If you are fortunate enough to enjoy a swimming pool on your property, you are probably aware of the fact that maintenance and upkeep can cost a pretty penny. And perhaps the greatest expense comes from keeping the water in your pool heated and ready for use. While there is some debate about what temperature you should set your water at, most people find that somewhere in the low to mid-80s (degrees Fahrenheit) range is suitable, although some people prefer water cooler or warmer. The problem is that you have to contend with the air temperature when heating your pool, which can make it difficult to maintain. And of course, you need to consider ways in which you can enjoy the temperate water that makes swimming fun without paying an arm and a leg for the privilege. Here are some swimming pool heating basics that should help.
- Heat according to usage. There seems to be a common myth that keeping your pool heated is less expensive than turning the heater on and off. However, this depends largely on usage. If you use your pool on a daily basis, this could actually be true. Taking your pool from cold to hot takes time and abundant energy. So turning it on in the morning and off at night is bound to be more expensive than simply leaving it running. But if you only use it on the weekends or for special occasions, for example, you can definitely save money by turning it off when not in use.
- Self-heating surfaces. If you want to heat your pool water naturally, at least to some extent, you can use the power of the sun, and the surface of your pool could make a difference. If your pool has dark tiles, for example, they’ll suck up the heat of the sun and radiate it back into the water, helping to warm it without the aid of electricity or gas. So if you’re building a pool or resurfacing the one you have, you might want to opt for self-heating surfaces. You might also consider using solar panels to provide additional energy needed to heat your pool water.
- Heat pumps. You’ve probably heard of heat pumps for homes that use a constant ground temperature to set a base from which your home heater or air conditioner can regulate the temperature in your house using less energy. Heat pumps for pools work on the same basic principle, drawing in outside air to heat the water for your pool. This will require electricity rather than gas, but it could save you money on your utility bills.
- Solar pool covers. When you cook a roast in the oven, you often cover it with foil so that the heat radiates back into the pan rather than escaping through the top, ensuring that the meat cooks all the way through. Solar pool covers offer a similar concept for your pool. When you blanket the surface of your pool to keep it from coming into contact with the outside air, you help to keep the heat in the water rather than allowing it to escape, reducing heating costs in the process.
- Winterizing your pool. The onset of winter weather probably means that you won’t be taking a dip for a few months. But while the desire for carefree solutions may dictate draining your pool for the winter, it’s actually better from a maintenance standpoint to keep water in it, provided you don’t let it freeze. No amount of pool heating tips can make the decision for you, but informed homeowners generally feel that it’s best to simply winterize the pool, dropping the temperature and keeping it covered for the duration of the season, checking in monthly for maintenance purposes.