A swimming pool can be a godsend when it comes to avoiding the brutal heat of the average Australian summer, but for year-round poolside bliss you will want to install some kind of pool heater. These water heating devices can derive their power from a number of sources, with traditional gas and electrically models being joined more recently by greener, solar-powered variants.
However, while you have a wide variety of choice when it comes to choosing your pool heater, not every choice is equal. Each of these pool heater types comes with its own individual pros and cons, so make sure that the heater you choose is well-suited to your needs, and the needs of your pool, before you invest in one.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Electric Pool Heaters
Electric pool heaters are relatively simple devices, which pass electrical current through a heating element to generate heat and transfer it to your pool water.
This simplicity comes with a number of advantages; perhaps most importantly, they are cheap, and can be purchased for much less than a similarly powerful gas or solar powered version. Simplicity also makes for a less complicated installation process, and means that less parts and technical know-how are required to fix your heater if it should ever malfunction or become damaged.
Since electric pool heaters are closed devices, they can also function well regardless of weather conditions and ambient temperatures.
Electric pool heaters also produce no emissions, so you might also be fooled into thinking they are environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, they are quite inefficient about using their power, especially compared to gas heaters, and require significant amounts of energy (and money) to run.
Most electric pool heaters are therefore limited to servicing smaller pools, spas, hot tubs and therapy pools. As well as being expensive to run, these heaters also require heavy duty wiring and circuit breakers to be installed, so you may find that they cost more to install than other types of heater.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Gas Pool Heaters
Depending on the specific model you choose, these heaters are fuelled by either natural or propane gases, which are burned inside a sealed combustion chamber and transfer heat to your pool water through heating coils.
Gas pool heaters are the heater of choice if you want a warm pool fast, and they can be expected to heat even the largest swimming pool faster than either electric or solar powered heaters. Despite this raw heating power, they are generally significantly cheaper to purchase, install and run than electric pool heaters, and are just as capable of running properly during inclement weather.
Unfortunately, gas pool heaters may not be so cheap to run forever, and steadily rising gas prices makes these heaters slightly more expensive to run each year; Purchasing gas for your heater in bulk can help you sidestep this issue, as long as you have a safe and secure place in which to store it. The immense heat produced by the combustion within a gas heater also tends to shorten the heater's lifespan, so you may find that these heaters need servicing more often that electric or solar powered models.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Pool Heaters
As you have no doubt guessed, these heaters are powered by collecting energy from sunlight using solar panels, and heat the pool water as it is pumped through the panels. These heaters can be a tremendous boon for the environmentally conscious, as they do not produce any emissions and do not run off of mains electricity.
Solar heaters are also attractive if you're more economically conscious, since they cost absolutely nothing to run. Additionally, they can be expected to function optimally for many years, even with minimal maintenance.
Before you pull out your pocketbook, however, be aware that solar heaters, while cheap to run, can be quite expensive to buy. Installation costs may also be a problem if you are on a tight budget, as you will have to install a number of solar panels along with a pump to efficiently move the heated water; the more solar panels you have, the faster your pool water will heat.
Solar heaters are also highly reliant on good weather and will not heat water nearly as effectively during cloudy weather or the darker, cooler winter months. At night, they are incapable of functioning at all, so consider other options (or install a gas or electric powered backup heater) if you consider yourself a night owl.
Hopefully this blog will help you decide which type of pool heater is most suitable for your swimming needs. However, if you need more advice, have any other questions about purchasing and installing a pool heater, or are looking for a price estimate, don't hesitate to contact us.