Owning a home pool is a delightful thing. All things considered, a pool is an extraordinary family gathering point, and a scene for many fun-filled pool parties spent with friends and family. With a pool, you can enjoy a loosening-up plunge, or engage in full-body exercise, whenever you want, all in the comfort of your home.
In Newcastle, where summer is of short duration, you only have a small portion of the year to use your pool. With pool heating, however, you can extend this. The availability of heated pool water even during the cold autumn and winter months means continued pool fun and relaxation for you and your family.
Benefits of having a pool heater
Year-round pool use
If the colder months in Newcastle leave you feeling deprived of the benefits of having your own pool at home, getting a swimming pool with a heater is the answer. Having a heated pool means you can comfortably swim for the greater part of the year. Moreover, you can take a dip anytime, morning, noon or night. You will also have more opportunities to bond with your family at the pool, as well as spending more holidays and special celebrations… poolside. What’s not to love about that?
Improve your health
One of the most pleasurable ways to get healthy and remain that way is by swimming a few laps in a pool. Swimming is an excellent workout no matter your age or capability, and it really benefits the cardiovascular system. It does not stress the joints or bones, so even the elderly can benefit from this activity. Having a heated pool takes these benefits further, as warm water is known to be therapeutic, anti-inflammatory, and helpful to the respiratory system.
Relax and de-stress
Taking a dip or simply floating on a warm, comfortable pool can immediately take you from stressed to blissfully de-stressed. As you go through each hectic day, you can always look forward to coming home to your heated pool. There’s no limit to how long you can stay, just dive in and let the water melt your troubles away.
Types of pool heaters
With regard to warming your backyard pool, in Australia, there are three kinds of heaters that are commonly used: solar-powered, electrical and gas-controlled.
At present, solar heaters are the most popular equipment for pool heating and the least expensive heaters to operate in Australia. This is because solar heaters make use of free solar energy when deriving their power.
Solar-powered heaters are highly favoured as they are a financially-savvy long-term choice, as well as being a key asset in the fight for sustainable, clean energy. This means they are a safe and wise choice if you want a heater that is both functional and supports an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Solar collectors (which assimilate heat from the sun) are mounted on a rooftop, or a little rack is used wherever there is the greatest concentration of sunlight. Pool water is then siphoned through the sun collectors and goes back to the pool as heated water. During particularly bright and sunny days, a solar heater can reliably increase pool temperature by about two degrees.
These, understandably, work best in spots that get a lot of daylight to guarantee they generate satisfactory levels of heat for as many months of the year as possible. For the best results, solar collectors should preferably be mounted on a southern section of your rooftop.
The number of solar collectors needed depends upon the pool size and the location of the roof designated for the solar panels. On the off chance that you are going to mount them in a spot which doesn’t get any southern exposure, you may need to install more solar collectors to augment their effectiveness. Do note, however, that a correctly-sized solar pool heating system will give you pool temperatures that are significantly higher than those of unheated pools year-round, so they are certainly worth installing.
Common problems with solar heaters and solutions:
- A solar-powered heater that appears to have stopped working or isn’t warming the pool water may require filter cleaning. To keep this issue from happening over and over again, make certain to check filters consistently and replace them as required.
- If there are issues with the weather such as when the sky is frequently or always cloudy, you will need to wait until the solar collectors have had about four to six hours of direct sun exposure before you can try using your heater.
Considered the costliest pool-heating option, the gas-controlled type is, nevertheless, the most reliable and consistent choice. A gas pool heater can keep the temperature of your swimming pool water at practically any setting, any day of the year.
You can utilise either petroleum gas or fluid propane as fuel for a gas heater. With this, you needn’t rely upon daylight unlike solar-powered heaters, which might be rendered useless during chilly, cloudy days. A gas pool heater also doesn’t rely upon the air temperature when it comes to the manner in which it warms water, unlike an electrical heater.
On the off chance that you have a pool and spa combination, a gas heater would be your most logical option. Spas require a specific stable temperature when used for therapy and relaxation. Since spas are fundamentally utilised for hydrotherapy, and are intended to diminish aches and pains, temperature stability is significant.
A gas heating system is likewise ready to warm water rapidly so it works incredibly well for those occasions when you have to utilise your pool in a rush.
There are a few drawbacks to utilising a gas heater, however.
First of all, gas is not clean energy. It is unsustainable and definitely not eco-friendly. Gas is also costly, so be ready for this if you select this option. You may decide to utilise a gas heater as a reinforcement or backup system for their solar heater when solar power is insufficient.
Common problems with gas heaters and solutions:
- If the pilot is not lit up, be sure to check if the gas pressure is normal. You need to make sure that there is no problem or blockage in the vents.
- If there is a problem with the heat pump light, check if the heater switch is on. Ensure the thermostat setting is at a higher temperature than the temperature of the pool water.
- If the water does not seem to be warming fast enough, check the thermostat and ensure it is at the correct setting for the temperature you want. If you have a new heater, you also need to make sure the heater you are using is at the correct size for your pool. Else, you may just need to get your heater checked for any internal issues.
- If your heater is leaking, check the connections as well as the gaskets. If anything is damaged, get it replaced. If there is no problem with the gaskets and connections, have the heat exchanger checked as well. Pool chemicals and very low temperatures can damage this part. But if it leaks while the burner is lit, the problem may be due to too much air flow or condensation build-up. Whatever the issue, never attempt to fix the problem yourself. Call a professional technician to diagnose and solve the problem for you.
- Rusty pool water may be caused by the corrosion of heater elements. Pool chemical balance also needs to be checked as any imbalance can cause corrosion or rusting.
Electric heat pumps are also a popular choice among pool owners in Australia.
A heat pump works by recycling energy from the air. This makes them a smart solution for your pool-warming needs. Each heat pump has a fan that collects outside air and then runs it over an evaporator coil, then through a heat exchanger. The pool pump then circulates the swimming pool water (drawn from the pool), which then passes through a filter and the heat pump water heater.
An electrical pool-heating device can be a superior choice over a solar-powered heater, for example. In contrast to solar power collectors, a heat pump can keep gathering heat from the air even around evening time or during cloudy weather. It can likewise warm pool water a lot quicker than a solar-powered heater could.
Be that as it may, an electric-powered pool heater still relies upon the air in your area, unlike a gas pool heater which does not depend on either the sun or air to heat pool water. Another disadvantage of utilising a heat pump is the need for a dedicated or separate electrical cable, and a 40-amp breaker at a minimum. This obviously depends upon how large the pool heat pump is. Keep in mind that utilising a heat pump requires a significant amount of power, which can mean higher electricity bills for you.
This is why electric pool heaters have become increasingly costly to run and are less eco-friendly when compared to solar heaters. However, when compared to gas heaters, heating costs for heat pumps are usually 50 to 75 percent cheaper.
Common problems with heat pumps and solutions:
- For low water flow, check to ensure that the valves are totally open. They should be completely open to get enough water coursing through the pump. Additionally, check the filter to see if this also needs to be cleaned.
- When the pump stops running or there is no power, first check all power sources. Check all connections as well as the breaker. If the fault is caused by faulty wiring, call an electrician to check and fix the problem for you. Do not attempt to DIY this.
- If the heater is not producing any heat, check if the thermostat is set at a higher temperature than that of the pool water. Check the external temperature as well because heat pumps should only be used only with temperatures exceeding 50°F or 10°C.
- When the Freon is low, it may be that your heat pump is generating error codes. This normally happens when the external temperature is below 50°F or 10°C.
- Sometimes, the unit can get covered in ice, if the temperature is below 50°F or 10°C. However, most heat pumps are designed to automatically shut off when ice starts to form, only to turn on again when the external temperature reaches an acceptable level.
Considerations for selecting the best pool heater
You’re now familiar with the three main types of swimming pool heaters, and so you are in a better position to choose the type you like best. But before making a final decision and committing to purchase your heater of choice, you still need to go over the following items:
1. How often you use the pool
If your normal pool usage involves occasional or weekend use only, then a gas heater would be more suitable as it heats on-demand. Fuel costs may not be a major issue since you will hardly be using the pool anyway. Occasional pool use may not justify the cost of installing a pool heat pump or a solar-powered heater.
2. Your heating requirements
If you have a hot tub that normally requires a 30 to 40-degree increase in temperature, and if you are fond of swimming almost all throughout the year (until autumn and near winter), a gas heater will be your best alternative. If not, keep in mind that any type of heater can easily add 10 degrees to the normal temperature of your pool, and even 20 degrees in the case of appropriately-sized systems.
3. Pool size
Consider the size of your swimming pool as well. For a bigger pool to be heated at a constant temperature, you need to have a stable and efficient heating system. You will need to ask a pool builder or technician to help you select the scale or size of the pool heating system, based on the dimensions of your swimming pool.
4. Logistical elements
Aside from all of the above features and scenarios, there are more practical considerations to be made regarding the installation of your preferred heating system.
For a gas heater, you will need to check for the distance between the gas meter and the heater. You also need to take into account the operating costs. If running a line between the gas metre and the heater requires a substantial cash outlay, you may want to consider getting a heat pump instead.
If your choice leans more towards getting a heat pump, you need to establish early on if you have enough power to use one. Otherwise, you may need to call an electrician to install a new line from the main panel, and this can mean a substantial additional cost.
As for solar panels, a primary consideration would be the proximity of the roof (where the panels will be installed) to the pool equipment. If the proximity is ideal, less pipework is required, and therefore less cost. Again, you also need to ensure that the area allocated for the solar panels gets about six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily, preferably facing south, for the best results.
So when it comes to pool heating options, making a choice is not as simple as selecting the cheapest heater to run in Australia. There are practical, lifestyle and technical factors that need to be included in the equation.
Do you need more information about heating systems?
For professional insights and advice on the best heater for your swimming pool, you may want to seek the assistance of your swimming pool builder, or a licenced pool plumbing professional. They should be able to assess your requirements and come up with a viable solution that’s compatible with your current pool setup.
If you’re looking for trustworthy advice from a reliable pool builder in the Newcastle region, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Compass Pools Newcastle.
We’re always ready to answer your pool-related queries and help you with your swimming pool needs.