Have you ever dipped your foot in the pool water, only to quickly pull it back because the water was too chilly? Maybe your children often want to go for a swim with their friends, but can't because the cooler weather has made the pool water far too cold to go swimming in? Well, then maybe you should look into purchasing a new heater for your pool.
A pool heater is, in essence, a thermostat for your swimming pool. Due to the fact that many swimming pools are located in parts of the country with long cold-spells or frequently changing weather patterns that can go from scorching-hot to bone-chilling cold in a matter of hours, more and more Americans are looking at the option of buying a water heater for their pool. After all, pool heaters allow you to use your pool earlier in the year, and for longer periods of time. On top of that, they are typically easy to install, so anyone can use one.
So what kind of pool heater should you purchase? Well, you have four kinds to choose from: gas, electric, oil fired, and heat pumps. There are advantages to each method of heating, as well as some disadvantages that may help you pick one over the others. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each are key to deciding which method of heating your pool you want to use.
Gas heaters use either propane or natural gas, though both are pretty much equal in their efficiency. However, if you are looking for a cost effective method of heating your pool, natural gas is the way to go.
Electric heaters, while used primarily to heat spas, have become more common in smaller pools. If you are looking to heat a spa, or a smaller pool an electric heater may be a cost-friendly alternative, though if you own a moderate-to-large pool, you will get very little efficiency out of an electric heater.
Oil fired heaters, as the name suggests, use oil rather than gas or electricity for heating. An oil fired heater is actually very similar to your typical water heater or furnace in your home, and is a very clean alternative to gas.
Heat pumps are different from the others in that they do not create their own heat. Instead, they transfer heat between two locations. Easily the most environmentally friend of the heating options, a heat pump takes air from the outside, heats it using a super compressor, and pumps the heat to your pool, keeping your swimming space nice and warm, no matter the year. It is also a very energy-efficient alternative to your typical electric heater.
Determining what kind of heat source you want for your pool is entirely up to you, but for the money your best bet would be to go with a heat pump. It may cost a bit now, but in the long-term, it will save you literally thousands of dollars on your heating bills.