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Swimming Pool Heaters – Everything You Need to Know

Typical British weather can render your swimming pool unusable at certain times of the year; to get the most return on your investment and ensure that you can get as much use out of your pool as possible – even through the colder months – a specially designed heater provides the ideal solution.

As with any purchase such as this, it’s important to ensure that you are fully informed before committing to anything. This article will delve deeper into the three main swimming pool heaters available so that you can decide which type will best suit your requirements.

Solar heater

In these climate conscious times, more and more homeowners are looking to improve their green credentials and lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle. As such, solar heaters use a renewable energy source to operate and don’t give off any pollution for clean functionality.

How they work: They use solar panels which collect heat from the sun and transfer it to the pool. This process is carried out by the pool’s pump which pushes water through the circulation system and solar panels, therefore heating the water up.

The other type operates via an evacuated tube which the swimming pool water does not run through, but the heat is transferred via a calorifier.

It’s worth noting that cloudy weather can affect the efficiency of the solar panels as there may not be enough sunlight for them to collect the heat.

Cost: A major benefit of opting for a solar heater is that the operating costs are kept low, as there are no additional monthly charges. Over time, the operating costs can easily override the price of a one-time installation. However, subject to the type chosen, solar heaters may require the surface area of the panels to be 70% of the pool’s surface or higher.

Electric heater

There are two types of electric heater:

Electric resistance heaters – how they work: electric resistance heaters use electric currents to create heat. They operate by applying a current to the resistor located inside the heater which heats it up. Water from the pool then washes over this resistor, causing it to cool back down and the water to heat up. Electric heaters are generally 100% efficient and if used with off-peak electricity can be useful for heating smaller pools. They also don’t require annual servicing, as long as the water chemistry is kept in balance to manufacturers requirements.

Electric heat pumps – how they work: heat pumps take heat from the air or the ground and move it to a compressor where it can be heated further. This heat is then transferred to the pool to warm up the water. This is a relatively slow, but incredibly efficient heating method and for this reason it is very popular nowadays.   

Cost: the running costs of an electric heater can be higher than alternative heater types, although the efficiency of a heat pump makes it a good choice.

Gas heaters

The speedy rate at which a gas heater can heat up a swimming pool makes it an ideal option for larger pools, as well as pools which don’t have to be heated regularly – perfect for when guests are visiting. Not only do gas heaters heat the water up quickly, but they also have the capability to maintain the required temperature no matter what the weather is like, providing a heat retaining blanket is used.

How they work: Gas heaters use natural or propane fuel to operate. The gas is burned inside a combustion chamber where the heat is then transferred to the pool water through copper coils or a calorifier. This makes for a quick and easily controllable heating method; a modern condensing boiler can be up to 94% efficient.

Cost: how much heaters cost to run depends on the current gas prices and the temperature required.

Wood-burning heaters

Heaters which use timber as fuel offer an inexpensive and readily available source of energy. If the trees are replaced, this can be a long-term, sustainable energy.

Oil-fired heaters

Oil heating systems are not as common today as they used to be, but for some properties which already have an oil tank and a good supplier, they may be an option. Oil burns much hotter than natural gas or electricity so pools can heat up fairly quickly. However, oil heaters do tend to be more expensive to buy.

At H2o, we even offer heat exchangers that connect to your existing boiler, so if you have spare capacity you may be able to use your property’s existing heating system to control the temperature of your pool.

At H2o Swimming Pools, we have an entire catalogue of different units for both domestic and commercial pools, from gas and oil to electric and solar, all for a competitive rate. Simply contact our expert team today to find out more about our swimming pool heaters solutions.

Don’t forget – if you have an existing gas or oil boiler, then this should be serviced once a year. H2o can do this for you and, for tenanted properties, we can provide a Gas Safety Certificate.


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