Whilst many people enjoy the freshness of an unheated pool, most home pool owners in the UK will agree that a heated pool is used so very much more. Hey, if you've got a pool, you want to enjoy it as much as possible don't you?
There are many ways to heat your pool, but how do you decide which is the one (or more) for your particular situation?
The main factors people usually consider boil down ('scuse the pun!) to the following. It is not possible for us to answer 'What's the best way to heat my pool?' without you first considering some of these:
Nobody wants to pay more than they need, but the cheapest products are more likely to give you future expense on running costs, repair frequency, and early replacement costs. As a general guide, the less power used, the better for the environment:
Heat Pumps take the heat from the ambient air (NOT from the sunshine!), so are very effective for a sustained even temperature. More advanced Heat Pumps take heat from colder air, so giving you a longer swimming season. They work with the same principle as your fridge - cold goes one way and heat the other. Generally these are more expensive to buy, but the lower power usage gives cheaper running costs than the Power heaters below. These are very attractive if using for more than 3 or 4 years. Watch this space for the latest developments in Ground Source Heat Pumps, which take the Heat from several metres below the ground.
Gas (Mains or Bottled), Oil or Electric Power Heaters heat the water faster, so if you want to vary the temperature much during the year, or want a quick start to the swimming temperature, this might be your best choice. On the down side, you may have higher running costs than with a heat pump.
Electric Heat Exchangers work with your own House Boiler. Imagine an extra radiator where the heat is transferred to the circulating pool water. As long as the pipe run to the pool is within 10 or 15 metres, this could be a viable low cost option initially, although the running cost would higher in the long run due to the cost of running the boiler.
Solar Panels will give you the free heat as you would expect. So what's the catch? You are relying on the British weather, so usually this is fine for just the Summer months, but less effective off the peak season.
Many people mix two or more of the above pool heating systems, using the free heat from the Summer sun and other heating to extend the swimming season from Easter to Autumn, or longer, but in all cases we do recommend you minimise heat loss with the best Heat Retention Cover