When the temperature dips and the sun hides behind the clouds in winter, keeping your pool warm enough to enjoy can become an expensive problem. What are the least expensive ways to heat your pool in winter? What is the most efficient type of pool heating
for winter? Can you combine cost savings with efficiency and be able to enjoy your pool throughout the winter months?
Types of Pool Heating
There are three basic types of pool heating:
- Electric heating until recently was the most prevalent type of pool heating. However, the high running expenses of electric pool heating and the greenhouse emissions caused by electricity consumption have led consumers to look for more energy efficient options.
- Gas pool heating is a more energy efficient type of pool heating than electricity. It is also the fastest way to heat a pool. However, it is a relatively expensive solution, especially if you want to keep your pool at a constant temperature during the cold months of winter.
- Solar pool heating is an increasingly popular alternative to electric and gas heating. While relatively expensive to install, solar heating is the cheapest type of heating in the long run since it utilises the free energy of the sun.
A fourth type of pool heating combines solar technology, air conditioning technology and electricity to create a more energy and cost efficient type of pool heating. Called a heat pump, it has been described as a "refrigerator in reverse." A heat exchange system, the pump draws warm air into the system, expels cold air and transfers heat to coils inside the pump. Water is then heated as it passes through the pump. Heat pumps can use as little as a third of the electricity required for electricity-only heating, making them a cost and energy efficient solution.
What Is the Right Type of Pool Heating for You?
Before you can answer this question, you first need to answer some questions:
- What is the volume of water in my pool?
- What is the lowest outdoor temperature at night in our area?
- How often do we use our pool in winter?
- Do we use the pool for exercise or relaxation?
- Do we need to heat our pool quickly for intermittent use in winter or is it used every day?
If you have a spa
or plunge pool
you only use occasionally in winter, gas may be your best option because it heats water so quickly and can heat it to a high temperature. If the outdoor temperatures in your area rarely fall below 10 degrees Celsius, consider getting a heat pump. If you live in a colder area, a heat pump may not be your best choice, because it loses efficiency below that temperature, though it may be able to keep the pool warm enough for lap swimming. Solar is ideal in an area where the sun shines throughout the year, but is not efficient in rainy or very cloudy conditions.
Some pool owners combine solar with a heat pump. Even on cloudy days, solar panels will heat water somewhat as it passes through the solar panels. This, combined with the further heating it receives in the heat pump, will make the pool warm enough to enjoy in most Australian climates. The best solution is to contact a pool supplier
in your area and ask them what works best for their customers. They are the local experts and with years of experience behind them, will be able to give you a tailor-made range of options.