What is the best heating for a swimming pool?

Perspective of modern luxury house with terrace and swimming pool

Your complete guide to swimming pool heating: What you need to know to make the right decision.

As the days begin to get shorter and the sun starts losing its power, the temperature in your pool begins to resemble a more temperate climate too. Many of us want to swim in our pools outside of the warmest months of summer. After spending the capital on installing a pool only to find that three quarters of the year it’s so cold as to make it almost unusable, it almost feels as though you have neglected to read the fine print.

Fear not, because there is a way to extend your swimming season. Pool heating options are abundant, and this article intends to act as a guide to help you find one that best fits your needs. Check out our complete guide to swimming pool heating below.

Where do you live?

Firstly, it is important to understand what sort of climate you live in. For example, heating your pool is less of a concern if you live in a tropical environment like northern Queensland. For those of us who live in a cooler climate like the Sydney region, pool heating may even feel applicable during summer.

The general climate trends of your region may also indicate which type of heating system will be the most beneficial for you.

Your Pool’s Specifications

The size of your pool is an important factor as to which type of pool heating system you choose to install. The idea is to have the most efficient pool heating system for the size of your pool. Pool gas heating works better for smaller sized pools and electric pool heat pumps tend to be more efficient for larger pools.

What type of pool heating you use depends what you want to get out of your pool. You’ll need to consider questions like:

  • Do you want to swim all year round?
  • Who is using the pool? Children, the elderly, or those with injuries may require a warmer temperature than other demographics.
  • Is your pool for leisure, physical activity, or even rehabilitation?

Your answers will influence what type of pool heating system will be the most effective for your individual needs.

Preventing heat loss

Purchasing a pool cover makes cleaning it easier by preventing debris from falling into it. It also acts as a barrier to prevent heat loss. Think of the pool cover as a jacket for your pool. It traps the heat in the water reducing how much is lost to the atmosphere.

Additionally, with there being less heat lost you save money on the running costs for your heater. Depending on which type of pool heater you settle on this could be a big saving. If you want to learn more about pool covers, please click here

Solar Pool Heating

Solar pool heating is one of the most cost-effective ways to increase the temperature of your pool, however it is best used to extend your swimming season rather than relying on it solely.

The idea behind it is simple, it harnesses the heat from the sun to warm up the water of your pool. It’s a similar idea to drying your clothes on the washing line.

The cool pool water is pumped from your pool into special dark coloured pipes on your roof called solar collectors, as it moves through the pipes it equilibrates to the temperature of the pipes and then the warmed water flows back into your pool.

There are two types of solar heating circuits, an independent circuit and integrated into filtration circuits. Typically, the latter is retrofitted to an existing pool. The only real difference between the two is that the integrated circuit can only run when the filtration system is running. This is because it uses the filtration pump to move water up to the roof.

This makes it slightly less efficient at heating your pool than an independent solar circuit. You are also able to fit a temperature gauge that can be set to a selected temperature that you want your pool to be maintained at.

Given the heating power is driven by the sun, this is a very cost-effective way to warm your pool with running the pump being the only extra cost. The main downside of solar pool heating is that it relies upon the sun shining to producing heat to warm up your pool. Therefore it is often not suitable during the cloudier months. It also shares roof space with solar PV panels so it is becoming less popular.

Pool Heat Pump

Heat pumps or electric heaters effectively use the same technology that fridges use to cool down, but in reverse. The heat pump uses a fan to suck in air from the atmosphere around it and then steal the heat to transfer it into the pool water.

This stolen heat is first transferred into a refrigerant causing it to evaporate into a gas. The gas is then compressed to become superheated. Following the compression, the gas is run through a heat exchanger. In the exchanger, the heat from the refrigerant gas is transferred to your pool water.

The warmed water is then pumped back into the pool. The gas is run through a condenser coil where it returns to a liquid state and then is moved back into the outer air coil ready to be reused so the cycle can restart. Over time the entire body of water is cycled through the heat pump raising the temperature of your pool.

These systems are highly efficient. For every one unit of electricity they can output 3-7 units of heat depending how warm it is outside. Put simply, their efficiency is from 300-700%. Because of this they are now seen as the best option to heat your pool or extend your swimming season.

Generally, pool heat pumps work well down to an ambient air temperature of around 7°C. This means that for Sydney-siders, a pool heat pump would be an effective year-round option apart from freezing mornings. For an idea of the price range for pool heat pumps from a certified pool heating installer please click here

Pool Gas Heater

Pool gas heaters operate how you would imagine… the same way a standard gas hot water service operates. They burn gas, either natural gas or LPG, which produces heat that is used to heat the water from your pool. It’s like boiling a kettle on a stove then pouring it into your pool until it reaches desired temperature.

Pool gas heaters are the most expensive and least efficient to run of the three options. Their efficiency is around 85-95%, which is significantly less than that of the heat pump. Despite this, they are the fastest method of heating your pool. Gas Heaters are your preferred option for spas because they have the fastest heat-up time, and efficiency loss.

A pool gas heater is likely the best option if you are wanting a year-round swimming season. Given they don’t rely on the ambient temperature in any respect and they can warm your pool much faster than either a solar pool heater or a pool heat pump. For a gauge on prices for pool gas heater installations please click here.

If you are still having difficulty deciding which pool heating solution is best for you and your family, it is a good idea to get some advice from the experts. At Eclipse Pool Heating we have 20 years’ experience with swimming pool equipment. We can provide guidance on the best option for you and your individual needs. Contact eclipse pool heating, to speak with one of our expert pool heater installers in the Sydney area today.

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