9 Affordable Ways To Heat Your Pool
One of the most amazing things about summer is jumping into your deliciously refreshing pool on a hot day. Unfortunately, while we still have the warm memories of summer, the warmer temperatures have definitely faded away. Luckily, here in sunny Southwest Florida, there are still plenty of swimming days ahead! We know your pool is a source of fun, exercise, and relaxation, and you want to enjoy it for as long as possible. However, heating a pool has the potential to result in a very costly monthly bill. Want to know how to enjoy your pool longer without breaking the bank? Let the expert team at McCarthy Air Conditioning share our decades of experience and advice!
In this season of giving (and spending), let’s put a little extra holiday cheer in your bank account with these 9 affordable ways to heat your pool!
What’s The Ideal Pool Temperature?
First, let’s take a quick detour to discuss the ideal pool temperature. While a weather forecast of 72 degrees sounds wonderful when you are fully dressed, a dip in the pool can leave you shivering and searching for your warm fuzzy towel. Everyone’s pool preferences are a bit different. However, most people prefer swimming in water in the 80s-degree range. This temperature strikes the ideal balance between being warm enough for everyone to enjoy yet not warm enough that algae and bacteria can go crazy! Getting your pool up to the 82-degree range and keeping it there is quite the undertaking!
1. Solar Cover / Pool Cover
When looking for affordable ways to heat your pool, solar anything is a great way to start – especially if you live in a state that sees a lot of beautiful, sunny days! A solar cover is an excellent, cost-effective way to retain heat in your swimming pool. Acting as a barrier between the water and the elements, a pool cover prevents. Evaporation is responsible for 75% of your pool’s heat loss because heat rises, so preventing it is key to reducing the cost of heating your pool. However, heat loss is inevitable without a shield, and a solar cover provides the perfect protection. Not only does a solar cover help the water retain heat, but it also protects your pool from stray leaves, dirt, and bird poop.
Why opt for a solar cover versus a regular pool cover? A solar cover is specially designed to absorb solar heat, giving it the ability to reduce evaporation and improve heat retention. Depending on your chosen cover, this option costs anywhere from $50 to $200.
2. Solar Rings
Solar rings serve a similar purpose as solar covers. However, solar rings are five-foot inflatable vinyl circles that you can hook together and float on your pool instead of covering your entire pool. The rings work to absorb heat from the sun while preventing evaporation. We recommend purchasing enough rings to cover the surface of your pool. In addition, opt for solar rings with small magnets inside. The magnets help the rings stay closer together, helping prevent heat from escaping.
Again, depending on the style, brand, and quantity, you need solar rings run anywhere from $50 – $250.
Solar Rings Vs. Solar Cover
Pros of Solar Rings
- More versatile
- Do not need to fit perfectly over the surface of a pool like a solar cover.
- Easily stored and stacked
Cons of Solar Rings
- Often more expensive
- Do not achieve entire pool coverage like a solar cover.
Pros of Solar Cover
- It covers your entire pool.
- Offers more protection from debris
Cons of Solar Cover
- More planning goes into buying a solar cover because you need the fit to exactly match your pool dimensions
3. Black Hose
This list would not be finished without the simple yet clever black hose solution. Dark colors absorb solar heat easier and faster than lighter colors, so running your pool water through a black hose can help warm your water naturally. If you live in a sunny state, this solution is perfect for you, and it will only cost you the price of a black garden hose ($80-150).
How do you set up the black hose to heat your water? We are glad you asked!
- First, purchase a black garden hose. You want to ensure the hose is long enough to reach your pool pump area and a location that sees a lot of direct sunlight. The deck or even the roof of your home, garage, or shed are all excellent spots. Ideally, you need 50-100 ft of hose to spare. We advise purchasing a hose 150-300 ft in length.
- Second, unwind the black hose and connect it to the pool pump’s return by a faucet connection. You may need to install this part.
- Next, run the hose to the top of your direct sunlight spot.
- Then, wrap the hose in a coil formation (think snake). This coil formation improves your hose’s efficiency at retaining heat (warmer water for you!).
- Finally, run the remaining hose back to your pool. You want the hose to feed your pool the warm water it collects.
4. Liquid Solar Cover
Similar to a regular pool cover, a liquid solar cover will create a barrier to reduce evaporation. However, if you don’t like the look of a pool cover or want to avoid the hassle of pulling it on and off, a liquid solar cover is for you because it is invisible to the human eye. The liquid solar cover is thin, non-toxic, and eco-safe, and you don’t need to worry about pulling it on and off before and after you swim. The liquid is primarily made from fatty alcohol that sits on top of the water. Because it is such a thin solution, you can’t see or feel it, and it is safe to swim in. However, if you live in a particularly windy location, this is not the best option for you, as the wind can and will break the liquid seal resulting in heat loss.
How to Use a Liquid Solar Cover For Pool
Your days of struggling to handle the bulky, awkward pool cover are over! Using a liquid solar cover is simple, efficient, and easy.
- First, buy enough to last a few months. How much you need depends on the size of your pool. Always double-check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you get the right amount.
- Next, set a schedule. If you want your pool cover to retain heat effectively, you will need to add the solution regularly. You can check the instructions on the bottle for how frequently to add, but we recommend a minimum of once a month.
- Finally, pour it in. The liquid solar cover will rise to the surface of your pool’s water and disperse itself across the surface of your pool, binding together to form a cozy, protective blanket.
Depending on your pool’s size and your chosen brand, this solution will cost anywhere from $20 to $50. Remember that while this solution is not as effective as a solid cover, it can reduce the evaporation of heat from your pool by as much as 85%.
5. Put Down Solar Mats
A solar mat is another excellent way to harness the sun’s power and heat your pool. Solar mats work similarly to a black hose. However, you have a flat, black vinyl mat with numerous tubes inside instead of a black hose. The tubes hold the water. The mat lies flat on a surface that receives a lot of direct sunlight. The pump sucks water from the pool. Then it pushes the water through the tubes. Once in the tubes, the sun warms the water before the pump recirculates it back into your pool!
The cost for this solution varies. One mat costs anywhere between $35 – $80. Of course, the size of your pool dramatically affects how many mats you need.
6. Float Trash Bags
Yes, you read that correctly. Because black-colored objects absorb the heat from the sun, placing black trash bags over the surface area of your pool will help heat your water. Laying large black trash bags on the surface of your pool is an easy way to absorb heat and keep your water warmer. You can float the bags alone or drape the bags over pool noodles. For best results, we recommend using thick contractor-grad bags.
However, in the spirit of honesty, this solution is only for some. You might not love the look or the work of laying out all the bags and picking them back up again.
The cost of this solution is again dependent on the size of your pool. The bigger the pool, the more trash bags you will need. Also, this is not a one-time cost. You will need to replace trash bags as they rip, age, and wear. On average, expect to pay $15 – 25 for a box of 26 bags.
7. Solar Dome to Heat Your Pool
A solar dome gathers the sun’s rays and then circulates the pool water through its warming channels before returning the warm water to your pool. On average, a solar dome will bump the temperature of your pool up a whole whopping 10 degrees, especially during consecutive sunny days. However, this option poses a few challenges to install and can require extra connectors. They run anywhere from $40 – 600 depending on the model, size, and number you want to purchase.
8. Windproof Pool Enclosures
Now we are not suggesting you move your outdoor pool inside. However, blocking your outdoor pool from the wind will keep it much warmer. Think of it like this. We blow on our hot bowl of soup to cool it off faster. The same concept comes into play regarding the wind, heat loss, and your pool.
Let’s get into a bit of science. We promise it won’t be that bad! When your water is calm, the surface area is proportionate to your pool’s physical size. The wind will cause small waves to ripple across the water’s surface. The wind’s impact on the surface area generates a disruption causing a burst of heat to escape. So by blocking the wind, you are effectively blocking the disruption that causes heat to escape the surface.
They also make swimming a lot more enjoyable regardless of what the weather is doing. This option’s cost depends on the size of your pool, how high you want your wind cover, your deck, and the material you use. You can find pool barriers online made from durable canvas. You can also build your own with wood!
9. A Pool Heater
A pool heat pump draws warm air from the atmosphere instead of using a heating element. It then uses a low-energy process to magnify the heat and transfer it to your pool water. It is a wonderful solution if you live in an area where your pool doesn’t see a lot of sun. The heat pump is dependent on temperature, not sunshine. So as long as your weather stays above 40 degrees, the pool heat pump will provide your pool with all the heat it needs, making them a perfect solution to extend your pool season!
Pro Tip: Use a solar heater and pool heat pump together to really maximize your savings! You would use the pool heat pump to achieve the ideal temperature and the solar heater to sustain the temperature. The combination will greatly reduce how often you need to run your heat pump.
Instead of paying the average of $50 – 150 (a month), a solar heater working in conjunction with your pool heat pump runs you the average monthly cost of $25 – 100.
Implementing one or a combination of these 9 affordable ways to heat your pool will save you a lot of money and give you more enjoyment of your pool! Most of the methods involve relying on mother nature to heat your pool!
However, give us a call if solar power isn’t quite cutting it. Our experienced team of professionals is happy to talk to you about a pool heating pump to fit your needs and how you can use it with other methods to save money!