As our world leans away from the sun, pool heater use in North America is on the rise. Cooler nights and cold winds rob the pool of heat, and send your heating bill sky high. Eventually, for northern pools, it will reach a point where your pool heater has trouble keeping up with the temperature demand.
Today's topic says it all - here's how to save money on pool heating costs, and reduce your pool's energy consumption. You can do this with products to retain the heat that goes in the pool, and also by smart heating methods.
Pool Heat Saving Products
Solar blankets - The most traditional way to retain heat in your inground swimming pool is to use a solar blanket. Solar blankets are available in different thicknesses - 5mil, 8mil, 12mil and 16 mil. When using the solar blanket, lay the cover on the pool water with bubbles facing downward. This will improve heat gain and also heat retention. I have a solar blanket on my own pool. It may seem a little more cumbersome than the other options, but will give you the most heat retention and is the most efficient.
Solar Sun Rings - Inflatable 60” Solar Sun Rings float on the surface of the swimming pool water and increase the temperature of the pool water during the day, while retaining it at night. The solar sun ring acts as an insulator similar to a solar blanket, but the magnetically connected rings are easier to use and remove than a bulky cover.
Liquid Solar Blanket - This is a liquid pool cover system that you add to your swimming pool water. It's a clear liquid that creates an invisible barrier on the surface of the pool water. Just drop in the Solar Fish, which slowly releases the liquid. Use one Solar Fish per 15,000 gallons; it lasts about a month.
Cover Free can be poured into the pool directly, from our quart bottles, or for larger pools, buy bulk with the 1 or 5 gallon sizes. For really large pools, install the small chemical pump. Using a liquid cover-free system you will prevent most water evaporation and reduce your heat loss by about 70%. The liquid is easy to use, completely safe and biodegradable. Automatic Pool Cover - Closes automatically in 1 minute with the turn of a key. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a pool cover is the best way to reduce heat loss on a swimming pool. With an automatic cover, you will also have peace of mind in regards to safety, and it will reduce your heating costs and also save money by reducing evaporation and sun depletion of your pool chemicals. And, it keeps out rain and windblown contaminants, which helps maintain a more stable water balance.
Controllers - With an automated controller available from all of the big boys; Hayward, Jandy or Pentair you can set the temperature of your gas fired pool heater or electric heat pump from the comfort of your own home or office. Use a wall mounted or a wireless controller to set the pool temperature precisely, and even program it for daily heating cycles. Controllers range from simple remote heater switches to full systems, which act like a server for all of your pool equipment, with handheld controllers and apps for your devices.
Domes - We have two different style of pool domes; the Fabrico Sun Dome, with a frame mounted to an aboveground pool top rail, or into the deck for inground pools, and the Aqua Flex Super Span pool dome, inflated by a powerful air blower. These lengthen your swimming pool season and also keep debris out of your pool. Pool domes stop evaporation and also keep the heat in the swimming pool.
Pool domes keep the inside air temperature of the pool water, and are warmed further with sunlight. And, no need for suntan lotion because the dome helps block ultra violet rays!
Pool Heat Saving Practices
Block the Wind - If you have prevailing winds across the pool, is there a way that you could block the wind? One way may be to install a low solid fence such as cedar or vinyl against the direction of the wind. Another option is to plant tall bushes around the pool area such as arborvitaes. Finally, the last option I can think of in regards to blocking wind would be to install a pool dome or an automatic cover on your inground swimming pool.
Turn Down the Heat - According to the D.O.E., turning down your pool heater thermostat 1 degree can save 10% of fuel costs. Could you stand it just 1 degree colder? If so, you can save 10% of gas or electricity. And, if you are swimming only on weekends, it may be more efficient to turn down the heat 5-10 degrees on Sunday night through Friday night. This is known as intermittent heating.
Cover the Pool - Covering the pool, even if you do not cover a full 100% of the surface, will keep heat loss to a minimum by blocking wind and natural evaporation. So, if you have a cover, make it a practice to use your cover. If necessary, make it a 'house' pool rule too, "if you remove the cover, replace the cover".
Circulate the Deep - We have all been in a pool where the top foot or two was much warmer than deeper water. In pools that have their eyeballs pointed upward, to create a surface ripple, deeper parts of the pool stay cool. This results in more heat loss, because there's more heat near the surface. Adjust your jets and main drain, to more fully mix the heat layers and result in less heat loss.
Control the Heat - Nothing's worse than finding your pool heated up to 100 degrees, because somebody cranked up the thermostat. Pool heaters do not heat faster when you crank the dial to maximum, they just keep going! I recommend that only one person be able to adjust the thermostat, especially in a home with teenagers! A small adjustment of less than 1/8" is all that's needed to turn up the heat a few degrees.
Heating the pool is not cheap, even if you have a pool heat pump. Even if you have a solar system, the coming cold and stormy weather may challenge your heat output, so conservation and heat retention could be on everybody's mind.
SPP Pool Expert