How to heat your pool affordably year-round
Have you every wondered whether having a pool actually helps or hinders the appeal and value of your property investment? Australia is one of the hottest nations on earth and people love having a refreshing pool to dip into during the warmer months.
It’s the winter season that can make sure your pool unusable for months at a time.
For many, trans-seasonal pool heating is the solution, with a range of pool heating solutions to choose from, depending on your budget, location and lifestyle.
“While pool water predominantly hovers around 18-20 degree Celsius, it takes a designated heating system to bump it up to where we like it most – around 25-29 degrees,” says Chris Fitzmaurice, national manager for Swimart.
“Installing the right pool heater can extend your swimming season by up to four months and beyond, thus increasing the return on what was undoubtedly a fairly large investment in your pool.”
Advancements in technology and manufacturing have resulted in lower costs to heat your pool – and remember that if the pool in question relates to an investment property, the costs involved in heating the pool may be tax deductible.
There are three main heating options to choose from – solar, gas and heat pumps:
Heating your pool through solar
The most environmentally friendly option to heat your pool is by harnessing he energy of the sun, by using solar.
Unlike other pool heaters on the market, solar pays for itself in just a few years. After the initial setup cost, the ongoing running expenses are minimal as heat is provided free from the sun. This allows you (or your tenant) to increase the amount of time you spend in your pool without worrying about expensive energy bills.
Solar systems are a low cost method to heat up your pool and have virtually no ongoing operating costs, either for you as the owner or for your tenant. Solar heating systems are also simple to maintain.
Note that if your investment property is located in a climate that doesn’t get a great deal of sunlight or it is in a particularly shady suburb, a solar system may not be a viable option.
Heating your pool through heat pumps
Reliable, highly efficient and economical to run, heat pumps extract heat from the air in a similar way to a reverse cycle air conditioner. They then use that heat to produce hot water.
“Compared to gas and electric element heating, heat pumps use just a fraction of the energy to generate the same amount of heat,” Fitzmaurice says.
“Although initially heat pumps take longer than gas heaters to warm up the pool or spa water, they are much more economical and will then maintain the heating as well as gas heaters.”
Benefits of heat pumps include their high-energy efficiency and lower running costs. As a guide, Fitzmaurice says you can save up to 80% over LPG and 50% over natural gas fuelled heaters.
One of the disadvantages of this type of system, however, is that they can lose their high-energy efficiency slightly when the weather cools down, as the pump has to work harder to heat the water against the outside temperature. Heat pumps can also be expensive to initially install.
Heating your pool through gas
Gas heaters are the fastest method on the market for heating your pool, providing a comfortable temperature for swimming on demand. In Fitzmaurice’s view, they could extend your swimming season all year round, as they can heat pool water much faster than a solar or heat pump system can.
In fact, they will heat the pool water up to 40oC, no matter how cold the climate is, using natural gas or LPG.
The system is simple to use, however is can be expensive to run compared with the other options.
Ultimately, the best choice for your situation will depend on your property’s location, climate, and the size of the pool you wish to heat. If in doubt, speak to a pool professional about which type of pool heater is best suited to your area and application.