Best Way To Heat a Pool ~ An ice-cold bath isn’t really a relaxing way to unwind, and it goes the same for swimming in a cold pool. The solution? Pool heaters.
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There are different ways to heat a pool. However, not all methods are made equal. All types of pool-heating systems have their own good and bad. It’s for you to decide which ones you’re willing to work with.
Benefits To Heating Your Swimming Pool
There’s a reason why heated pools are becoming a thing in the U.S. Take a look at some of the main advantages of having one at home.
Warm water stimulates blood flow, can ease pain, and make the joints looser. It takes out the pent up tension in your body, which is useful especially after a hard day’s work.
Don’t mistake warm water for hot, though. While pool-heating systems have adjustable temperatures, going too far may do the opposite and may put a strain on your heart. The recommended temperature limit is 100˚F, according to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission.
People nowadays are so engrossed with the hustle culture that resting is not an option. The only acceptable form of rest you can afford with time? An occasional trip to the spa or just simply a long, hot shower.
This is no coincidence, though. A simple, hot shower is found to be a relaxing activity by many. And, it’s backed by science! It’s a well-known fact that warm water alleviates blood pressure. It can ease muscles and give you that soothing feeling.
With a heated swimming pool, you can use finally use it all-day-long and all year round. After all, the point of getting a swimming pool for most households is to enjoy it, right?
Night swims can be such an inconvenience during cold seasons. But with a heating system, that wouldn’t be a problem at all.
Heated pool systems can add monetary value to your home just like in-ground pools.
The value of your property can potentially increase by about 8% to 15% just for the mere presence of your heated pool.
Types Of Pool Heaters
You can heat a swimming pool in different ways. However, it’s best to familiarise yourself with all of them to know which one can bring the best bang for your buck.
Here they are below:
- Electric heat pump
Solar Pool Heater
A solar pool heating system consists of two main components: a team of solar panels (or collectors) and a pool pump. They provide pool heat by absorbing thermal energy from the sun.
How does it work?
Let’s get down to the technicalities:
- The pool pump gets to work, allowing cold water to flow through the pipes
- Coldwater eventually reaches the solar collector and circulates around it
- Heat is eventually transferred to the water
- Heated water travels through the pipes and returns back to the pool
It’s a pretty straightforward process. However, heat travels slowly through a solar heating system. Out of all the pool heating systems, this method is the slowest to do its job.
You have to wait about a whole day for a solar pool system to heat a swimming pool. That is if all the conditions are right. The sun must be out and shining. When it’s not, and you see clouds blocking sunlight, your pool will not likely heat up.
- Unlimited resource (sunlight)
- Long lifespan (can last for decades)
- High initial cost
- Slow heating process
- Will not work in the winter unless you live in a sunny area
- Requires a wide working area to lay the solar panels flat
The good thing about solar pool heaters is their free energy resource. You don’t have to pay the sun for providing you with light and heat.
When getting a solar pool system, you do need to pay for the following:
- Installation – $3,000 minimum
- Monthly fee (pool pump) – $50 to $200
If you consider their durability and monthly costs, solar pool heaters prove to be cost-efficient in the long run. Solar panels can last you up to 20 years before giving out.
Electric Heat Pump
The most popular of all pool heating systems is the electric heat pump, thanks to its efficiency.
How does it work?
Instead of generating heat, it sucks in the heat around its environment. The more humid the area, the more effective the heat pump.
The flow of a heat pump:
- Electricity flows through the heater, allowing the fan to spin and operate
- The fan pulls ambient air, leading it to the evaporating coil
- Warm air combines with the refrigerant in the evaporating coil, producing warm gas
- The warm gas reaches the heater’s compressor, condensing it into hot gas
- Hot gas and water flows through a titanium tubing, gradually creating heated water
- Water is released and flows back to the pool
Even at 55˚F, a heat pump can still manage to absorb a decent amount of heat for the swimming pool. Because they take from renewable energy, electric pool pumps are also an economical way to heat your swimming pool.
- Highly efficient
- Low monthly costs
- Long lifespan
- Temperature-dependent, cannot operate below 50˚F
- High initial cost
You’ll need to shell out at least a few thousand dollars to get an entry-level heat pump. If you want a top-quality one, and you should expect to pay at least $2,500 to $4,500.
On top of that, you’ll need to pay an additional $400 – $500 for professional installation.
Do not forget your monthly fees which can range from $50 to $100. Of all pool-heating systems, an electric heat pump is the most cost-effective system.
Gas Pool Heater
When it comes to sheer performance, a gas pool heater reigns supreme. It’s the fastest-heating of all systems, making it perfect for those urgently needing to dive in anytime.
How does it work?
Unlike solar panels and heat pumps, a gas heater generates its own heat through combustion.
Inside the workings of a gas heater, these things happen:
- Depending on the model, the heater is powered through either propane or natural gas
- The combustion chamber is heated
- Water travels through the combustion chamber, heating the water
- Heated water travels back to the pool
- Top-notch heating performance
- Heats quickly
- Operates independently, not affected by weather
- Can heat pools all-year-round no problem
- Not quite eco-friendly
- Low initial cost, high maintenance cost
- A short lifespan (5 years)
A seasoned pool owner can DIY a pool heater installation. However, it’s recommended you hire a professional to do it if you’re still learning the ropes.
Here are the expenses:
- Heater – $1,500 – $1,700
- Installation – $400 – $500
- Monthly fee – $200 – $400
Bonus: Solar Covers
While not exactly a pool-heating system, solar covers do add efficiency to heating a pool.
No matter your heating system, whether you’re using a heater or solar energy, you can use a solar cover to amplify the heat if you want to.
How does it work?
In essence, solar covers trap heat to help maintain a higher temperature for your pool.
Notice how your pool is warmer on sunny days, and colder during icy weather. This means that swimming pools also absorb heat.
Unfortunately, if you want to retain the heat, you need to do something about it. Why? Because even a small gust of wind can reduce the temperature of your pool water.
Enter the solar cover.
Don’t mistake it for a normal cover, though. While it’s a sheet made to cover the entirety of the pool, it’s also packed with UV resistant plastic.
Simply put, the solar cover traps heat and transfers it to the pool water.
Is it necessary?
If you’re all about efficiency, a solar pool cover is perfect for you. Even a heated swimming pool is not safe from evaporation.
As much as possible, a practical pool owner who only wishes to have a well-heated pool would want to invest in a solar pool cover. That way, evaporation can be minimized. Plus, you’ll save money that way by conserving heat in your pool.
Which Should You Choose: Solar, Gas, Or Heat Pump?
If you live in an eternally cold climate, a gas-powered heater may be the most optimal for you. Why? Simply because solar pool systems and heat pumps are highly dependent on weather and climate.
Gas pool heaters also work perfectly for those who like to swim on a whim. All you need to do is power the heater, and you’re good to go.
Pool and spa combinations also benefit the most from gas pool heaters.
If you prefer using the pool almost every day, an electric heat pump will be perfect for you, provided you have the right climate. It can even be used all year long if you live in a place such as Texas or Louisiana.
For places such as Virginia, you can extend your swimming pool season for up to two months with an electric heat pump.
Lastly, a solar heat-powered pool may be perfect for you if you’re an advocate for going green. Apart from that, if you only find yourself swimming during hot summer days, a solar heating system might be what you want to get.