How can you heat your swimming pool? Here in Melbourne, to use our pools throughout the year, we need to have pool heating in place. What are the pros and cons of the three most popular options? Which are they? Learn more about swimming pool heating in this video.
Three types of pool heating
So a big question we get asked all the time here in Melbourne is, “What sort of heating should I have for my pool?” There’s three different types. There’s solar heating, there’s gas heating, and there’s electric heating. Very briefly, I’ll talk about these all separately on a video on our YouTube channel, so please have a look at them.
Solar pool heating
However, just to give you a brief overview, solar heating runs as a separate system to your pool equipment. It works when the roof is about four degrees warmer, and it will turn it on, and it will actually take the water from your pool onto your roof through little black tubes, and that will get heated and come back a lot warmer than what it obviously went up. It does work all year, however, it only takes the current water temperature up for the day. So in the warmer weathers, when the night temperatures around 18 to 20 degrees, then the solar heating’s going to lift it up to 26, 28, 30 degrees very comfortably in the day. It could also lift it up the same sort of temperatures in the middle of winter. However, unfortunately, in Melbourne, the temperatures start so much lower, so it isn’t effective unless the weather is nice. But it’s free heat as far as the sun goes, so that’s the benefit of solar. When the weather’s nice, your pool is nice, and it doesn’t cost very much to run.
Electric heating / electric heat pump
The second type of heating that I want to talk to you about is electric heating, a heat pump. Now, heat pumps can work in two different ways. The first way is, it can work as a solar replacement. So instead of having a solar system, you have a heat pump, and it once again works in a similar mode, so that when the weather’s nice, the heater is going each day and just putting a bit of heat into the pool, so that whatever temperature the water’s at, it takes it up there to that ideal temperature.
You can also use this heater to extend your system. It’s a bit more reliable than some of the weathers that we have in Melbourne. And in Melbourne, we have hot days and cold days, especially on the fringes of the main swimming season. And if you take, let’s say Melbourne Cup, where in November, some days it can be 35 degrees and the next day it can drop right back down to 15. So these extremes allow a electric heat pump to be a little bit more flexible for you, so you can actually turn it on and run it for a few days, regardless of what the outside temperature’s using. You do need to use a blanket though to keep that heat in.
The other aspect with the electric heat pump is if you got a bigger one, which is more for swimming nine months of the year, or even all year round. So there’s a way that you would set your electric heat pump on to run at a set temperature. So let’s say you wanted to run your pool at 26 degrees, and I’m just going to say for nine months of the year, so just maybe not the middle of winter at this stage. Then we can actually price up how much that’s actually going to run and cost you. And if you use a blanket to keep that heat in, then you can maintain a heated pool very comfortably for not a lot of money. Now, I’m going to throw some figures at you, but let’s say you wanted to heat your pool to 26 degrees nine months of the year here in Melbourne with a blanket, the power cost of that could cost anywhere from $1,500 to $1,800 a year, which is not too much to be able to use your pool all that time. An electrician will need to install a dedicated power circuit to accommodate your electric heat pump.
The third option to heat your pool here in Melbourne is a gas heater. Now, a gas heater is a fabulous way to heat your pool if you want to purpose heat your pool. So you would never get a gas heated pool and run your pool all year round using that, because it’s not going to be very cost effective. But the gas here in Melbourne is not ridiculously expensive like it is in other parts of the country, so a lot of people have a gas heater so that when they’re swimming and they want to just put some quick heat into the pool, then they might turn it on for three or four hours and lift it five or 10 degrees. And this cost of the gas is probably, and I’m just going to throw another figure, maybe 20 or $30 worth of heat that they’re putting in their pool. And they might be doing it, once again, on, say, Melbourne Cup weekend when they’ve got people coming around.
And people tell us, “Look, we spent more money on the party than we did on the actual gas to heat it.” And that’s a flexibility that you have with gas. Gas is really more a purpose type of heat. I have a gas heater on my pool and I love it, because when I’m using the pool I turn it on and it becomes really practical for when we’re using it.
Primary or even secondary pool heater
When we price a pool up for you here at Compass Pools Melbourne, we’ll talk to you about how you want to use your pool, and then we would recommend one of those types of heating, sometimes a secondary heating, as well. But one of the things that we have to consider is how are we going to return this water back to your pool. If you’re looking at either our logic system or our in-floor system, which actually has the water being forced either from the sides down around your pool, or the in-floor, so it’s coming up through the floor, then we’re very happy to recommend either the electric or the gas or solar.
If we’re building a pool with just your two eyeball returns at the end, then we’d be a little bit less hesitant to recommend anything other than solar, because the heat that we’re putting into the pool is just going to be coming out through two eyeball returns. And we all know that heat is lazy. It doesn’t go down, it only goes up. So from an efficiency point of view, we’d be a little bit hesitant to recommend the other types of heating unless you had really, really good circulation system with it.
We will recommend either one type of heating or even a secondary. Sometimes we combine solar with gas or different combinations, depending on what it is that you actually want to achieve with your pool in your backyard.
Cost of pool heaters
So how much does the actual heating cost? The solar, electric, and gas all cost between three and a half to six or $7,000. The bigger the electric heater and the bigger the gas heater, they’re going to be more at that higher end. The solar systems do start at around about three and a half to 4,000 and as the pools get bigger, and the solar systems get a bit more sophisticated with the matting on the roof, they can also be between four and a half to five and a half thousand. So that’s the heating costs. As to how much it does cost to run, once again, that depends on how you’re going to be using it.