If you own a swimming pool you know the joys associated with it. You may use it to teach your children to swim, hold an annual neighborhood party, or spend endless romantic evenings with a loved one. Regardless of what you’ve used it for, swimming pools are always better when the water is just a little bit warmer. There are a variety of ways to keep your pool warm and each comes with its own pros, cons, and costs.
Swimming Pool Gas Heaters
Gas heaters are more popular in places with colder climates. They are powered by either propane or natural gas, heat water faster than other methods, and work better in low temperatures than heat pumps. A gas heater may sound like the ideal heater, but there are some drawbacks.
While they may be incredibly efficient at heating water, gas heaters are the least energy efficient option. Since energy efficiency dramatically impacts the cost of running a pool heater, gas heaters can cost anywhere between $300 and $500 per month to operate. Before you decide monthly cost isn’t an problem, it’s also important to note that gas heaters have a lifespan of about 5 years before they need replacing, which adds another $1500 to $2000 to the cost.
Air-Source Heat Pumps
In contrast to gas pool heaters, air-source heat pumps offer an energy efficient way to heat your pool water. Air-source heat pumps operate by transferring heat from the air to the water by way of a coil filled with a refrigerant fluid such as freon. This energy efficient process generally costs about $50 to $150 per month to operate, and the unit itself can last up to 20 years with proper maintenance. As a high efficiency option, air-source heat pumps are also more environmentally friendly than gas heaters.
Water-Source (Geothermal) Heat Pumps
A fairly new technology, geothermal heat pumps operate by transferring heat from water sources such as lakes, wells, and ponds to swimming pool water, by way of an evaporator coil. Geothermal heat pumps are very energy efficient, have a very long lifespan, are environmentally friendly, can be installed indoors or outdoors, and can also be used to heat the water in your home. While geothermal heat pumps sound like the best solution for heating a pool, they do come with a heavy initial price tag, which involves digging a large well if water source isn’t available, and running long water lines.
An Affordable Solar Blanket
Using a solar blanket is one of the most common ways of heating a pool, either on its own or in addition to another heat source. A solar blanket uses the heat from the sun to warm pool water and reduce the amount evaporation, which is a major reason for heat loss. As there are no associated monthly costs, solar blankets are affordable and environmentally friendly pool heating options. When combined with other heating methods a solar blanket will offset it’s own initial cost in no time by increasing the efficiency of a gas heater, heat pump, or another heating source. Depending on wear and tear, a solar blanket can last up to 20 years before it needs replacing.
The Joy of Warm Pool Water
Whether you want to spend a lot or very little on heating your pool, increasing the average water temperature makes swimming, and spending time with family and friends that much more enjoyable. At the very least a solar blanket can provide limited heating at a fairly low cost, while a gas heat pump provides an expensive but fast heating option.