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How to Heat Your Pool: Solar Pool Heaters vs Electric Heat Pumps

Feb 11, 2021 | Pool Heating

If you’re like many Floridians, you enjoy spending time in your pool. It’s the perfect place to exercise, spend time with friends and family or cool off after a long day. Like many homeowners, you may be wondering how you can extend your enjoyable swim season.

There are a number of pool heating technologies and which one is right for you will depend on a number of factors. The two most popular and energy efficient technologies are solar pool heaters and electric heat pumps.

Solar Pool Heaters

Solar pool heaters, which have been popular since the 1970s, use solar panels mounted on your roof to heat the water in your pool. A big advantage to solar pool heating systems is that they have no ongoing operating cost and are more environmentally friendly than other technologies.

With a properly sized solar pool heater you can keep your northeast Florida pool at a minimum of 85° F from April through October or, depending on weather patterns, sometimes March through mid-November.

While these systems offer a large savings over other systems, not all homes are suitable candidates for solar pool heating. Generally, solar panels have to be mounted on a relatively unshaded south facing roof. They are best installed on homes with fiberglass shingles and must also be installed in proximity to the pump and filter.

Furthermore, since a large amount of labor and expense is required to remove and reinstall the panels when re-roofing your home, we do not recommend installing solar panels on homes which are expected to require a new roof in the next three to five years.

Solar pool heating systems will require maintenance at some point during their useful life, which is typically between 10 and 15 years.

If your home is a good candidate, a solar pool heating system will extend your swim season for years to come.

Electric Heat Pumps

Electric heat pumps work by extracting heat from the surrounding air and sending it to your pool.

Unlike a solar pool heating system, a heat pump does not require the attachment of any equipment to your roof and is about the size of a typical air conditioner, occupying a roughly a 3 x 3′ footprint. Since only a portion of your roof may be suitable for solar panels, leaving that space available will allow for the future installation of a solar power system.

A heat pump will generally cost around $400 a year to operate, but typically requires less maintenance than a solar pool heating system and can maintain more consistent temperatures throughout the swimming season.

With a solar pool heater, a few days of cloudy weather or rain can cause your pool temperature to drop below the set temperature and, once the sun returns, can take several days to recover. With a heat pump, your set temperature is precisely maintained throughout a typical Florida swim season.

Conclusion

Both solar and heat pump pool heaters can extend your enjoyable swim season. Ultimately, the decision of whether a solar pool heater is appropriate for you relies on a number of factors, including the age and condition of your roof, the size of your pool, amount of sun exposure and your lifestyle. A heat pump has none of the restricting factors of a solar pool heating system and maintains a more consistent temperature throughout a typical northeast Florida swim season. If you have questions or want to learn more about pool heating options, send us a message or give us a call at 904-268-8046.