Experience the Inestimable Luxury of Being Able to Swim at Home All Year Round

by Pool Builders on 03-29-2011 in Articles

Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to swim all year round, even when there's snow on the ground?

Well, anything's possible when you have a quality Pool Heater or Heat Pump installed. There are so many choices, of course. There are above-ground and in-ground ones of all sizes, Solar Heaters and Heat Pumps as well.

It is important to remember, of course, that proper installation and maintenance can optimize your heater's efficiency. The ideal answer is to have a qualified Pool professional install the Heater and to maintain the Pool on a regular basis. Heaters usually need to be tuned annually and any scaling in the burner or heat exchanger may decrease the Pool's efficiency. You should read your Heater's owner's manual for details.

Now, let us take a look at the various types available:

1. Solar Pool Heaters

To reduce the heating costs of your Swimming Pool, it is certainly worth considering the installation of a Solar Pool Heater. They are very cost-effective when considering the solar energy freely available in many climates. They are also quite cost competitive when compared to Gas, Electric and Heat Pump Pool Heaters, as they have very low annual operating costs

The pool water is pumped through a filter and then through the solar collector(s) to be heated. Solar pool collectors are made of different materials. The type you need depends mainly upon climatic conditions.

If temperatures are above freezing, then you will probably only need an unglazed collector system. These do not include a glass covering (glazing) and are generally made of heavy-duty rubber or plastic, treated with UV inhibitors. Unglazed collectors are generally less expensive than a glazed collector system, which is usually made of copper tubing and an aluminium plate with an iron tempered glass covering.

Installing unglazed collectors is more cost-effective than installing a glazed system. However, both glazed and unglazed collector systems should include freeze protection, if they will be used in colder conditions.

As a general rule, Solar Pool Heaters will last longer than Gas and Heat Pump versions. After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly for 10-20 years. You can consult your owner's manual for maintenance requirements.

2. Gas Swimming Pool Heaters

Enthusiasts seem to prefer Gas-fired models, which may use either Natural Gas or Propane. A big advantage of Gas Heaters over Heat Pumps and Solar Heaters are that they can maintain desired temperature, regardless of the weather or climate.

Gas Heaters are also a good choice for pools not used on a regular basis. They are most efficient when used for short periods of time and ideally used for quickly heating your pool.

There are two types of Gas Heater - Millivolt or Electronic Ignition.

Millivolt are older technology, using a standing pilot light, which is constantly lit. Users say that this may attract insects to the warmth created.

Electronic Ignition Heaters on the other hand, have sensors to detect gas flow and they ignite the gas, but only when required.

3. Heat Pump Swimming Pool Heaters

Heat Pumps use electricity to capture heat and move it from one place to another. They don't necessarily generate heat themselves.

Water passes through a filter and the Heat Pump Heater by way of the Swimming Pool Pump. The Heater has a fan that draws in the outside air and directs it over the evaporator coil. The liquid refrigerant within the evaporator coil absorbs the heat from the outside air, becoming a gas. The warm gas in the coil then passes through the compressor which increases the heat, creating a very hot gas that is passed through the condenser. The condenser transfers the heat from the hot gas to cooler pool water, circulating through the heater.

Higher efficiency Heat Pump Pool Heaters usually use scroll compressors, as opposed to the reciprocal compressors of standard units. Heat Pumps work efficiently as long as the outside temperature remains above the 45F-50F range. The cooler the outside air, the more energy it will need to maintain heat. These Heaters generally cost more than Gas Pool Heaters but they have much lower annual operating costs because of their high efficiencies.

It is found that with proper maintenance, Heat Pumps may typically last longer than Gas versions and, therefore, you'll save more money in the long run.
It is better to service the Heater annually and, because of it's many moving parts, the Pump may require periodic service by air conditioning technicians.

To sum up then:

Solar Pool Heaters have lower heating costs and they usually last longer than other types of Heaters.

Gas Pool Heaters are preferred by many and they maintain your preferred temperature more easily.

Heat Pumps generally cost more than Gas Heaters initially, have much lower operating costs and they usually last longer than Gas Heaters.

So, the choice is yours. I am sure, however, that the enjoyment and health benefits gained from owning any of these Swimming Pool Heaters will far outweigh any cost or inconvenience experienced whilst installing one.

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