What They Do, How they Work, Choosing the Right One & Much More!
Pool Heaters are a great way to warm your swimming pool water to your perfect temperature during times when cool days, evenings or nights would
normally make your pool too cold to enjoy. Pool Heaters are a great way to extend your swimming season, and provide heat on demand when you need
it most. In fact, no other piece of pool water heating equipment – be it a solar heating application, or even a heat pump – has the
ability to heat your pool water as fast a pool heater!
The information presented here will help you select the right size Pool Heater for your swimming pool, discuss some of the different models available,
give an overview of the basic principles involved in heater installation, as well as provide some tips you'll want to remember to avoid common
problems common to swimming pool heaters. If you have any questions once you've reviewed this article, please feel free to give our team
of friendly Pool Experts a call at 1-800-983-7665. They'd be happy to answer any questions about our Pool Heaters and offer technical advice.
How Does a Pool Heater Work?
A swimming pool heater works by burning fuel to create heat, which is then passed through a heat exchanger and on to water drawn from your swimming
pool. The water, now considerably warmer, is then reintroduced to the swimming pool, raising the overall temperature.
How Do You Size a Swimming Pool Heater? (or "Why Bigger IS Usually Better")
Swimming pool heaters are rated according to their BTU output (a measurement also known as British Thermal Units). 1 BTU is capable of raising
the temperature of 1 lb of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Therefore the more BTUs a pool heater produces, the faster it will heat the water in your
swimming pool. Because swimming pools come in all shapes and sizes and are located in many different climates, you'll need to calculate the
number of BTUs needed to heat your swimming pool according to your specifications in order to select the right pool heater. This can be accomplished
once the following variables have been determined:
1. Surface area - The main job of any pool heater is to heat the pool water at a faster rate than heat is being lost from the surface of
the swimming pool. Once the ideal temperature has been reached, your pool heater only needs to run enough to compensate for the heat that escapes
from the surface of the water. Therefore, we strongly suggest using a quality Solar Blanket in
conjunction with your pool heater (or with any piece of pool water heating equipment for that matter), in order to maximize efficiency.
The more surface area your pool contains through which heat can escape, the more BTUs your pool heater will need to produce to heat your pool
water. Calculating the surface area of your swimming pool is relatively easy, and some common calculations are provided here:
- Round pools: radius (1/2 diameter) x radius x 3.14
- Rectangular pools: length x width
- Oval pools: 1/2 length x 1/2 width x 3.14
- Rectangular pools w/ rounded ends: length x width x 0.8
- Kidney-shaped pools: length x width x 0.75
2. Temperature rise - The temperature rise of your pool water is a calculation of your desired water temperature minus the average ambient
air temperature. The desired water temperature is simply the final temperature you'd like your pool water to reach. The average ambient air temperature
is the average daily outdoor air temperature and should be figured on the basis of the coldest month you plan on using your pool. For instance
if you live in an area where the average outdoor air temperature in May (the month you would like to start using your pool) is 60 degrees and your
desired water temperature is 80 degrees, your temperature rise would be 20 degrees (80 - 60).
With both surface area and temperature rise now calculated, you can refer to the chart below to find just how many BTUs will be necessary for
the desired heating effect on your swimming pool:
|Pool Heating Guide
||Temp Rise (in ° F)
|Surface Area of Your Swimming Pool (in sq. ft)
Required Heater Output / Hour (in BTUs):
After finding the required number of BTUs / hr you will need from the above chart, you can compare pool heater models based upon the BTUs they
produce. This number can be found by multiplying a pool heater's input (measured in BTUs) by the pool heater's efficiency rating. An explanation
of pool heater efficiency follows here:
3. Heater efficiency - Pool heater efficiency is provided by the manufacturer, and is expressed as a percentage that represents the amount
of energy a pool heater transfers to the water for each unit of energy (BTU) used to generate that heat. The US Department of Energy has mandated
that all pool heaters have an efficiency rating of at least 78%. So, as an example, a 300,000 BTU pool heater with an efficiency of 85% would produce
Something To Remember When Selecting Your Swimming Pool Heater
When selecting your pool heater, always to select a heater rated somewhat higher than your actual pool surface area and desired temperature rise
require. There is no such thing as “oversizing” a pool heater. The larger the BTU output of the pool heater you buy, the quicker
it will heat your pool water. This means less run time on the heater and a longer overall heater life span. You will always be glad you opted for
the larger pool heater.
Different Types Of Swimming Pool Heaters
Swimming pool heaters come in various makes and models. The four main differences in pool heater models have to do with (1) the type of fuel the
heater uses (natural gas or liquid propane), (2) the style of ignition your pool heater will employ, (3) the level of emissions the pool heater
produces, and (4) the elevation for which the pool heater is rated.
Natural Gas or Liquid Propane - What Will Your Pool Heater Run On?
When selecting your pool heater, you'll need to decide between a natural gas or liquid propane model. The type of fuel you use will be based on
the difference in availability and the price of fuels in your area. The price of the pool heater model you choose should not be affected by the
fuel type you decide to use.
The Difference Between Millivolt & Electronic Start Pool Heaters
A millivolt swimming pool heater utilizes a standing pilot light that must constantly stay lit to initiate the pool heating process. An electronic
start pool heater eliminates the need for this pilot light, by electronically initiating the heating process. The drawback to the millivolt model
is that you may find yourself having to re-light the pilot light if it goes out. This sounds easy enough but anybody who has ever needed to re-light
the pilot on a gas stove knows that this process needs to be performed VERY CAREFULLY so as to avoid injury.
Low NOx vs. Normal Emissions Pool Heaters
A "Low NOx" pool heater is a heater designed to release fewer emissions than a regular pool heater. Recently, California mandated the use of these
pool heaters in certain counties. Due to their design, low NOx pool heaters are by and large more efficient than traditional pool heaters. This
higher efficiency means a higher heat transfer and faster heating of your swimming pool water.
Pool Heaters Designed for Altitudes 2,000 Feet Above Sea Level
If you live at an altitude 2,000 feet or more above sea level, you will need a special model pool heater designed for that altitude. The difference
in the oxygen level in the air necessitates this special model. Just one more thing to think about before purchasing a swimming pool heater!
Swimming Pool Heater Installation Basics
Swimming pool heaters should always be installed after the filter system and before any chlorinators or chemical injection systems in your swimming
pool's plumbing. This will ensure the heater receives a strong flow rate of clean water, without any highly concentrated and potentially corrosive
chemicals. It will probably be necessary to enlist the help of a professional electrician and/or natural gas professional in installing your pool
heater. This will not only ensure proper installation but is vitally important so as to avoid injury. Different heater models will contain varying
specifications with regard to clearance and appropriate ventilation. ALL MANUFACTURER SPECS SHOULD BE RIGIDLY ADHERED TO in order to ensure maximum
safety and heater efficiency (which will save you money).
Avoiding Problems With Pool Heaters - A Few Reminders
Swimming pool heaters are a wonderful addition to the swimming pool area, due to their ability to warm pool water to an inviting temperature,
allowing you to utilize the swimming pool comfortably more than ever before. Follow these tips to avoid common problems and get the maximum life
out of any pool heater you buy:
Size your Pool Heater appropriately. Remember a pool heater can never be too big, but buy a pool heater that isn't big enough and you'll
never be satisfied.
Monitor pH closely. pH is probably the single biggest problem pool owners face with regard to pool cleaners and pool equipment in general.
A pH level that is too low (acidic) will cause corrosion, and a pH level that is to high (base) will cause mineral deposits that could potentially
clog your pool heater's plumbing.
Maintain correct flow rate. Backwashing your swimming pool filter or washing out the cartridge occasionally will ensure that enough water
gets to your pool heater for it to function efficiently.
Protect your investment. We recommend use of a pool heater cover to keep the heater
protected from the elements.
Allow appropriate clearance around the Pool Heater. This will be specified in your owner's manual.
Make sure your Heater's gas pressure is adjusted appropriately. This step should be performed upon installation BY A PROFESSIONAL.
We hope you found this information helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to give at 1-800-983-7665. Our team of friendly Pool Experts
will be happy to answer any questions about our Pool Heaters, offer technical advice and help you select the model that's just right for
your pool, your situation.
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