Heating your in ground swimming pool can be accomplished through a few different methods, some of which are more costly than others. From pool heaters, to electric heat pumps, to solar panels, to solar covers, keeping your pool warm and extending your pool season is within reach, just depends on your budget.
The most frequently used method to heat your swimming pool is with a pool heater. Traditional pool heaters come in two types, propane or natural gas. The type of pool heater you will need we be determined by your fuel source that is readily available. For the most part, you should be aware and know which type of fuel heats your home so this should be an easy assessment.
From there choosing your type of pool heater usually comes down to brand and price. The most popular pool heater brands would be Hayward, Pentair, Jandy, and Raypak. When choosing your heater brand it’s a good idea to check with local pool builders and service companies to determine which brand they service and warranty. Some pool dealers only work with Hayward, while others only work with Pentair.
The next consideration would be price. Traditional pool heaters can range from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on how big of pool heater you need for your pool. Heater costs are driven by the BTU (british thermal units), the higher the BTU the more expensive your pool heater. The size of pool heater you need for your pool is determined by how many gallons of water your swimming pool holds. Bigger pools require a bigger BTU pool heater in order to heat the bigger volume of water.
Electric Heat Pumps
The next option to heat your swimming pool would be an electric heat pump. Electric pool heat pumps are a bit more expensive but have a tremendous upside in saving money with your utility bill. Unlike the traditional pool heaters we mentioned above that use propane and gas and can be crazy expensive, electric pool heat pumps operate on electricity. Electricity is cheaper than propane and gas thus possibly saving you hundreds of dollars a month in pool heating costs.
Again the most popular electric heat pumps for swimming pools are made by Hayward, Pentair, Jandy, Raypak, and Trane. Pool heat pump price usually ranges between $2,000 and $5,000 and are also driven by the BTU output. The higher the BTU output the more expensive the heat pump. A quick tip, don’t purchase a heat pump by a lesser known manufacture just to save a few bucks. The bigger brands have warranties and dedicated service professionals to work on your system if it should break down. Saving a few bucks today could end up costing you more money in the long run.
Solar Pool Heating Systems
A solar pool heating system usually costs between $2,000 and $4,000 to buy and install. This provides a payback of between 1.5 and 7 years, depending on your local fuel costs and the systems typically last longer than your traditional pool heaters.
Solar pool heaters work by collecting the suns heat and then circulating your pool water through the solar “heating” system and back into the pool. Obviously the more sun your solar system receives, the warmer your pool water will be. If you already have a solar system installed on your home, this might be the most cost effective method to heat your swimming pool.
Solar Blankets and Covers
Solar blankets could be your most affordable option for heating your swimming pool. Usually ranging in the neighborhood of $60 – $300 and depending on the size of your pool, obviously the bigger the pool the more solar blanket you will need.
Solar blankets work by absorbing the suns rays and transferring them into the pool water more efficiently than the water absorbing the rays on its own. Another upside to solar blankets is they also work in preventing heat loss and evaporation.
Now if you’re looking to increase your pool water temperature into the mid 80’s or 90’s during the spring and fall this probably isn’t the best option for you. At most you can expect your solar cover to increase your pool water temperature 5 – 10 degrees and alot of that heat depends on how much sun exposure your pool gets. The more sun exposure the warmer the pool. If you live in warmer climate this might be the best option for your pool heating needs.
The Best Pool Heater Option
To have a warm comfortable pool season that extending from early spring into late fall we recommend going with a traditional propane or gas pool heater. If you’re simply looking for a couple degrees warmer perhaps try the solar cover to see if it meets your needs and if you’re going all in, looking for both warmer water, extended pool season, and cost savings down the road we recommend a pool heat pump. Selecting the right method to heat your pool really comes down to your own needs, wants, and budget.