Your pool is a big investment. At best, many of us only get 50% of the year to use it. How to heat your pool to extend your swim season, will essentially come down to answering the following 3 questions:
- How will I use my pool in the cooler months?
- How much can I afford in running costs?
- How much do I want to impact the environment?
When it comes to pool heating there are 3 main options for consideration.
Solar heating will prove the least expensive in running costs and will have the least impact on the environment. However, it will be impacted by the weather as it relies on radiant heat and is affected by the presence of cloud and wind.
Solar heating is popular due to its low running costs & it’s fairly low set up costs. Typically water is pumped to a Collector (generally stored on a roof) which is heated by the solar and then returned to the pool at a warmer temperature. Read more to see how a solar system is set up.
A heat pump will prove more expensive to run than solar, with a greater impact on greenhouse emissions but it does allow you to have a warm pool all year round regardless of the impending weather. While it does take a few days for the pump to heat the water to your desired temperature once reached it has an auto temperature control to maintain the warmth.
Using an inverted heat pump and connecting to off-peak electricity can both help to make the heat pump a relatively low cost option for pool heating. Higher efficiency will be achieved in more temperate locations because of the way in which they work. Find out how a heat pump works
Gas heating is another pool heating option and has its place particularly when you need your pool heated quickly for only a short period of time i.e. for an event or get together. Gas heating offers the advantage of heating a pool up to 14 degrees Celsius higher in just 24 hours. So if you don’t need to heat your pool for longer periods of time but only specific times or days then gas heating may prove the smarter choice for you. You can find more information on gas heating here.
Pool Covers will help make any pool heating option more efficient. In fact AES illustrates the savings you can make by covering your pool here. Note that this data is slightly old now and based on data for South East Queensland but it does clearly demonstrate the importance of using a pool cover to save energy and money. In fact it is now mandatory that a pool cover be used if you use a heat pump or gas heating (source: http://sunbather.com.au/downunder/)
SPASA has a very useful guide about Pool Efficiency where you can read more to help make decisions about heating your pool based on your needs and budget.