We all know the drill. It’s sunny and warm, you’ve just finished mowing the lawn and the pool is looking great. You slip into your trunks, run full ball across the yard and dive headlong into the sparkling, azure water. The rest, as they say, is history. As your family drags you gasping and convulsing from the shallow end you promise yourself yet again to invest in a pool heater.
Pool heaters are a must for those living in cooler climates and wanting to extend their swimming season. Pool owners who have unavoidable obstacles that shade their pools for extended periods during the day will also benefit from not having to call 911 each time someone gets in the pool. In some cases pool heaters can effectively double the amount of swimming days in a year, and when one considers the cost of installing and maintaining a pool, figuring out the value of extending your swimming time becomes a no brainer.
Before you consider pool heaters one should first install a good pool cover if you don’t have one. Not only are pool covers a sensible safety device, but they keep the pool cleaner and insulate against heat loss. In hot weather and locations where the pool gets a lot of direct sunlight, a pool cover can actually get the water uncomfortably hot on its own. However, once a decision to install a heater has been made the next step is to decide which type of pool heater suits your situation best. Here are a couple of pointers when making that call.
Gas fired pool heaters
These pool heaters are considerably cheaper to install and run than the other types. Professionally installed LP gas systems are safe, clean and efficient and are easy and fairly cheap to maintain. If you have no problems with LP gas supplies then gas fired pool heaters should be your first choice.
Oil fired pool heaters
Oil fired pool heaters work in much the same way as gas fired examples and are also cheaper to install, run and maintain. These heaters are a good choice where LP gas heaters and gas supplies are hard to come by.
Electrical pool heaters
Electrical heaters are very clean in operation but are by far the most costly to operate and take the most maintenance. Many people feel uncomfortable with high load electrical equipment near a pool and this should be considered when looking at electrical pool heaters.
Solar powered pool heaters
Although theoretically the cheapest pool heaters to run, solar powered examples are way more expensive to install, and I mean WAY more. A solar heater system can cost over half as much as the pool did. Generally solar pool heaters panels are placed on the houses roof or other high vantage points where they can receive maximum, unobstructed exposure to the sun.
This means that the water has to be pumped up to the panels and because of the head involved need fairly staunch pumps which, in turn, consume far more power than other types. Panel maintenance and replacement is also exorbitantly expensive. These systems should be considered very carefully before committing to purchase.
All said, gas fired pool heaters are the hands down winners. Cheap to install, clean, cheap and easy to use, they are the first choice in pool heaters. You’ll have a whole lot more swimming days in a year and won’t have to think twice about those headlong dives any more