Certainly, the climate we live in affects our lifestyle. Do you have four seasons or two? Can you wear flip flops 10 out of 12 months or are snow boots a fixture by the back door? People who live in the southernmost states but travel north on occasion need only dedicate a small section of their closet for winter essentials. That wool coat can stay stowed in a garment bag until it’s time to hop on a plane and brave the elements up north.
The weather where you live may define your activities, but you know how to make it work! If you’re a pool owner, you know how to squeeze every drop out of pool season! While the time to swim in Maine may end a bit earlier in the year, more southern-living pool lovers have great options to keep that water warm to extend the season for as long as possible!
Keeping Your Pool Heated
There are several possibilities for keeping your pool at a comfortable temperature – even year-round depending on how the winter season plays out.
However, since weather can be unpredictable, if you plan to keep your pool open during the colder months, you must keep your water heated well above freezing temperatures. Don’t run the risk of ruptured pipes or allowing the cold to cause more expensive damage. Be prepared. Many of our clients use automatic timers. Wired to the pool heater breaker, they will activate your system at a pre-set temperature. You cannot be too careful in protecting this investment.
The different methods of keeping your pool warm do have pluses and minuses, but with some education and effort, like Dory in Finding Nemo, you can “just keep swimming.”
This method is probably the best for several reasons, but the expense and the efficiency are the two most notable drawbacks. Gas heaters provide heat for your swimming pool by burning either propane or natural gas. Regardless of the air temperature, their reliance on gas as the source (as opposed to the air or the sun) makes their reliability a consistency upon which you can depend. Best for pools installed in colder climates, they heat better than a heat pump which does not necessarily operate as efficiently in harsher climates. Another plus is that they heat quickly so your pool is ready when you are.
The downsides of gas heaters are all cost-related. While this fact may not be of issue to everyone, it bears revealing that this is not an energy-efficient means of heating your pool. They require a dedicated gas line and a fuel source from a public service or a backyard propane tank. They are also more ideal for smaller spas and pools as the operating costs can run up to $500/month. In addition, the heater itself will not endure indefinitely; you may be looking at a heater replacement every 5 or so years.
Electric Resistance Heaters
Here’s an option that runs solely on electricity; no need to have a gas line or a tank installed. But you know what reliance on electricity means. It means money. You will also find that electric heaters are more expensive on the front end to install over gas heaters. These are not designed to necessarily be energy efficient like pool heat pumps (see below) so you will likely realize higher heating costs when you use an electric resistance heater.
However, once the pool reaches the desired temperature, an electric heat pump doesn’t need to work as hard as a gas pool heater to maintain that desired temperature. With a gas heater, you can lose about 1° per hour. With an electric heater, you lose about 1° for every three hours making this option more energy and cost-efficient on a monthly basis.
Between this and the gas heater solution, you will find reliability with a fast response time. These will just come at a price you may not be willing to pay.
Pool Heat Pumps
An excellent option if your outdoor temperatures remain well below freezing. Because their “fuel” source is the air, your electric meter won’t be spinning out of control. For energy efficiency, this is your number one choice.
While the upside is cost efficiency, you won’t yield the same reliability as you would from a gas heater. The colder the air, the more limitations these heaters have. The milder the winters where you live, the warmer your pool, the bigger your bank account, the better this pool heat pump will serve your needs.
Water-Source Heat Pumps
If you live in a climate where the air temps do fall below 50°F, this option may be of interest. These heat pumps actually transfer heat from water sources that include ponds or lakes, even wells.
Although this alternative requires minimal operating costs and has a small footprint, the installation is a bigger deal requiring large wells and long water lines. It entails an installation that will take some time and could be more expensive than you are willing to pay. Still, the monthly recurring costs are more reasonable than a gas heater alternative.
Whatever option you choose, you will get some assistance from a cover like a solar blanket as they do serve to reduce swimming pool heating costs. As most of a swimming pool’s heat loss is attributed to evaporation, a blanket will act as a barricade against the surrounding air. It is best to tuck your pool in at night and even on cloudy days to prevent as much evaporation as possible.
Turn Up the Heat!
This breakdown is to provide you with the array of options from which to choose when you want to keep “summer” in full swing! If your winters don’t tend toward freezing temps, a pool heat pump may make the most sense.
If you are living in a state that feels more like a frozen tundra, we do recommend using an automatic timer with either a gas or electric resistance heater on the chilliest days.
Whatever your climate, consult with a pool specialist in your area or with your original builder. Do not hesitate to contact us as we can certainly connect you with a professional resource.
As pool financing experts, we keep our pools open as long as possible, and so do our clients! By finding the right solution for your pool and climate, you can too!
Lyon Financial loves the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about how you can install or upgrade your backyard pool.