Sometimes a swim is all you need to feel rejuvenated after a long and tiring day at work.
However, it may seem like a distant dream for pool owners living in inconsistent and colder climates unless they like taking ice baths. Unfortunately, people can't enjoy swimming in their pools all year-round in most parts of the world, which is a shame because building a pool requires a substantial investment.
For this reason, we have written this comprehensive and informative guide to provide you with some practical solutions to heat your pool. In general, there are three main ways to heat your pool: solar, electric and gas. If implemented properly, they can help you swim every day of the year.
Now, you must be wondering which method is the best out of the three. Well, honestly, each method has its fair share of pros and cons, so it is best to choose a technique based on your requirements.
Without further ado, let's discuss this topic further.
Gas Heating System
Gas heating is one of the most efficient ways to heat your pool. There are two types of gas used in this process - liquid propane gas and natural gas.
You would be pleased to know that gas heaters don't depend on the temperature outside and can function throughout the year. Meaning, they come in handy when you have to heat your pool within a short time.
The mechanism works by sucking water from the pool through its filters and sending it to the heater. Now, the gas burns in the heater's combustion chamber, thereby heating the water, following which the hot water is sent back to the pool.
How Efficient Are Gas Heaters?
The main reason gas heaters are so popular on the market is because they heat the water very fast. This makes gas heaters the perfect choice for pool owners living in colder climates and for those who like heating pools quickly.
However, they are not as efficient as we would like them to be as they operate between 85 and 95% efficiency, in other words, the heater generates thermal units between 85 and 95 for every 100 units of energy produced by gas burning.
Also known as heat pumps, electric heaters utilise the same technology that is present in your air conditioner and fridge, but in reverse. Instead of creating heat, heat pumps use electricity to acquire heat from the atmosphere for heating pool water.
They can work efficiently in colder climates with temperatures as low as 7 degrees Celsius. Therefore, they are an ideal option for those who want to swim in their pools all year-round.
How Efficient Are Electric Heaters?
The efficiency level of electric heaters is measured by COP or coefficient of performance. Needless to say, higher the COP, more efficient the electric heater.
That being said, there is no hard and fast rule of measuring the COP. Hence, it is not possible to compare the COPs of various models unless you are sure that the brands put each product through the same test.
Generally, COP is measured by manufacturers by testing electric heaters in a pool temperature of 80 degrees Celsius and at a similar outdoor temperature. Now, COPs of electric heaters generally range between 3.0 and 7.0, which converts into an efficiency level of 300% and 700%.
In simple words, it means that you get 3-7 units of heat for every unit of electricity, which is fascinating, to say the least. So, it is evident that electric heaters are much more efficient than gas heaters.
As the name suggests, it involves utilising solar energy from the sun to heat the pool's water. It works by passing water through a sequence of rubber tubes placed on your roof, thereby heating the water and returning it to the pool.
First, the mechanism checks the temperature on the roof, compares it to the temperature of the water and then turns the heater on or off accordingly. The process continues until the pool's water reaches the set temperature.
We recommend that solar heating systems are appropriate for those living in areas that experience year-round sunshine and warmth. It can extend the swimming season for up to six months in Australia.
How Efficient Are Solar Heating Systems?
The efficiency of solar heating systems can be checked by the product's thermal performance rating, which is measured in BTU per square (British Thermal Unit per square). A higher BTU value translates to higher heating efficiency.
An efficient system will drastically minimise the annual operating cost of a solar heating system.
Factors To Consider Before Buying A Pool Heating System
These are a few important factors that you should keep in mind to buy the right pool heating system:
Efficiency should be your priority when purchasing a pool heating system.
For instance, even though gas heating is expensive, it can be effective for smaller pools as it heats the pool in a short time. Hence, you are not using it longer than you need which wouldn’t have been the case with a solar heating system or electric heater.
So, in this scenario, a gas heater would be the right choice.
Now, as far as electric heaters are concerned, they are a good option if you have a midsize or large pool. With it, you can heat the pool as per your requirements even though it might take a little longer, but it is way cheaper than gas.
Apart from that, solar heating systems increase the pool temperature by only 7-10 degrees, making them the most efficient heating method in warmer climates.
2. Cost Of Running
Another crucial factor that pool owners often tend to overlook is the cost of running the heating system. A solar heating system is mainly considered the cheapest method as it depends on the sun's energy.
Next comes electric heaters, where you have to consider the cost of electricity. Following electric heaters are gas heaters, which are by far the most expensive option. Also, the cost of running a gas heater depends on the gas prices in your locality.
If you are someone who lives in a cold climate, where there is barely enough sun exposure, choosing a solar heating system may not be appropriate. As mentioned above, a solar heating system will increase the temperature only by a few degrees, which may not be sufficient for colder climates.
So, in this case, you can consider opting for either a gas heater or an electric heater.
Heating Your Swimming Pool
With that, we have come to the end of our informative guide. We hope that it has helped you gain some valuable insights into the most common pool heating systems.
Without a doubt, using an efficient pool heating system is the most effective way to extend your swimming season. Solar heating systems are the most affordable option, but they are only suitable for warmer climates.
On the other hand, electric heaters are suited for medium to large sized pools, whereas gas heaters deliver fast output, making them an ideal option for small pools. Before wrapping up, we would advise you to thoroughly go through the important factors as they will help you make an informed purchase.
So, that's all for now. Until next time, take care!