Your pool is your own personal oasis three months out of the year. But as the days grow shorter and the water grows colder, you may be wishing there was a way to make the magic of a summertime swim last a little longer.
In this article, we’ll highlight the most efficient ways to heat a pool, including a trio of low-cost methods that any homeowner can employ with ease.
1. Solar Covers
Solar covers (also known as solar blankets) have long been regarded as one of the simplest and best ways to heat a pool. That’s because they tackle the foremost cause of heat loss—evaporation—head-on. These covers work by absorbing sunlight, trapping it (preventing evaporation), and gradually transferring it to the water below.
Just cover your pool at night or on days when the temperature drops, then remove the cover when you want to take a dip. It’s as easy as that. As a bonus, a solar cover can act as a protective shield against dirt, leaves, and other debris.
2. Solar Panels
Solar panels operate on the same basic principle as solar covers but provide a more direct and sustained effect to help heat your pool. The key to their usefulness lies in three simple components: a small pump, a couple of hoses, and some good old-fashioned ingenuity (1).
Solar water heating systems can either rely on electric pumps to circulate water (active) or rely on thermodynamics (passive).
Once activated, the pump pulls water from the pool and sends it via the hoses through a series of chambers in the panel, where it’s heated by stored solar energy before being fed back into the pool. Since the water remains in constant circulation, it will stay warm for as long as the sun is shining.
This all might sound complicated, but solar panels can be both efficient and affordable (2).
Read More: Best Solar Pool Heater
3. Solar Rings
Solar rings are essentially miniature circular or ring-shaped solar covers that help to heat your pool. They float on the top of your pool water like oversized lily pads, collecting warming sunlight and safeguarding against unwanted evaporation.
You can even make them yourself, like in this helpful video:
Despite their modest appearance, solar rings can help add warmth to your pool. They’re also an affordable and environmentally friendly option for pool owners. Plus, you can go for a swim while they’re in use.
4. Liquid Solar
One of the niftier innovations in swimming pool heating in recent years is liquid solar products. These small devices can be purchased at any pool supply store for just a few dollars.
When you toss them into your swimming pool, they release a viscous liquid that slowly spreads out over the surface of the water. This liquid eventually forms a heat-retaining barrier to help heat your pool.
Liquid solar products is safe to put in your swimming pool. It is 100% non-toxic and environmentally-friendly.
For more information on solar pool heating solutions and the science behind them, check out our article on solar pool heating.
5. Gas, or Heat Pump Pool Heaters
If solar pool heating isn’t viable for your situation, other pool heaters commonly come in gas, and heat pump varieties to help heat your pool (3). Both a heat pump pool heater and a gas-reliant pool heater are without a doubt effective ways to raise the temperature in your swimming pool noticeably in a short time.
Gas heaters can even maintain your desired pool temperature, regardless if it’s raining (4). However, gas and heat pump systems both come with a high price tag and more negative environmental consequences, when compared to newer solar options on the market.
What’s The Most Efficient Way To Heat a Pool?
The most efficient way to heat a pool is using a solar cover, in combination with an energy-efficient gas, heat pump, or solar pool heater.
“You can improve your swimming pool’s heating and energy efficiency by installing an energy efficient pool heater [gas, heat pump, or solar] and taking the steps to reduce pool heating costs.” (4)
In terms of overall efficiency, though, solar covers could be considered superior. After all, they require less energy (and utility bills) than other heat sources.
How Can I Heat My Pool Cheaply?
There’s a few ways that you can heat your pool cheaply like using solar pool covers or ring sets for as little as $50-$100 (if you purchase them). A rooftop or backyard solar panel system may involve zero cost after you buy your system, or up to about $10 per month, depending on the size of your swimming pool.
Are Pool Heaters Worth It?
In our books, pool heaters are worth it because there are a plethora of options available from free to $10,000+, depending on how fast you want to warm your pool.
A standalone pool heater is one of the most effective ways to heat a swimming pool, besides a pool solar panel system and solar covers on a sunny day. However, standalone pool heaters can cost a considerable amount more than other solutions in upfront, operating, and maintenance costs.
Your budget, how often you use your pool, and desired temperature will all determine if pool heaters are worth it for you.
- Solar Water Heating. Retrieved from: https://www.nrel.gov/research/re-solar-water-heating.html
- Solar Photovoltaic Technology Basics. Retrieved from: https://www.nrel.gov/research/re-photovoltaics.html
- Swimming Pool Heating. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/heat-and-cool/water-heating/swimming-pool-heating