Recent advancements in pool heating technology allow pool owners to choose from a vast array of options that vary based on effectiveness, space limitations, and cost. Such technological improvements have produced improved solar pool covers and solar panels that after the initial purchase, do not create any additional operating costs. Conversely, gas and propane pool heaters are still the best way to heat one’s pool quickly and effectively.
A solar pool cover lays on the surface of a swimming pool and attracts and absorbs sunlight. This method produces natural heat that makes the pool water more enjoyable. Similarly, solar panels are devices that do not come into direct contact with the pool’s surface. Instead, the panels are hooked up with PVC tubing that allows the pool water to flow directly through the device. Solar heating panels should be elevated for maximum sun exposure so that the water that flows through them can be heated before being pumped back into the pool. One disadvantage of solar materials is that they tend to take up lots of room. This is especially true with the solar panels, which can often measure up to twenty feet in length. One solution to that limitation is mounting the panels on a rooftop, although that makes the tubing process more complex. Despite the spatial concerns, solar heat is the most cost-effective method to heating your swimming pool.
As previously mentioned, gas and propane pool heaters are the best and quickest way to generate pool heat. There are multiple BTU levels available depending on the given water capacity of your swimming pool. For instance, a large pool measuring 20’ by 40’ would benefit from a high-powered 400,000 BTU pool heater. In contrast, a round 24’ above ground pool typically will not need more than 100,000 BTU. Another advantage to choosing a gas or propane pool heater is the limited amount of space one takes up. Most heaters will require between four and six square feet, with additional space being needed for piping in certain pool setups. This is much less space than any solar panel would require. The only disadvantage to using a gas or propane heater is the significantly higher cost in comparison to solar products. Prices for gas or propane pool heaters often exceed $1,000, and pool owners should also take monthly gas or propane refill costs. The monthly costs will vary depending on frequency of pool heater use, climate, and the BTU output.
When choosing how to heat an in ground or above ground swimming pool, many factors contribute to a final decision. If a pool is in an urban setting that does not get much sun exposure, a solar system is not the best choice. In contrast, rural areas that get eight to ten hours of uninterrupted sunlight are prime candidates for such a solar pool heating system.