Taking a dip in a swimming pool is a luxurious way to relax, whether you’re doing it at the height of summer or during the colder months. During the warmer days, you’ll want the water to be nice and cool, to help you cool down, while in winter a nice warm welcome into the pool is the perfect antidote to chilly temperatures. But how are swimming pool temperatures controlled?
Gas Pumps for Pools
Gas heaters generate heat by burning either propane or natural gas inside a combustion chamber. These are historically the most widely used pool-heating units, but innovations in technology and efficiency mean that their popularity has decreased in recent years. Some of the benefits of gas heaters include:
- Inexpensive purchase price
- Not affected by air temperature
- Quick heating times
Some drawbacks of gas heaters are:
- Expensive to run
- Relatively low energy efficiency
- Short lifespan (avg. 5 years)
- Quite significant emission levels
Heat Pumps for Pools
There are two types of heat pump: air-sourced and water-sourced, drawing heat from the air and water respectively to heat a pool. Powered by electricity, these pumps are extremely popular, thanks to their efficiency. Benefits of heat pumps include:
- High efficiency
- Low running costs
- Long lifespan (10-20 years)
- Water-source pumps are unaffected by air temperature
- They use renewable energy sources and contribute zero emissions
For all the benefits, there are also some disadvantages:
- Expensive purchase price
- Air-source pumps are dependent on air temperature, so they are not ideal for cooler climates
- They heat the pool relatively slowly – you must start heating the pool well in advance
Solar Heaters for Pools
Solar technology is becoming more and more popular, used in homes and businesses across the world. This technology can be used for a number of applications, and heating a swimming pool is one of many. Some of the reasons solar heating has become so popular include:
- No monthly operating costs once it has been purchased and installed
- Extremely energy efficient
- Lasts for 15 to 20 years
- The most environmentally friendly heating method available
There are some negatives to solar heaters, too:
- Purchase price is expensive
- As the name suggests, it depends on sunlight – will not operate at night or in cloudy weather
- Slow to heat the pool
- The panels themselves can prove somewhat unsightly
There are several things you need to be aware of when choosing your swimming pool boiler. The energy source should be your primary consideration, as this will play a significant role in your monthly energy payments, and the speed at which your pool heats up. Some energy sources are also incompatible with certain climates, so be sure to choose correctly!
The size of the pool can also affect the amount of money you spend running certain heaters. For example, if you have a bigger pool, an electric heater will use a huge amount of electricity warming it up, so consider an alternative, perhaps an oil-fired boiler.
If you opt for a heater that works independently of air temperature, then whether you install it indoors or outdoors has no effect on the efficiency. For air-sourced pumps, being situated outdoors in cooler climates hampers the efficiency, sometimes making it impossible for it heat the pool.
What servicing requirements are there?
As with a lot of appliances, ensuring your pool heater is serviced regularly is important for its efficiency and the safety of those in your property. Both the Gas Regulations and manufacturers of pool heaters recommend annual servicing, and for some manufacturers, this regular servicing is a condition of the guarantee.
If the boiler is being installed in a rental property, then it is the duty of the landlord under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 to ensure it is maintained and serviced annually by a Gas Safe-registered engineer.
As you can see, there are a number of options for heating your pool, with each one offering different advantages and disadvantages. There are certain factors, such as where you live and the kind of climate you live in that may mean some heaters are not feasible, but there is an ideal unit for every property.
Upgrading An Old Pool Heater
If there’s still some life left in your existing system, you may actually find benefit from installing an energy efficient option alongside and then switching to that as the primary provider of heat. This will mean the running of it will be cheaper (as newer models tend to be more energy efficient) but also should it ever falter, you’ll still have a backup solution allowing for continued heat function during the repair window.
VHL are experts in installing, servicing and maintaining boilers from the leading manufacturers in the market for domestic and commercial customers alike. This extends to pools too! For more information, please get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to help.