In-ground pool owners looking for a way to keep the water nice and toasty during these chilly fall days have the choice of either Heat Pumps, Solar Heaters and Gas Pool Heaters.
Heat Your Pool with the Ambient Air Temperature
Pool Heat pumps: Warms the water in your pool with or without sun, and for half the cost of natural gas or propane. A heat pump uses electricity to operate, to draw in warm air and convert it to warm water. Heat pumps themselves do not actually generate any heat on their own. They work like an air conditioner in reverse (and they kind of look like one, too). Your existing pool pump circulates water through the heat pump to absorb the heat taken from the ambient outside air.
Heat pumps work most effectively as long as the temperature outside remains above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, it might not be the best route to go if you live in a northern snowbelt region.
For the rest of the country however, heat pumps can easily add a 20 degree increase in your pool water temperature! The advantage of using a heat pump is that they are highly efficient, have no emissions and are very reliable. They operate very cheaply, but the cooler it is outside the more energy it will use.
Initially, heat pump pool heaters cost more than gas pool heaters, but they have much lower annual operating costs because of higher efficiency. Heat pumps are a great option for pool owners in areas such as Texas and California, with low NOx / environmental mandates. In Florida, they are the most popular inground pool heating option.
Heat pumps must be installed outdoors, and they are wired for a 220 volt electric hook-up, requiring a 30-60 amp breaker.
Heat Your Pool with the Power of the Sun
Solar Pool Heaters: If you’re looking for some extra warmth without the added cost of natural gas or propane, a solar heating system may be right for you. To determine whether this heating method will be effective for your pool, check your pool against these 3 best practices.
2. The area you intend to lay the panels should have unobstructed sun for at least 6 hours per day.
3. Needs an area at least half the size of your pool’s surface area, located close to your pump.
For best results on inground solar pool heaters, use a solar controller to maximize heat absorption. With the use of two temperature sensors (one measures the panel temperature and the other measures water temps), the controller can maintain your desired temperature dial setting.
The way a solar pool heater works is the solar panels absorb the sun’s heat throughout the day (think of how hot asphalt gets during summertime) and disperses that heat directly to your water by pumping the pool water slowly through the panels. For an in ground pool, these panels can be installed on a roof or on a rack.
With a solar pool heater, you can easily gain a 15 degree increase in your pool water temperature. The more panels you have, the greater the heat. The only downside is that you may not get much heat during cloudy or rainy days, and there is no guarantee of heat. For a complete solar system, the cost is on par with the cost of a gas pool heater. However, all the heat after the installation is free since you do not have to spend additional money on electricity or gas. In the long run, solar is the most economical way to heat your inground pool.
Heat Your Pool with Gas
Gas Pool Heaters: There are many different models of heaters that specifically work with either natural gas or propane gas. In order to determine what gas model is best for you, ask yourself these four questions:
- Will it be installed with natural gas or propane? (Propane cannot be installed indoors!)
- Do you prefer an electronic spark or millivolt ignition? Electronic spark uses electricity to spark and light the burner tray when needed, while millivolt systems use a constant pilot light to light the burner tray when needed.
- Do you have an attached spa?
- What size is your pool, in gallons?
The advantage to a gas-powered heater is that you are guaranteed heat no matter what the weather is like. Considering the cost of gas, you may spend a lot on gas, depending on how you use the gas heater. The initial price range for a gas-powered heater is less than a heat pump, and usually more than a solar pool heater.
You will get the largest temperature increase with a gas-powered heater, as much as an additional 30 degrees F. It is recommended that a professional come out and install your gas heater for you. Installation can be quite complex, with plumbing, gas and electric involved.
Sometimes buying a heating system for your pool can be confusing when there are so many different options available, each with their own pros and cons! If you have any questions on what heating method would be best for your pool, give us a call Anytime at 1-800-288-7946
InTheSwim Staff Blogger