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  • Thongs by the pool

    Pool Heating Options Explained

July 2018

Want to warm the water in your swimming pool, so you can take a dip more often? There are different options for how to heat your pool – some are more energy-efficient than others.

When you have a swim in your pool, you don’t want to be thinking about Antarctica. Or ice. Or frostbite. A dip in the pool is meant to be a relaxing experience, which means you want to keep the water temperature around 25°C.

This is easier said than done … unless you live in Far North Queensland. Without some form of heating, most pools in Australia hover between 18 and 20°C.

So what can you do about it? Your first step is to research your options for heating a pool (which is what we’re here to help with). Then, you may want to chat to a pool specialist to find the best solution for your local environment, swimming pool size and heating requirements – because these factors can all affect which heating is best for your pool.

What’s the best way to heat a swimming pool?

There’s no straight answer to this question. It can depend on the size of the pool, your budget and your preferred energy source. Often, your location comes into play, too – the ambient temperature and amount of sunlight your pool gets each day can influence your choice.

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to heat up a pool, then the answer will almost always be a solar pool cover or blanket. After the initial purchase, there’s no ongoing energy cost. Just a little effort on your part to pull it out and cover the pool after each swim.

If you’re looking for something a little less hands-on – and more reliable, temperature-wise – then you should consider either a gas pool heater, an electric heat pump or a solar system. Each one has its own pros and cons, which we’ll explore below.

Pairing any of the options below with a pool blanket will help to entrap the heat and make your pool heating even more efficient.

Solar pool heating

Solar pool heating is a popular option in Australia. Benefits of solar heating include:

  • Low annual operating costs
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Effective in most areas of Australia
  • The system requires little maintenance and has a long lifespan

Drawbacks include:

  • On rainy days and at night there’s no heat generated

Gas pool heaters

Gas pool heaters are an option for smaller pools. These heaters use a gas source to warm up water before it is passed back into the pool. Benefits of gas heating include:

  • Heats water fast
  • Inexpensive to install
  • Effective no matter what the outside temperature

Drawbacks include:

  • Costly to run
  • Lifespan of about five years

Electric heat pump

Electric pool heaters work on the same principle as a reverse-cycle air conditioner. Operating in tandem with your pool pump, they draw in warm air from outside to heat the water. Benefits of an electric heat pump include:

  • Efficient to run (as long as it’s warm outside!)
  • Low operating costs
  • Longer lifespan of about 10 years

Drawbacks include:

  • Slower to heat the pool than gas
  • More expensive initial outlay than gas
  • Relies on warm air, so won’t be effective on cold days or at night

The final word

It’s a good idea to think beyond the initial purchase price of a pool heating system, and consider its ongoing running costs and lifespan, too. Talk to a local pool specialist about your options before diving in and choosing your swimming pool heater.

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