Swimming pools can cool down quickly as summer winds down in much of the country, but there are plenty of ways to stay in the water longer without paying a high electric bill. The most popular options today are solar and geothermal pools. Many options are available to homeowners, and some are easy to install.
Here are a few options if you’ve been wondering how to extend your pool season.
Solar Pool Heaters
One popular option for swimming pool heating is using solar energy. These systems are relatively easy to install, but a solar heater can have a higher upfront cost for the equipment compared to some other options. Solar heaters are a natural way to heat water and do not use any energy from the power grid. One important thing to note is the heating system has to be correctly sized to work efficiently.
Another solar option is solar covers. While they are somewhat limited, they are an inexpensive way to increase your pool’s temperature. Solar pool covers work by absorbing heat from the sun while retaining absorbed heat inside the pool by reducing the amount of evaporation. Solar pool covers protect against natural elements that can get into the pool, like leaves and dirt. Check out our solar pool cover guide to learn more.
Pros of Using Solar Heating
- Low upfront cost (for solar cover)
- Environmentally friendly
- No impact on your energy bills
Cons of Using Solar Pool Heating
A solar heater can have a higher upfront price than a gas or electric heater, but it will save you money in the long haul as it won’t use gas or electricity. That said, the solar heating process can take a long time compared to using alternative forms of heating. Solar pool heaters are not for you if you are in a hurry to get warm water.
A night or two of cloud cover can reduce the effectiveness of your pool cover or solar heating system.
Additional Heating Options
Using Natural Gas or Propane
Gas or propane is not a very popular way of heating pools, but it is efficient. A poolside heater uses natural gas and propane to heat water in small amounts with an electric heater. Some say it is the most expensive way to heat your pool. It is not a very eco-friendly option, but it is the most efficient if you want your water to warm up quickly. If you have a gas heater attached to your pool, you can enjoy the benefits of swimming or relaxing in your pool for extra weeks or even months of the year.
Using an Electric Pool Heat Pump
An electric pool heater is maybe the perfect midpoint between solar and gas heaters. The installation cost is lower than a solar heater and similar to a gas heat pump. Electric heaters are also more cost-effective than gas heaters to run, but they won’t heat up your pool as quickly either. Of course, an electric heater will also warm your pool faster, but it can’t compete on price with the free heat from solar heating options.
Geothermal Pool Heaters
A lot of people have never heard of geothermal heaters, but they are another option that is slowly becoming more popular. It’s kind of a hybrid approach that uses electricity to pump heat from the earth and uses it to heat the pool. So, you’re using an environmentally friendly, sustainable energy source, but it requires some electricity to pull in that heat. Ultimately, in the long haul, it is the second most cost-effective heating option behind solar, but the upfront cost is FAR more than the other options listed here, as a geothermal unit can cost $25,000 or more.
How to Heat an Above Ground Pool
If you have an above-ground pool, most of the aforementioned methods can work for you, however, you’ll likely want to consider the upfront cost a bit more as you could easily end up with a heating system that costs far more than your pool. Most above ground pool owners side with solar covers or smaller electric heating systems as the pools tend to have no or smaller deep ends that require less water to heat. Knowing this, a gas heater is likely overkill and a geothermal system’s upfront cost is likely off-putting to many owners.
Ultimately, adding a cover is the easiest way to do this without spending much. A solar cover can keep the pool’s temperature up in all seasons with much less energy than other methods.
How to Heat a Pool Without a Heater
As we’ve alluded to above, the cheapest way to heat a pool is by using a solar cover. Stopping the evaporation in your pool is an effective method that can have a noticeable impact on your pool’s temperature and make it more usable in the Spring and Fall.
A swimming pool is a substantial investment and if you’re going to spend that kind of money you’ll likely want to extend your swimming season as long as possible. To do so, you’ll want to do your homework on the types of heating options you have to maximize the usage of your pool for you and your family. You’ll need to weigh a lot of different factors including initial costs, ongoing costs, maintenance, and heating speed and efficiency. Hopefully, this blog helps you with your decision-making process.
Once you make a decision on your pool heater, you’ll want to figure out the right accessories to make your pool truly your own. Check out Global Pool Products’ selection of American made pool ladders, pool slides, and handrails. Contact us today to learn more.