoming thing. For sure you are much more likely to swim more often and longer, if your pool is warm!

-Add to that a once off installation cost, zero additional running cost, 20 + years of enjoyment, increased property value and rentability, and a completely silent system. 

Need I say more? Happiness is a warm swimming pool!

We thank Mike for taking the time to catch up with us, and making us realise that there is a lot more we can do to save both water and energy. If you would like Mike to help you, start by booking a free consultation with mike@algarvesolarpoolheating.com

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