There are 3 ways to heat your pool:
- Gas heat, which is what most people have to rapidly heat their spa.
- Electrical heat, which is more energy efficient, but slow and steady.
- Solar heat, which is the most efficient, most practical and virtually FREE way to heat your pool for the life of the system which is 15 to 30 years with proper maintenance.
Gas Heat – this option is usually included with Unique Custom Pools spa installation which can also be used to heat your pool. We’ve had customers use this heater to warm up their pool up to 85 degrees for a February swim party (Super Bowl parties, etc), but this can easily run you $300 – $500 for the month! Our gas heaters usually come with a price tag of around $2000, completely installed and programmed, plus any gas line runs which can easily get up to $1000 quickly. This is probably the way to go for most people who may or may not heat a pool for a few days in the off season. It’s a small investment that can be done quickly with little notice.
Heat Pump – Electric heat – this is the $6K option that is much more efficient and uses electricity. Heat pumps are mainly used to “maintain” a pool at a constant temperature and they do it quite well. Imagine getting into April, the pool water is high 60’s and you want to get it to 80 degrees for opening the pool. The heat pump is the way to go. It may take a few days but once it’s there, it can maintain 80 for extended periods of time for a cost of a few hundred dollars a month. It’s like running your AC to your house. The benefit to a heat/cool “heat pump” is that is has a “COOL OFF” mode where it can actually COOL your water in the summer time. Imagine your 92 degree water in late July not quite refreshing, right? Well, kick on the Heat pump and it will cool the water to the magic number (80 degrees) for an incredibly refreshing swim. Heat pumps do not work well when the temperature is below 75 degrees so it’s very difficult to heat your pool in December and January to any comfortable level. Also, since heat pumps can take days and weeks to heat a pool they are useless as a “spa heater”. It could take days to heat the spa, and would only get to 90 degrees or so.
SOLAR – Solar is clearly the largest upfront investment in any swimming pool heating method. Costs depend on the size of your pool. This system actually has to be custom designed for your pool and has many variables in this design. A good rule of thumb is to try to cover at least 50% of your pool surface are with solar panels – this will extend your swim season by about 1.5 to 2.5 months. If you add solar panels and get your pool up to 100% coverage then you can easily extend the swim season by 3 months! A solar setup costs about $20/s.f. of solar panels and a standard size pool has around 400 s.f. To cover a typical pool 50%, you’d invest around $5000 and 100% coverage would be closer to $8,500. Now, do you have to do it when you build your pool? Absolutely not! But you have to plan for it and Unique Companies can help you do so! In most of our pool plumbing layouts we’ll already factor a (solar loop) and our Easytouch/Suntouch systems (the electrical panel & remote) have temperature sensors and programming to handle solar with ease! The only thing I can suggest is maybe having our solar rep out to see WHERE your panels would go and Unique should run the pipes to this location (which is part of the solar loop). This way, the pipes are all ready to run up the house and onto the roof so there is no need for digging up the yard later.