Buying a pool heater is a great way to extend your swimming season. Pool heaters come in various different sizes and types. This section will help explain the different types of heaters and how they work.
Gas Pool Heater
The first type of pool heater is the gas pool heater. This heater burns either natural gas or propane under a heat exchanger to heat small coils that the water from the filter flows through. The heat exchangers in gas heaters are typically made out of copper. This element is used because it has a high transfer rate of heat. Gas pool heaters work very well in the Midwest climate because of the speed that they heat the water. If a heater is properly sized, it will heat the water approximately 1-2 degrees per hour. This may not seem like a lot, but considering that most people find 70 F degree water too cold to swim in, and 85 F degrees to be perfect swimming temperature, that is only 7.5 hrs of wait time to swim. This type of heater has been the most popular in the Midwest because of the ease of use of the heater and also the cost. Considering a pool without a heater is used only 3 months of the year and a pool with a heater is used up to 7 months, means more swim time per year. In the industry, Rheem heaters have been shown to be the leader among pool owners because of their great quality and durability.
Solar Covers are a great ways to not only heat a pool, but to also help retain the heat within a pool. Solar covers look like what most customers describe as bubble wrap. They heat the pool by magnifying the suns heat within the pool. The most important part of this though is that it is a thermal blanket keeping the heat, and your pool chemicals, from evaporating out of the pool. Though you may not think you need it, customers that own pool heaters should also still use a solar blanket to keep that heated water in the pool.
The next type of heater is the Heat Pump. This type of heater works like an air conditioner in reverse. Though it can be used in various climates, it tends to work best in warmer climates such as California and Florida. The way that this type of heater works is that the fan circulates air through the outer evaporator air coil that acts as a heat collector. The liquid refrigerant in the air coil absorbs the available heat in the ambient (outside) air transforming it into a gas. The refrigerant gas is then pumped into the compressor. When this warmed gas is compressed, it intensifies or concentrates the heat like a magnifying glass in the sun. This intensely hot gas is then pumped into the heat exchanger condenser where the actual heat transfer takes place. As the pool water passes through the heat exchanger, the hot gas gives up its heat to the cooler pool water. The refrigerant returns to a liquid state and is pumped through the expansion valve then into the evaporator air coil to start the process all over again
Solar Panel Heaters
The final type of heater is the Solar Panel Heater. Solar panel heaters have been proven to be very popular because it heats only off of the power of the sun. Solar panel heaters come in either 2 foot x 20 foot or 4 foot x 20 foot sizes. This heater heats by having the water from the filter push through a series of small black tubes that are laid on the ground, on a fence, or a roof of a house. Solar panel heaters have gained popularity because it heats your pool for free. Solar panel heaters have shown to heat a pool up to 10 - 12 F degrees. Solar panel heaters are a great booster for people that do not have a gas heater, but want to have something to help heat up their pool after a few cold days.
Solar Pills and Solar Fish
Solar Pills and Solar fish are products that have come onto the market in the last few years. Many customers ask if they actually work and we can say first hand yes they do. Solar pills or solar fish put an undetectable layer on the top of the pool water stopping the water from evaporating. Since most of the heat lost in a pool is lost due to evaporation, a lot of this loss is avoided. The other nice thing about solar pills is that it helps on the consumption of chemicals in the pool because evaporation causes a lot of chemical loss. The Solar Pill and Solar Fish are not heaters though, they just help to retain the heat in the pool.