Adding a Pool Heater: What to Know
August 08, 2016 at 12:36 PM
There's nothing more refreshing than a cool dip in a pool on a hot summer day. However, at night or on a sunless day, that water temperature can turn chilly. Fortunately, there's an easy solution: just add heat.
A pool heater can be one of the best investments you make for your swimming pool. Heaters maintain your preferred pool temperature, and make the water more comfortable. In four-season regions, there's no need to close up the pool on Labor Day a pool heater extends the swimming season from three months to almost six months by providing warm water in the spring and fall. In some areas, you can even swim year-round.
If you're considering adding a pool heater, below is some information to get you up to speed on the the different pool heater types.
Gas heater. Much like heating your home, a gas heater uses natural gas or propane to function. As water filters through an exchanger, the gas burns in a combustion chamber, transferring the heat to the water and pushing it back out to the pool. Today's gas heaters have improved significantly when it comes to energy efficiency, with some offering up to 95 percent efficiency ratings. There are also gas heaters that produce low-NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions, which makes heating more environmentally friendly. Many gas heaters can be connected to a smartphone app, allowing you to turn on the pool heater from inside your home, office, car, or wherever you may be. A pool specialist can help you select a heater based on the following criteria:
- Pool size
- Desired temperature
- Temperature of coldest month for use
Solar heater. What's a more efficient way to heat a pool than with the sun itself? A solar heater harnesses the power of the sun's rays through a collection panel and then pushes the heat out into the water through the filter and pump. The upfront cost of a solar heater is competitive with other heaters, but is more energy-efficient and has low annual operating costs. Solar pool collectors come in two ways: glazed and unglazed. Glazed is preferred when you live in a wintry climate as it protects the glass in icy temperatures, but unglazed costs less and is sufficient for hot-weather climates.
To install a solar heater, you'll have to consider several factors. First and foremost, you'll have to check if you even receive enough sunlight to make the solar heater feasible. If you do, you'll have to determine where you'll place the solar collectors – on the roof, likely, but in a direction that captures the most sun. Lastly, you'll need to check with your local building codes before you have collectors installed. Typically, a pool owner works with a solar heater expert to determine proper purchase and installation.
Heat pump. A heat pump is another excellent, energy-efficient option. It simply takes the outdoor warmer air and humidity through the pump and transfers it directly to the pool water. It will even work when the outside temperature is only 50 degrees, though it will be more effective when it's warmer outside. Heat pumps have a higher upfront cost than a traditional heater, but the price pays off with far lower energy bills and annual costs. Not only that, heat pumps will last longer than a gas pump if properly maintained.
Selecting a heat pump size depends on the size of your pool, the coldest outdoor temperature, and the desired temperature of the water. A pool professional can help you figure out the best pump based on your needs.
If you're looking to install a pool heater in your home swimming pool, consult a professional to determine which type best fits your pool, your needs, and your budget. The specialist can help install the heater and connect it to your control pad and to your smartphone control app as well.