If you have a swimming pool and you live in a cold region or an area that has cold seasons, then you may want to consider installing a swimming pool heater. Such addition to your swimming pool may prove to be useful as it enables you, your family and friends to use the pool even during cooler conditions thereby extending the swimming season.
There are three popular types of swimming pool heaters – gas pool heaters, solar pool heaters, and heat pump pool heaters.
Gas Pool Heaters – this type of pool heater is the most popular type of pool heating system when it comes to heating up swimming pools. These days, more advanced gas-fired swimming pool heaters are available and are far more efficient than older models. Then again, depending on the climate in your region and the type and size of pool you have, this may not be the most efficient type. Nevertheless, it is still the most popular.
Gas pool heaters work by burning natural gas or propane to create heat. When the pump in the pool circulates water to filter it, the water that has been filtered passes through an area where heat exchange happens. The gas or propane is burned inside a combustion chamber where the generated heat transferred to the water which is being pumped back into the pool. Gas pool heaters are very efficient when it comes to quickly heating swimming pools, but only for short periods. This makes gas pool heaters the perfect choice for swimming pools that are only used occasionally. The best thing about gas pool heaters is that they are able to maintain the temperature you desire regardless of climate conditions.
In order to optimize the efficiency of gas pool heaters, proper installation and regular maintenance is required. You can hire qualified pool heating professionals for installations as well as for repairs and maintenance. If you notice any problems with efficiency, this will likely be due to scaling in the heat exchanger. A gas pool heater will typically last somewhere between 5 to 8 years.
Solar Pool Heaters – these pool heaters are the most cost effective as they use solar energy to heat the pool. The best part about solar pool heaters is that you can heat the pool for prolonged periods without having to worry about your utility bill going up. Installing one can greatly decrease your annual pool heating cost. Plus, their cost can compete with both gas pool heater and heat pump pool heaters.
A solar pool heater will consist of a solar collector, a filter, a pump, and a flow control valve. The solar collector is responsible for collecting the heat from the sun as well as heat exchange between water and the flow tubes. The filter is responsible for removing any debris in the water, while the pump is responsible for circulating the water from the pool towards the filter, solar collector, and back to the pool. The flow control valve on the other hand is a device that diverts water to be heated towards the solar collector or through a conventional pool heater for use during cloudy days or during night times. The flow control valve is controlled manually. However, with the use of advanced sensors, this can be run automatically.
Solar collectors are made using different materials. The type of materials used will greatly depend on the climate of your area as well as on how you will be using the collector. If you want to be able to use your pool during cold temperatures (but not freezing or below freezing, then the solar collector material you will need to use will be unglazed. Unglazed solar collectors do not have a glass covering and are mostly made out of heavy duty rubber or plastic. Since the parts are inexpensive and very simple in design, they are less expensive than glazed types. Depending on climate situation, they may be more cost effective than expensive glazed solar collectors. Glazed solar collectors on the other hand are mostly made out of copper tubing on an aluminum plate. They also have a tempered glass covering that increases their cost greatly. These solar collectors are ideal for colder weather as they are able to capture more heat than unglazed systems.
A solar pool heater will cost somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000. This price would include both system and installation. Although this may sound pricey, the unit will be able to pay for itself within seven years as you get a lot of savings on your utility bills. In addition to this, solar pool heaters lasts longer than gas pool heater and heat pump pool heaters.
When installing a solar pool heater, you need to consider some factors such as climate, solar resource, building codes and safety issues. This makes it important to hire a professional contractor on solar thermal systems to install your solar pool heater. With good regular maintenance, your solar pool heater will continue to run smoothly for the next 10 to 20 years.
Heat Pump Pool Heaters – these pool heaters use electricity to capture heat and move it from one place to another. Contrary to popular belief, heat pumps do not generate heat. These pool heaters draw warm air from the outside and direct it to coils which absorb the heat. Pool water is then passed along these coils which then absorb their heat. The pool water is then pumped back into the pool. The whole process is continually repeated until the water in the pool has been heated.
It is important to understand that heat pump pool heaters are more expensive than gas pool heaters. However, due to their efficiency, they have a lower annual operating cost. This means that the price difference will offset itself in several years.
A properly installed heat pump pool heater and regularly maintained for efficiency will last for more than 10 years. This makes it best to hire a professional to install the heater, especially since there is electricity involved with the heating process.