- The Benefits of Swimming Pool Heating
- Pool Heating Installation cost Comparison
- Electric Resistance Pool Heaters
- Heat Pump Pool Heaters
- Solar Pool Heater
- The Take-away
Solar pool heaters are among the more expensive heating options to install but have little or no running costs thereafter.
There are several ways of heating swimming pools including electric heaters, heat pumps, gas heaters, and even wood-fired heating units.
These systems generally all do a good job of heating your pool water but all share a common downfall. And that is running costs.
Solar pool heating systems, on the other hand, have negligible if any running costs. This alone makes the solar pool heater one of the more attractive pools heating options, particularly for residential pool owners.
And this, notwithstanding the fact a solar pool heater installation is usually fairly expensive.
The Benefits of Swimming Pool Heating
Adding heating to your swimming pool can add months to the swimming season. This greatly enhances the value of the asset both in terms of family enjoyment and return on investment. In turn, having a heated pool may also add to the overall value of your home.
In particular, a solar heater for the pool water is certainly the most efficient option in the long run.
Pool Heating Installation cost Comparison
Let’s consider the purchase and installation costs for each of the most popular pool heating options.
Electric Resistance Pool Heaters
The electric resistance pool heater is essentially a large kettle. They may be tanked or tankless but all utilize an electric element to heat the pool water.
On average, electric resistance heaters cost between $750 and $1,500 to buy. Heaters at the high end of the scale can cost $2,000 or more.
Resistance heaters are notoriously power-hungry and can require upgrades to the existing house wiring. The average cost for a resistance heater installation is $500 to $800.
This equates to an average total installed cost of between $1,250 to $2,300.
Heat Pump Pool Heaters
A heat pump pool heater works the same as a conventional air conditioner only with a reversed cycle priority.
The average purchase price of a heat pump pool heater is between $2,000 to $3,000. The top heaters may cost in excess of $4,000 or more.
Heat pump heaters are generally cheaper to install than resistance types. The average installation typically runs from $300 to $500.
Thus, the total average installed cost would be between $2,300 and $3, 500.
Solar Pool Heater
A solar pool heating system works by circulating cool pool water through pipes arranged in coils or flat solar panels.
In some types, the water mass in these pipes arrangements (know as collectors) is heated directly by solar radiation. Typically, a group of these solar panels will make up the collector component.
In high-performance systems, the water passes through a single large manifold. In the manifold, the water is heated by solar panels made up of specially designed evacuated vacuum tubes.
The tubes collect solar radiation at high rates and transfer it to the water in the manifold.
In both cases, the heated water is then returned to the pool in a continuous cycle during daylight hours. Although relatively simplistic in their operating principle, solar pool heaters are remarkably efficient.
Under ideal conditions, a solar pool heater can raise the water temperature by up to 10° at almost no cost.
Installing solar pool heating can be a fairly expensive exercise. However, the almost zero operating cost thereafter can see you breaking even on the installation in less than 5 years.
Let’s take a look at the average cost of some of the more popular solar pool heater types.
Flexible Mat Solar Pool Heaters
These heaters are easy to install, mobile, and particularly effective for smaller above-ground pools. The average cost is between $200 and $400.
They usually tie in with an existing pool pump and are fairly simple to DIY install. The cost of a professional installation would seldom exceed $200.
Rooftop Solar Panel Pool Heaters
These heaters have higher capacities than mat or dome heaters and are typically mounted on the roof of the home.
The systems are fairly extensive and complex making DIY installation the exception rather than the rule.
The type of solar collector heater chosen, the number of solar panels required, and pool size will determine the cost.
The average cost of an unglazed solar panel heater is between $2,000 and $4,000 to buy and install. A glazed solar panel heater will cost on average between $3,000 and $8,500 to purchase and install.
Vacuum Tube Solar Pool Heaters
These are the big boys in the solar pool heating game and are suitable for very large pools. Again, these systems are best installed by professionals.
Average prices for an installed vacuum tube pool heater range from $9.000 to $11,000.
Heater Cost Comparisons at a Glance
Here’s an at-a-glance comparison of the above.
Marrying Conventional Pool Heating with Solar Power
Here’s an additional point of interest regarding the relationship between conventional and solar pool heating.
If you already have an existing solar system powering your home, you could run a conventional pool heater from it. In other words, you could use a heat pump running on solar power to heat your pool.
Even if you had to extend the capacity of the existing solar system, the cost may be lower than other options.
Solar Pool Heating System Savings
Although the cost of solar pool heating hurts the wallet initially, the monthly and yearly savings are spectacular. Here is an example of average monthly and yearly running costs for the popular types of pool heating systems.
As you can see, the running cost of a solar pool heater is a fraction of that of other types. With the average lifespan of a solar pool heater being 20 to 25 years, the savings impact is crystal clear.
And the value of solar pool heating does not end with dollar and cents savings. Current residential property trends see increasing value being placed on smart and green home features.
And a solar presence is high on the list of desirable home features. So, the solar pool heater cost is a well-justified one.
Installing a solar pool heater is a no-brainer when it comes to squeezing the most value out of your pool.
Not to mention saving big on running costs while boosting your home value to boot. If you have a pool of whatever description in your yard, installing solar pool heating systems is an absolute must.
As a quick closing note to the DIY community. Seeking professional advice before you install a solar pool heater is a very good practice. Their years of combined experience can ensure your pool heating costs go down and not up!