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HEATING YOUR POOL
Your pool won’t contribute to your health or pleasure unless it’s warm enough to swim in
and when you want to swim. Heating your pool will enable you to get the
maximum value out of your investment by allowing you to
use your pool more often while
the most comfortable water temperatures possible
How warm you keep your pool is, of course, entirely up to you.
Competitive swimmers prefer a
temperature of 78º F while recreational swimmers are generally more comfortable near 80º F,
the young and elderly closer to 82ºF. The sun alone usually can’t keep your pool water at that
comfort minimum of 78º F. By having a heater to warm your water you can add substantially
to the daily use of your pool and extend your swimming season.
How long you can “stretch” the swim season depends on the climate in your area, the type of
pool heating system you use and whether you use a pool cover. It’s safe to say that in most
cases the swim season can be doubled (or better) with a heater or heat pump and cover.
Heating your pool won’t only extend your season- it will allow you to swim more often “in
In Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Seattle, for example, even the July - August average
mean temperatures are usually below 75º F and moderate heating would be essential for
comfortable swimming. By contrast, average mean temperatures in summer are high and
sustained. But "real" weather has a tendency to vary a lot from the mean, so it’s a good idea to
rely on a heater to brighten up the cool spots and lengthen the swimming season.
There are several methods available to heat your pool, from the sun itself to: gas, oil and
electric fired heaters, electric heat pumps and solar heating systems. The cost of these
systems varies quite a bit. First, there is the initial or one-time cost of the heater you select and
its hook-up or installation charge. Second, there is the monthly energy cost, which varies with
the type of heating system you buy, the use of your pool, the pool water temperature you
prefer and other variables. Third, there is the matter of annual maintenance and service.
Operating costs can be kept to a minimum by installing an efficient, properly sized heater;
using a good quality pool cover; and, of course, keeping your filter clean and your heating and
filtering system well maintained. Your pool professional will help you in choosing the heating
system that best suits your budget, geographic region and lifestyle.
Heaters are sized mainly on the basis of the pool surface area and the difference between the
pool and air temperatures. The average air temperature for the coldest month of pool use is
used in the calculation. The heating load could also be affected by such things as excessive
wind exposure or much cooler night temperatures than daytime air temperatures; in those
cases a heater with more capacity may be desirable. Another factor which may determine the
size of the heater you will need is the way you intend to use your pool. There are two common
pool heating practices - "constant" temperature maintenance and "intermittent" heating. These
are determined by how you want your pool heated
continually or on an intermittent basis.
To heat a pool quickly after periods of intermittent shutdown, a larger heater is needed. And in
colder climates a larger than standard size heater also is recommended for "constant" heating.
Maintaining pool temperature requires the same amount of fuel regardless of the heater size.
For intermittent heating however, a larger heater actually saves fuel because it brings the pool
to temperature more quickly. Again, your pool professional will be able to guide you in
choosing a properly sized heater for your needs.