We really cannot stress it enough, solar covers are one of the most invaluable tools for keeping the pool warm without running your heater day and night. You may also want to consider investing in insulating or solar pool covers to minimize heat loss even more.
You are better off investing in a good solar blanket to cover your pool to keep the heat in at night, and to decrease evaporation in the daytime. Ideally, the best way to save money with your pool heater is to leave the heater running a couple of hours before using your pool, and put a solar blanket over it when not in the pool.
You are encouraged to keep your pool heated in daylight hours to maximize efficiency and buy a solar blanket to keep the pool warm when you are not. The most cost-effective way to heat a pool is by using a solar blanket along with having the sun warm up the water during the day. Instead of relying on your heater to keep your pool warm throughout the night, you can utilize alternative methods such as covering the pool with a blanket or using a solar blanket.
A solar cover can greatly reduce water evaporation, and at the same time, it helps keep heat inside the pool at night, when air temperatures drop. Clear solar covers let more suns heat enter the water and raise the temperature of the water about 15 degrees, while also keeping up to 95% of pool water and chemicals from evaporating. Sunlight keeps your pool heater working effectively, increasing the water temperature by one degree after another, until you are ready to dive in.
Daytime makes maximum use of natural sun heat, which means that your pool heater does not have to work that much harder, or operate as long, to warm up your water. Pool owners find that at night, with no type of heat source, swimming pool water temperatures drop rapidly. The temperature of the water that you want your swimming pool to be will not only impact the size of your pool heater but your heating costs as well, whether using a gas or a heat pump type pool heater.
If you run the heat pump only while using the swimming pool, the heat pump must increase your water temperature as much as 20oF (11.0degC) each time you use your swimming pool. Your heat pump is connected to your circulator, meaning that your heat pump may be running only while the swimming pool pump is running. Heat pumps, on the other hand, are better equipped to keep your pool warm in winter months, since they are connected to your electric grid, rather than being dependent on the sun.
While both heat pumps and solar pool heaters come with significant up-front costs, they often require an installation fee as well as some maintenance over their lifetimes. Heat pumps and electrical resistance heaters likely will need to install an electric circuit, which costs between $500-$2,100. Heat pumps average around $6,000, but can range from as low as three to $10,000 depending on the efficiency, square footage of pool, and overall system quality.
Ultimately, heat pump costs and solar pool heater costs rise about equally once you combine the two costs. A proper solar pool heating system will initially cost significantly more than a fuel-fired heater.
Typically, using a pool heater to heat your pool could cost you between $10.00 to $17.00 a day, depending on the size and model that you are using. The cost depends on the size of the heater, which, in turn, depends on the size of your pool — the volume of water that needs to be heated.
You can scale it down or up, sure, as desired, but the warmer your pool, the higher the cost to heat it, if using a gas heater. A higher rate of discharge may decrease the heat-up efficiency, meaning it takes longer for the pool heater to get water at your desired temperature. Ultimately, the amount of energy a heater puts into a pool is the same as the amount of heat it removes from the pool. For recurrent heating, though, a larger heater actually saves fuel, as it brings the pool up to temperature faster.
Since you lose more heat energy in a hot pool compared to a cold one, the most effective thing to do is to keep your pool as low-temperature as possible as much as possible. Since the water is already a nice temperature, some pool owners will not need to run their heat pumps as high or as long in the daytime because the temperature is already near the ideal. If you would like to use the pool year-round, and if the pool does not usually receive a lot of heat organically from the sun, you may consider getting a heater. By taking the time to research one of these alternative heating options, you will be able to keep your pool warm and enjoy it all year long.
If you want to keep your pool a comfortable temperature without stressing too much about your electric bills, do not leave your heater running at night. If you are an avid swimmer, having to turn the heat up in the morning just to keep your water at that desired temperature that you want could actually cost you much more money than leaving the heater on overnight. If you are swimming early in the morning, heating your pool at night would be the better choice since it takes several hours for your pool to heat up. If you are lucky enough to live in a tropical climate where it seems like it never gets under 70 degrees, then you may want to consider taking the time out of your day to heat the pool.
Plus, as we find out later, it is actually the water evaporation that causes the most loss of heat in your pool, so you have got to keep it from happening more than you have to actively heat the pool in order to keep water warm. In case you are wondering, you can heat a saltwater pool using the same heat methods that a chlorine-filled pool uses on a regular basis. If you have an aboveground pool, you might want to consider heating your water using a solar dome. Used at night, or anytime the pool is not being used, the pool dome can help you save on fuel costs, cutting down on heat loss no matter what kind of heat treatment you are using.