To enjoy your swimming pool to the fullest, it’s important to be able to regulate pool temperature. A pool heater can help you do this as it ensures your pool stays warm enough to swim in even during the coldest months.
Benefits of pool heating
Beyond the obvious function of a pool heater, there are other benefits from having a device you can use to control pool temperature.
- Extended usability: By having a pool heater, you are essentially extending the duration for which you can use your swimming pool each year. Instead of being able to use it for only three to four months of the year, you may be able to extend its use to significantly more than that. Pool heating means more time to bond with your family, play pool games, exercise, and hold pool parties with friends.
- Health benefits: Water tends to be warmer in the area where the sun’s rays hit it. So you may discover, rather unpleasantly, that the rest of the water is actually a few degrees cooler when you dive in. With a pool heater, you can regulate pool water temperature and keep it consistent. This is especially important when you’re using your swimming pool for therapeutic reasons. With a pool you can keep pleasantly warm, you can continue using it for exercise and reap the health benefits of swimming. Keeping your pool comfortably heated also means you can simply stay in the water for longer, enjoying its beneficial effects on the respiratory system and its anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Relaxation: Even in the colder months, with a well-heated pool, you can enjoy the water. You can go for a relaxing dip or simply get comfortable as you float on the pool and decompress.
So, if you’re already convinced about how useful and essential a pool heater is for your swimming pool, we can now move on to a discussion on the different pool heaters, and the pros and cons of each.
Types of pool heaters
When it comes to pool heating, there are three basic types of heaters that are popularly used. These are solar-powered, gas-controlled and electrical heaters.
Choosing from among the three may not be so easy, especially if you don’t know much about pool heaters. To help you out, here’s some helpful information to help you make an informed decision.
1. Solar heaters
The most popular heating equipment in Australia is solar-powered heaters. Highly favoured for being an eco-friendly, sustainable alternative, solar heaters harness the sun’s energy, so these work best in spots where there is maximum sun exposure. This helps ensure that your pool has a reliable, consistent source of heat to keep it pleasantly warm even during the colder months. Solar heaters are also the least expensive type to operate, and they guarantee a reduction in your electricity bills.
For maximum sun exposure, the solar collectors should be positioned on your rooftop’s southern section. With a solar heater, you’ll have a solar pump that works to siphon water through a tube network that returns the heated water back into the pool. A solar heater can increase pool temperature by as much as 2°C during bright and sunny days.
Solar heating systems work best in regions where there’s a lot of sunshine for the greater part of the year. This will help you maximise the use of a solar heater, and ensure you have a reliable water heating source for longer each year. With a virtually unlimited energy resource, you can save a lot in terms of utility bills by opting for a solar heater. Solar heating systems are also durable and long-lasting, making them a sound investment for a sustainable smart pool.
Cons: Although solar heaters come with a lot of benefits, there are also a few limitations you’ll need to work around. Since they are solar-powered, it usually takes longer for solar collectors to absorb solar energy when it’s cloudy. It can take four to six hours of maximum sun exposure before your system can properly heat up your pool.
Solar heaters require very little maintenance once installed. However, if yours appears to have stopped warming up the pool water, you may need to get the components checked and cleaned.
2. Gas pumps
A gas pump is a reliable and effective piece of water heating equipment. There’s no need to depend on the sun or air temperature (as in the case of electrical heaters) to heat your pool. They can also heat up a pool quickly. Depending on the size of the pool, a gas system can get it adequately heated up in less than an hour.
Gas heaters are also the preferred choice for spa pools as these used for hydrotherapy; therefore, they need to be kept at just the right temperature consistently. So if you plan on having a spa-pool combination, a gas pool heating system may be the most suitable choice.
Cons: At the outset, the most obvious con for gas heaters would be the fact that they run on fossil fuels or unclean energy. Gas is not a sustainable resource and goes against green practices; it’s also expensive. Some pool owners use a gas pump installed to serve as a backup for their solar heater. This may be a practical combo that will be useful during cloudy days when your solar heater doesn’t have enough stored solar energy to heat up your pool.
3. Electric heaters
Heat pumps are another popular choice among Australian pool owners. Electric pool heating works by collecting heat from the surrounding air, and running this over an evaporator coil and a heat exchanger. This warms the water running through it, which then goes into the pool.
This method of reusing energy from the atmosphere makes heat pumps a savvy choice for pool heating. Compared to gas pumps, electric heaters are a cost-effective pool heating alternative. Also, if you live in an area that does not get adequate sunlight for most of the year, heat pumps may be a preferred choice over solar heaters. Heat pumps aren’t affected by cloudy weather, as all they need to run is an electrical power source and air. Heat pumps can also heat up a pool more quickly compared to solar heaters.
Cons: One disadvantage to using a heat pump is that you’ll need a minimum of a 40-amp breaker to run it. This not only means you’ll need a lot of electrical power to use one, but also that it’s not really an eco-friendly solution.
So, which type of pool heater should you choose?
In making a decision to get a pool heater, there are some factors that you need to consider to ensure you are making the right investment. These include:
- Frequency of use: If you intend to maximise the use of your pool, a solar heater is clearly the best choice, especially if you live in a region that gets a lot of sun most of the year. But if you plan to use your pool occasionally or only on weekends, a gas heater may make better sense, as it heats on-demand. Also, heat pumps and solar heaters are more expensive upfront, so occasional pool use may not justify the expense of installing either type.
- Your budget: Prior to making your selection, consider not only the installation expenses but also your long-term budget. For a gas pump, you’ll need to think of your fuel requirements. For electric heat pumps, you’ll need to consider electricity consumption. Solar heaters require a substantial initial outlay, but they are a cost-effective choice in the long run, and also eco-friendly.
- Pool size: Remember that pool size affects your heating requirements. A larger pool needs to be heated at a constant temperature, and so it requires the support of an efficient and stable heating system. In this instance, heat pumps and gas heaters may prove more reliable. Again, your location and the climate will play a role in your decision.
- Logistical concerns: There are practical considerations to be made whether you choose to have a solar, electric or gas-powered heater. For example, you need to factor in the cost of running a line (based on the distance) between the gas metre and the heater if you want a gas pump. For a heat pump, you need to ensure you have enough power to support it. Else, you’ll need to get an electrician to install a dedicated line from the main panel. Solar heaters, on the other hand, work best when the solar panels are located close to the pool equipment. This way, you’ll need less piping work, reducing your setup costs.
Ask the Experts at Local Pools & Spas
Choosing the best pool heater goes beyond finding the cheapest product out there. Other factors should be taken into account during the decision-making process, including your lifestyle or personal needs, as well as practical and technical considerations.
Local Pools & Spas specialises in fabricating and installing fibreglass pools. However, our industry expertise means you can also consult us regarding any of your pool-related concerns, including pool heating.
So, if you have questions about pools and need our professional input, please contact us. It’ll be our pleasure to assist you with your swimming pool needs.