Pool Heaters: The Key to Keeping Your Pool Warm This Winter
A Straightforward Review on the Best Pool Heaters to Keep Your Pool Toasty During the Winter Season
One of the biggest “what if” scenarios in the winter is looking at your covered pool and wondering what it would be like if it’s just summer all over again.
Well, there’s good and bad news. The bad news and the cold, hard truth is that if you live in a primarily cold climate, there is no way you can keep swimming in that pool all year long. The good news is you may steal some weeks or even months off it. Of course, if you live somewhere relatively warm, a year-long swimming season is not far in the realm of possibility.
If you’re wondering how to make these events plausible, the secret sauce is pool heaters. What are pool heaters, and how do they work? What are some of the best heaters to keep your pool warm over the cold season? Read on and find out.
How Pool Heaters Work
Pool heaters are great at managing swimming pool temperature so that even people who hate winter swimming because of cold temperature may do so without worrying about getting hypothermia. They won’t make your pool as toasty as a Jacuzzi, but they will produce enough heat so you can enjoy splashing around even on cold winter days.
Depending on the type of pool heaters, these machines heat pool water a bit differently. For instance, gas heaters have a combustion chamber where the circulating pool water is heated and pushed back out. This process is quick and takes merely several hours. Gas heaters are often considered to be less environmentally friendly, not to mention expensive to run, because of soaring gas prices.
Then there are electric heaters or better known as heat pumps. Unlike gas heaters, heat pumps don’t have combustion chambers. Instead, it utilizes a fan to suck in ambient air, warms, and then compresses to raise the water temperature in the pool. Think of a heat pump’s mechanism as similar to an air conditioning unit, only in reverse.
Heat pumps are highly efficient and more environment-friendly than gas heaters. However, they won’t work if the outside temperature is less than 50 degrees F, making them more ideal to use in warmer climates.
Last but not least, solar heaters are probably the most environment-friendly and cost-effective way to heat the pool. Solar panels installed on your roof use the sun’s energy to heat the pool. The water is pumped through the solar panels and heated as it travels to and from these panels.
The process continues for as long as the panel temperature is warmer than the pool water temperature, but it apparently doesn’t work when the sun is out. On top of that, it doesn’t work when the weather is chilly and will be rendered useless in harsher, blizzard-like climates.
Best Pool Heaters to Make Winter a Swimming Season
- Raypak Natural Gas Heater (Model No. PR266AEN)
Gas heaters should be your first choice if you need to warm up your pool quickly. And out of all the manufacturers out there, Raypak has managed to be consistent in performance while also being solidly built. The materials of this model, including the heat exchanger, cabinet, and exterior, are designed to last years and withstand harsh weather conditions. This should be your go-to heater if you want versatility and efficiency.
- FibroPool FH055 Swimming Pool Heat Pump
Perfect for smaller pools, the FibroPool FH055 is a wonderfully capable machine. As long as you use it on pools with capacities of no more than 13,500 gallons, it can warm the pool water by up to 22 degrees more than the ambient temperature. Of course, there are several factors to consider here, the pool size included, but the point is that it does its job well. It’s more expensive than heaters of similar size, but you couldn’t put a price on quality (titanium heat exchanger and Copeland scroll compressor.
- Hayward W3H400FDP Universal H-Series Propane Pool Heater
There is no other way to describe the Hayward Universal H-Series pool heater but as a workhorse. The Universal H-Series models could be propane or natural gas pool heaters. Choosing a propane heater costs more to run, but the Universal H-Series propane heater makes up for it through better efficiency. It is one of the best propane pool heaters in the market because of its lower-than-standard NOx emissions.
In addition to that, the unit can be controlled digitally, and it does keep your pool consistent temperature-wise. If we’re talking about performance, it could raise the water temperature by as much as 1 degree every 10 minutes for small pools. Larger pools may take longer, perhaps 1 degree every hour, but that’s nothing to complain about.
- Hayward W3H250FDN Universal H-Series Natural Gas Heater
If there’s a short supply of propane where you live, you can also go for Hayward’s Natural Gas Heater. It is essentially the same unit as the Hayward Propane Pool Heater, only with a different fuel. Natural gas is more dependable and has higher heating efficiency. It can raise the water temperature of an 18,000-gallon pool to 30 degrees F in a day!
With its innovative technology and universal-fit adaptability, the Universal H-Series heater can be set up quickly on any equipment pad, new or old. This heating solution extends your swimming season, uses less energy, and saves you money on fuel.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Pool Heater
It would be ideal if there were a pool heater that’s cheap, reliable, low maintenance, easy to install, and heats water fast. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing, so you must prioritize one over the other.
If you’re looking to swim during the winter, you should look for a unit that does its job quickly and consistently. Some heaters are slow compared with others, but that means you’re burning up energy as they go on for hours. Some may not have consistent power or fuel sources, so they are unpredictable in their performances.
Second, you must prioritize how much a unit costs. A relatively cheaper pool heater may not be consistent and reliable, but it could probably work on smaller pools and warmer climates. However, if you’re living where winters could be harsh and afternoons could get extra frigid, you probably must go with a bigger, more expensive, but more reliable heater.
Another thing that you must also consider is how quiet or noisy the unit can get. After all, you may run these things for hours or even days at a time! You don’t want to be a neighborhood nuisance and disturb the people in your community.
Lastly, and perhaps the most important, choose a pool heater compatible with the size of your pool. Never choose a heater below your recommended pool size. For example, if the unit says it’s only suitable for up to 13,000 gallons, don’t cross your fingers and pray it can work on your 18,000-gallon pool. This will ultimately burn out the unit because it will have to work extra hard. Conversely, if a heater is too large, it may use more energy than necessary.
Pool heaters or pool warmers perform well in any climate and work efficiently to give you a comfortable pool temperature. They are, by far, the key to keeping your pool warm in the winter. You simply have to choose the best one for your needs, and you will get the most out of your pool even in the chilly season.