This is a question that we get all of the time. Most people believe that it gets way too hot here in Eastern North Carolina, and that there is no need for a pool heater. The truth of the matter is that you have made a large investment in having an In-ground Pool installed. To take full advantage of your investment, it would be wise to have a longer Swimming Season. With a pool heater you can extend your swimming season at least 2 to 5 more months than without a heater. It is also much nicer to be able to insure that you will have a comfortable water tempature.
Now that we have decided that is is better to have a heated pool, the are several different types of heaters to choose from:
Natural Gas and Propane Heaters- This type of unit is usually better for a smaller body of water. A fossil fuel heater will use much more energy than some of the other options available. They also usually tend to need a lot of service to operate properly. The only real benefit to this type of heater usually is that they are the least expensive heater to purchase and can operate year round.
Electric Heatpumps- This is one of the best ways to heat a pool. This type of unit will use very little energy to maintain a proper tempature. This heater is most like a home heat pump that uses the outdoor air tempature to heat your pool water. They usually use about 60 to 80% less energy than a Natural Gas or Propane Heater. One of the best options on a Heat Pump is that they are also available with a cooling feature. This is usually an upgrade on the unit. This will insure a comforable swimming tempature even on those extremly hot days!
Water Source Heat Pumps-Also known as Geothermal. This heater uses ground water sources such as wells, lakes, and canals. This is a very efficient type of heater, mostly for winter heating. This type of unit will be the most efficient in the winter.
Solar Heating- This is a very GREEN Solution. Solar pool heating is catching on pretty well in this part of the country. The positives are that it basically uses the suns energy to heat your pool. You usually have Solar Collector Panels mounted on the roof that heats the water as it passes through. This is a very inexpensive way to heat your pool water, but it does have its limitations. First of all you need to have quite a few days with sun. If it is a cloudy or very cool day, you may not get much heat gain. It will usually take longer to initially heat the pool as well than one of the previous options.
No matter which pool heater you decide on, one very important point is to make sure that you control the amount of heat lose at night. The best way to do this is to have a Solar Pool Blanket that covers your water. The next solution is what they call a Liquid Solar Blanket. This is at least 50% as effective as a Solar Blanket. You can simply add a few ounces of this product to your pool every week or you can have a small pump that feeds the product as needed. The Liquid Solar Blanket is tremendously more effective than using nothing at all.