Pools are a great way to relax and unwind. To ensure as many days of enjoyment as possible, a robust pool heater is a must. Of all the pool heater options, solar is a great choice if you’re looking to get more days in the water without the added stress of high monthly bills.
One of the most common complaints of heating pools with gas or electricity is the expense and frequent maintenance. This can take a lot of the joy out of having a pool for most people.
Solar Pool Heating
There are many benefits to solar pool heating. After the panels are installed, it requires very little attention. Once the pump starts circulating the water, the solar pool panels will work virtually on their own without the need of much power. Not only are solar panels low maintenance, they are extremely cost effective – just pennies a day to operate!
In addition to the financial savings, solar panels have a positive impact on the environment and are very convenient. Solar panels as a pool heating source extends the pool season longer with less expense and a lower carbon footprint than gas or electric heaters.
Whether you already own a pool and are looking to upgrade or are a getting a pool for the first time, adding a heating system is a great investment in year-round enjoyment. Let’s examine the pros and cons of traditional heaters vs. solar pool heating.
Electric Pool Heater
Electric pool heaters combine air and electricity to heat and will maintain consistent water temperature if the ambient temperature stays within 5-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Electric heaters heat a pool quickly and efficiently and can be the preferred choice for the occasional pool user. While electric offers some benefits, consider that they cost more money to operate year-round; anywhere from $200 - $1000. Along with higher costs, electric heating systems only last about ten years, less than half as long as solar pool heaters.
Pool Heat Pump
Pool heat pumps pull warm air from the atmosphere to heat the pool. This makes them cost-effective and relatively energy efficient. Compared with gas and electric, heat pumps are more durable and have lower operating costs. The disadvantages to pool heat pumps? They only run if the air temperature stays above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so they cannot provide year-round heating.
Natural Gas Pool Heater
Gas-fired pool heaters can be a good option assuming you already have a natural gas hookup on your property. It heats a pool quickly and less expensively than electricity or propane. However, it packs less of an energy punch compared with propane and uses comparatively more fuel to heat the water. If you are concerned about environmental impact, you should know that natural gas is fossil fuel-derived and considered a greenhouse gas. The lifespan of a natural gas pool heater is about five years, about one-third of the life of a solar panel pool heater.
Propane Pool Heater
Propane gas pool heaters cost less to purchase than other pool options. They heat rapidly and do not rely on air temperatures to operate. What they save buyers on the front end, however, is outweighed by disadvantages such as high operating costs tied to rising gas prices, environmental unfriendliness and lack of energy efficiency. The propane tank is unsightly and must be refilled regularly. Like natural gas heaters, the lifespan of a propane heating unit is about one-third that of solar pool heating.
There are many options for pool heating systems to consider. If your goal is to enjoy your pool year-round without additional expenses or stressful maintenance, solar panel heating may be the right choice for you.