Efficient Swimming Pool Heating

by Pool Builders on 06-11-2009 in Articles

In a world where energy costs continue to escalate and the concern over CO2 emissions remains high on the agendas of many, heating a swimming pool efficiently has never been more important.

So what is the best way to keep an outdoor swimming pool comfortably warm and pleasurable for bathing?

There is no simple answer to this question as local climate, pool size and depth, and available budget will all play a part in the choice. However certain options consistently score well in the efficiency stakes.

Solar heating is the most cost effective way of heating water to a "mildly warm" temperature and, providing that there is prolonged daylight, the running costs are free.

Solar heating works by using a special matting that incorporates hundreds of tiny capillary-like tubes into a mesh material. This matting uses the sun's rays to warm up the water and raise the temperature. Naturally, the larger the area of matting and the warmer the sun, the higher the ultimate temperature of the swimming pool water.

Solar heating does of course have two restrictions. The first is a requirement for lots of sunlight and the second is its inability to heat water above a tepid to warmish temperature.

Given these restrictions, many pool owners use a solar heating system to maintain the swimming pool water at warmer than ambient air temperature, and a secondary heating system for an extra temperature boost.

This secondary system may be a boiler, a heat exchanger, a condensing boiler or a heat pump and it raises the water's temperature by a few extra degrees to bring the level up to one that is comfortable for bathing.

The big energy saving in this approach is based on the fact that it is the initial raising of the waters temperature to a level above the ambient (or surrounding) temperature that uses up the greatest amount of energy. When this "pre-heat" process is already achieved with free solar power, energy usage and costs fall dramatically.

Conserving heat

Further measures that can act to reduce heating costs relate to the conservation of energy already within the water. This can be easily and cheaply achieved by using a solar pool cover that stops heat loss through evaporation (the biggest energy eater) and by only using the secondary heating system during periods immediately prior to and during times when the pool will be in use.

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