Swimming in a pool is one of the most relaxing things you could do after a long day. It’s also a great activity you’re just looking to distress and get a bit of exercise in. Unfortunately, it can be a bit of a bummer if the pool is uncomfortably cold!
While it may not be an issue mid summer, if you are trying to swim in the spring or even in the fall then there’s a good chance the water may be too cold for comfort.
Fortunately, there are several ways to heat up your pool. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each approach, including when each one may be a good/bad choice, and an approximate cost.
1. Pool Heater
A pool heater is the first choice that comes to mind for most people, and they typically work well for both above ground and inground pools. You can’t really go wrong with a pool heater, as they work in all situations and for all types of pools.
You can expect these to cost around $1,o00-$2,500 which is definitely not cheap, but is a lower up front cost than pool heat pumps (which we’ll talk about below). However, pool heaters are typically less energy efficient and are more expensive to use.
Pool heaters are great for all types of situations and climates, and can be used to extend the swimming season beyond just summer. If you think a pool heater is best for you, we invite you to take a look at these set of reviews on various pool heaters.
2. Pool Heat Pumps
Pool heat pumps are not as numerous as pool heaters, but they are rapidly gaining popularity. Although they can be about $2,000-$3,5000, the long term running costs are much cheaper.
This is because they use the ambient air and don’t require as much electricity and gas (as some pool heaters require). If you’re really environmentally conscious then these are great options because they use less energy.
Unfortunately, they’re not perfect and not for everybody. Pool heat pumps are really only available for inground pools, so if you have an above ground pool then heat pumps aren’t a viable option. Additionally, pool heat pumps require the temperature to be at least 50 degrees, since they use the surrounding air. Anything lower than that and they won’t really work.
This means that if your climate is on the colder side, then pool heat pumps may not be for you. Though they work just as well in warm temperature, they are better used to heat up a pool in already acceptable weather conditions for swimming.
3. Solar Pool Covers
Solar pool covers are very different from the two above choices. They are the cheapest (about $100), and the most energy efficient. In fact, they don’t require any energy since a solar pool cover consists of a few layers of plastic.
Don’t worry, you’re not just paying for unimpressive sheets of plastic. There is a bit of technology and research behind these pool heating blankets. In fact, they are specifically designed to trap heat from the sun and keep it from escaping your pool.
These covers also reduce evaporation, which is how a lot of heat escapes from pools. There are a TON of other benefits to reducing evaporation, but we won’t go further down that route.
Like pool heat pumps, solar pool covers aren’t for cooler climates. Since they require energy and heat from the sun, they are best used in warm climates. Surprisingly, they can easily boost the water temperature 5 to 10 degrees, depending on the climate.
Overall, they’re a great choice, but you don’t have a lot of control over them unlike pool heaters and heat pumps which you can control with a control panel.
4. Pool Enclosures
Pool enclosures work very similarly to solar pool covers. They trap the solar energy like a greenhouse and are very effective at trapping heat, warming up the area around your pool and your swimming pool.
Pool enclosures also act as an insulator retaining the heat gain. Like with solar pool covers, pool enclosures will heat up your pool and pool area when the sun is out or even on a cloudy day. But you can set a temperature for the pool water or pool area like you can with heaters and pumps, but it’s still very effective and you can expect a 15 to 30 plus degree difference from the outside temperature.
Although increased pool temperature isn’t the main reason you’d get a pool enclosure, it’s certainly a great benefit. There are actually a TON of reasons to get pool enclosures. For a list of some other reasons look at our section on Automatic Pool Enclosure Benefits.
We can’t say there is a best choice, as each option serves different needs.
We encourage you to purchase a pool heat pump for temperate regions and pool heaters for cold regions and in some case both, if you really want to be able to swim whenever you want, no matter what the weather conditions are. However, if you have an inground pool and live in a warmer climate, pool heat pumps are the best choice for you. This is because they are cheaper to run and can still be used to heat up your pool throughout most of the year (especially if you live in California or Florida!).
Finally, solar pool covers are great if you’re extremely environmentally conscious, want a low up front cost, and don’t mind depending on solar energy to heat up your pool. You’ll lack the ability to control the water temperature, but at a fraction of the cost of the other 2 choices, solar pool covers can definitely be worth it.
Hopefully we were able to provide a little bit of insight about various ways to heat up your pool. It’s up to you to decide on what’s best for you, but if you have any questions feel free to drop us a question in the comments section. Thanks for reading!