There are many kinds of heaters that can be used for keeping the water in your swimming pool warm. The most commonly used types are listed below together with brief descriptions. At the end of the article there is a small section on building your own pool heater.
How to heat a pool: best pool heaters
Here we review all the types of heaters typically used in swimming pools, using either renewable or non-renewable sources of energy. They have different designs but all serve the same function – to heat water or the air surrounding your pool.
Electric pool heater
Heat pumps are electrical heaters for pools. However, rather than acting like a hot plate, they extract and intensify the heat from the surrounding air and use this to heat the water in the pool. This kind of heater is the most efficient you can find on the market after solar heaters, but unlike solar heaters, heat pumps do not rely on sunlight. The working principles of a heat pump are quite similar to those of a refrigerator. The only difference is that the surroundings will be cooled and the extracted heat is the energy we use. The problem with heat pumps is that, since the heat is extracted from the surrounding air, they do not perform very well in colder states. And one unique thing about heat pumps is that they can actually lower your pool water temperature too. So if the given temperature is 27°C and the water begins to heat up beyond this due to the surrounding heat, then the heat pump will cool down your pool and maintain the temperature at 27°C. So it’s better to turn off the heat pump if you don’t need to heat your pool.
Wood pool heaters
These basically act in the same way as a gas heater but the difference is that the fuel here is wood. This is much slower than a gas heater but faster than a heat pump or a solar heater. You need to burn a considerable amount of wood to produce any heat and the rate of heating depends on the rate of burning. Unlike gas heaters, these heaters are very simple in terms of design and are easy to use, yet it is hard to maintain a steady temperature. The efficiency of this kind of heater is very low, but at the same time, the running cost is also very low. Perfect for suburban areas.
Solar pool heaters
These are the most efficient heaters available. There’s no running cost. They’re green and very low maintenance. However, when installing a solar heater, there are some basic requirements that we must keep in mind. The first thing is of course the sun. Solar heaters are an excellent choice if you live near the equator, but not so useful during the winter months. Solar heaters are expensive too, and in addition, you need to have sufficient space on a sun-facing roof for the heating units. Like heat pumps, solar heaters will take a couple of hours to heat up your pool. There are two types available and in any event, this is the best way to heat a pool in terms of being environmentally friendly.
1. Coiled solar heaters – inexpensive solar heaters that can provide around 5 degrees of heat to a small pool.
2. Solar panel heaters – large scale heaters
Gas pool heaters
You can have gas heaters working with both natural gas and profane. The big advantage of gas heaters is that they are quick. You can start up a gas heater and the pool will be ready within an hour (depending on the size of the heater and the pool). And unlike heat pumps or solar heaters, gas heaters don’t rely on the weather. The market price for these heaters is very low compared to heat pumps or solar heaters, but again the running cost of a gas heater is very high. You might also need to turn to specialists to correctly install your pool heater.
Which swimming pool heater is the best
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a heater. In most cases, heat pumps are more popular than the other types of heaters. However, it’s very important to figure out what size of heater is needed for your pool and of course which fuel or method is the most suitable.
This depends on a couple of things,
1.The the size of pool
2. Whether salt water is used in the pool
There are also some ways of maintaining the water temperature in a pool so that when you need to heat it up, you already have a head start. One way we can do this is by using a solar blanket to save some heat overnight. This can save you about 8-12 degrees of water temperature.
DIY pool heater
The easiest way of making your own homemade pool heater without buying one specially is to use gas heating (if your house is equipped with this). All you will need to do is install some extra piping around the pool. You may also want to make the pool segment stand-alone by simply positioning a valve between the house and pool systems.
Another DIY pool heater option is to use parts of electric devices such as electric stoves or floor heating. The only extra things we need are special hi-resistance wires, which are heated by the electric current. However, it requires special skills, as it can be dangerous and cause fire if improperly installed.
As a derivative of a gas heater, you might use your barbecue stove, slightly modifying it by adding a special reservoir for water and some simple piping, and your simple boiler is ready. Your pool will be heated by hot steam. Its construction also requires a certain level of skill, but it is comparatively safe. As far as drawbacks are concerned, it is not environmentally friendly, and requires quite a lot of wood (or a smaller amount of coal) and time.