What are the Heating Options for an Inground Gunite Pool?
With the Northeast’s long, chilly winters, having a pool heater is an essential way to extend the swimming season and maximize the return on your investment in owning a pool. However, many pool owners worry about the costs associated with operating a heater and wonder which type will work most effectively for their needs. To help determine which type of heater is right for your inground gunite pool, here is an overview of the main options available:
Electric heat pumps
This type of heater uses a small amount of energy to transfer heat from the outdoors into the water. Therefore, they tend to work best when the outside air temperature is at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, although some newer pumps are equipped with technology that enables them to effectively heat the pool in cooler weather.
While the average costs of purchasing and installing an electric heat pump are higher than gas heaters, they are less expensive to operate in the long run. On average, they consume little energy and cost between $50 to $100 per month to use, making electric heat pumps a cost-effective, environmentally friendly option for heating your pool. In fact, when sized properly, they should pay for themselves over time. Electric heat pumps are also the recommended choice if you want to keep your pool at a set temperature year-round, as they offer a “set-it-and-forget-it” method of heating.
Gas-fired pool heaters
Gas-fired pool heaters use either natural gas or propane, which is burned in the heater’s combustion chamber to heat the water before transferring it back into the pool. Compared to electric heat pumps, the main advantage of gas heaters is that they can heat the water quickly regardless of outside temperature. This makes them the better option if you only use your pool periodically, or if you want to use the same heater for an attached spa. However, gas heaters are less energy-efficient and therefore more expensive to operate.
Solar pool heaters
As the most environmentally friendly option, solar pool heaters warm your pool using thermal energy from the sun. Pool water is pumped through a filter and through solar energy collectors, which are typically mounted on the roof of your home, before being returned to the pool. The average upfront costs of installing solar heaters range from $2,500 to $4,000, but they are relatively inexpensive to operate as the only energy usage comes from pumping the water to the solar energy collectors. In addition, you may be able to offset your costs by claiming a solar tax credit. Other considerations include the fact that solar heaters tend to require a significant amount of space, as well as the fact that they won’t work well in cloudy weather or overnight.
The right heater can help you make the most of your pool, ensuring a comfortable water temperature whenever you want to swim. To learn more about the different options available, call our pool experts today at (860) 623-9886!