For most people happiness is a pool temperature 26 degrees and above. In Western Australia that equates to four summer months without heating. To extend your swimming season requires a pool heater and or a pool blanket.
There are four popular options.
Approximately 90% of heat loss is from the surface of the pool due to evaporation. By placing a pool blanket on the surface on the pool the season can be extended about two extra months.
- Solar heating can extend your swimming season to six months when used in conjunction with a pool blanket.
- Solar strips or panels, depending on the manufacturer, have small water pipes that are installed on the roof and connected to a separate pool pump at the filter location.
- The pump pushes the water up to the roof and through the pipes or panels.
- The water is heated by the sun and then returns to the pool via dedicated heater pipes.
- The running cost is mainly electricity to operate the circulation pump.
- A timer is recommended to operate the pump during sunny parts of the day.
- A pool can be cooled down by running a solar heater in the evening.
- Most people invest about $5000 for a solar heating system.
- As a rule the collector area on the roof is the same as the pool surface area.
- Gas heaters can provide swimming twelve months of the year above 26 degrees if you wish.
- Gas heaters are similar to a large hot water system in your home.
- The gas heaters vary in size but are usually a box approximately 1.0m x 0.8m x 0.7m and are located with the filtration equipment.
- It is efficient to have a dedicated pump for the heater if your budget allows.
- The water is forced via the pump through the gas heater elements and heats the water to a pre-arranged temperature.
- The advantage of a gas heater is the relatively fast heat-up time compared with solar or electric heating.
- Fast heat up with a gas heater is an advantage with a spa pool if you have impatient family members.
- A spa can take around one hour to heat from cold to 36 degrees
- Remote control systems such as Aqualink or Genus systems enable control of filtration pumps, heaters, lights and water features.
For pool and spa combinations it is possible to arrange for the pool and spa to be heated separately or together. A timer is recommended to operate the heater pump even though the heater is also thermostatically controlled. The timer can switch on the pool and spa heater and have the spa ready for you after a hard day at work. The thermostat will turn off the heater when the required temperature is reached. Most manufacturers of gas heaters have a sizing service to make sure the correct size heater is selected. A pool gas heater requires at least a 20 mm gas supply line and is usually requires an upgrade to a standard house connection.
Gas heater manufacturers can advise the specific diameter gas supply required.
The plumbing cost to supply a gas connection to your home varies enormously and is not usually in the pool heater price.
Electric heating or Heat pumps
Heat pumps can also provide twelve months above 26 degrees.
- The most frequently requested heater for a home pool is a Heat pump.
- They are similar to an air conditioner in appearance and operation.
- The heater is located with the filtration equipment.
- The heat pump collects heat from the air, condenses it and places the heat into the pool via the pool plumbing.
- The heat pump can heat the pool all year even with very low air temperatures.
The main advantage of electric heaters are simple connection low running cost. Again a timer and a dedicated circulation pump to service the heater is the most efficient system.
A heat pump usually operates all year and only operates when the timer and thermostat start the pump. Electrical supply requirements depend on the heat pump size and may direct require hard wiring for the larger models.
A heat pump is the best selection for people who would like the pool warm all year. A pool blanket is required to prevent heat loss from the surface. Of course you can turn the heater off if you don’t need it.
Heater manufactures also have sizing service to select the correct heater for your pool size and location.
There are no panels on the roof or large gas connection costs.