If you're thinking about having a pool installed, then you should also be thinking about whether or not to heat it. Pools can add so much to your family time and they're great for entertaining, too. However, especially in Victoria, there's a large portion of the year when it's too cold to swim in an unheated pool. Adding a heating system can extend the swimming season by a few months or even to the entire year, depending on your location and the system you choose. A pool is a serious investment. Adding a heating system can help you to get the greatest possible value out of it.
Solar Pool Heating
If the startup cost of solar pool heating is within your budget and you don't need to swim all year around, then solar pool heating is a fantastic choice. It harnesses the free energy of the sun to heat your pool.
Here's how it works. Solar collectors are installed on a north-facing roof, and they occupy approximately the same area as the pool surface. In a conventional system, the collectors are simply pipes for water circulation. Solar pool heating systems are driven by sensors in the pool and on the roof. When the temperature difference is great enough, then the pumps are switched on by a solar controller. Once the pool water reaches the desired temperature, the system automatically shuts down.
Gas Pool Heating
Gas pool heaters are the preferred option for people who need a system that will deliver heat 100% predictably and dependably. Similar to the gas water heaters used with radiators for space heating they can be controlled by hand, by timer or by a thermostat, and they work with a pump and a filter to take water from the pool, heat it and return it. High efficiency gas heaters can be a good choice, particularly for small pools on that are located in well-populated areas, near gas distribution pipes. They provide dependable pool heating, usually at a reasonable cost.
Electric Pool Heating: Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are electric pool heating systems, and they work a little like backward air conditioners. Some salespeople will say they’re "100% efficient." Electricity is always 100% efficient at the point of use. However, it is not necessarily very efficiently generated and it incurs line losses in its journey through the power grid. Therefore, heat pumps are usually the least efficient choice for pool heating.
How To Choose a Pool Heating System
Remember to consider both start-up and long-term energy costs when choosing a heating system for your pool. Energy costs are likely to continue to increase, so a solar system may pay for itself fairly quickly in reduced utility bills. For the ultimate pool heating system, you can add a small gas heater or heat pump as a backup to your main, solar system. Take a look at your gas and electricity provider's web site and at government web sites before making a final choice. Whichever type of pool heating system you choose, select a contractor with a clean record and an established reputation in your community.