“Heating your pool means you’ll get more enjoyment from your investment. No wonder pool heating is rapidly becoming more popular”

We own our pools for twelve months of the year, yet we only use them for seven – by slightly heating up the water one can almost swim all year round. 

Most pools are situated near to the house and are in the perfect position to utilise the sun to heat up the water. There are a number of different ways to warm pool water, with the solar version being the most cost effective in the long run.

By warming up the water by five to 10 degrees, your swimming time will be stretched by a number of weeks or even months on either side of summer. The warmer pool water also allows you to swim later into the night. Young children can also swim for longer and not worry about catching the common cold because they are freezing. 

Many pools get very little sun during the day and remain relatively cold, so heating up the water in one way or another can be beneficial.

Gas and Electric Heaters (Heat Pumps)

Gas and electric pool heaters can be switched on and off at will or operated by an automatic timing device and are all thermostatically controlled. The heater may be on a separate circuit with its own pump and timer or connected to the pool’s filtration system, placed after the filter. This means the water is filtered before being warmed, thereby protecting the heater from algae and debris. This helps prolong the heater’s life.

The main advantage of gas and electric pool heaters stems from their ability to heat the pool at any time. That is, unlike solar heaters, they don’t rely on the sun. With a combination of a good quality pool cover and gas or electric heating, it’s possible to swim all year round. While there are various makes of gas and electric pool heaters available, it’s advisable to choose one from a reliable manufacturer who specialises in pool heating.

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Solar Heating

A solar pool heater draws on the sun’s energy, making it environmentally friendly and virtually free to run except when fitted on a separate circuit with its own pump. A solar heater will increase the number of swim days by a surprising amount, in some cases doubling the number of months the pool is suitable for swimming. 

Pool solar differs from normal household solar units. It uses slim, flexible strips that fit unobtrusively onto your roof. There’s no collector tank, the pool solar system is there. The amount of solar heating you need depends on where you live, which direction your roof faces, pool size and the desired water temperature (usually around 24-25 degrees).

There’s a formula for working all this out which is calculated for you by your pool installer or solar heating supplier. Just a word of warning - some claims for cheap solar heating systems may lead to disappointment. Talk to a NSPI member for assurance and satisfaction.

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Penguin Pools - Solar Heating

Why Pools Cool Down

Over 90% of a pool’s heat loss is from the surface, there’s very little heat loss from the sides and bottom. Heat loss is due to a combination of evaporation, convection and radiation.

Considerable heat loss occurs at the surface of the pool through evaporation. This is a continuous process, even during times when the sky is cloudy. As water changes from a liquid to a vapour, there’s a transfer of energy involving heat. The heat is drawn form the water, making it cooler.

Convection occurs when the air moves over the surface of the water and removes heat. When it’s windy, for example, and the air temperature is cooler than the water temperature, more heat is lost. This is similar to blowing on a hot drink to make it cooler. Radiation occurs when the air temperature is lower than the water temperature. The heat in the pool radiates into the atmosphere, lowering the temperature of the pool water. 

Pool Covers

The simplest way to conserve the heat in a pool is to use a pool cover. Pool covers virtually eliminate evaporation and are also effective in reducing heat loss through convection and radiation. They are supplied by a number of manufacturers and are available from pool shops. Some types are attached to storage rollers, making it easy to remove the cover and store out of sight when the pool is being used. 

Pool Blankets

Solar pool blankets can reduce evaporation by up to 97%. They keep water in the pool between 8 and 10 degrees warmer, thereby extending the swimming season by several months. As well as being quick, easy and effective to use, pool owners will have impressive savings on pool chemicals and water loss through evaporation.

How does a solar pool blanket work?

Short wavelength solar energy passes easily through the blanket (generating heat like a magnifying glass). This heat is retained by the insulating qualities of the blanket’s air pockets, meaning the blanket can heat up and cool down quickly and not waste solar energy heating itself or staying warm. It’s safe to say, whatever type of indoor or outdoor pool or spa you have, a solar blanket will soon pay for itself. 

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