As summer winds down, even Buckhead, GA, will begin to cool off. However, the southern Georgia climate does afford us far more time to enjoy the outdoors than our neighbors up north. Even early December daytime temperatures hover in the mid-50s with little to no evening frost. Given these conditions, those with swimming poolsin Buckhead ought to consider an important end of summer tip—which pool heater to install to extend the backyard swimming season.
When we think about a new pool design in Buckhead or simply upgrading pools in Buckhead, we will consider the three basic types of heating systems for a pool—solar, gas, and electric pump. In deciding which is the best system for a pool, we look at a number of factors that include our customer’s needs, wishes, budget, and pool location. So, let’s take a brief peek at each, beginning with the most popular and most economical—solar heaters.
Though solar heaters are the most economical way to heat pools, installation can be a bit costly. Yet energy from the sun is not only clean and inexhaustible, it’s free and, in Georgia, it’s plentiful year-round. As solar panels sit in the sun, they collect the sun’s heat and the pump then circulates the water through panels to transfer heat to the pool. However, solar heaters require a collector area that’s at least 50 percent of the pool’s surface area. Also, although the solar energy may be free, the system requires that the pump is running in order for the heater to operate properly, which in turn increases your electric bill. Since solar heaters rely on the sun, many owners use supplementary heaters to keep pools warm at night and on cloudy days. Solar heaters have been around for nearly 50 years, so they’re well-tested and will last 15 to 20 years. They’re particularly ideal for those seeking an environmentally clean and green solution.
Gas pool heaters use propane or natural gas and, unlike solar heaters, operate independently of outdoor conditions. They burn fuel inside a combustion chamber while the water runs through copper coils to return warm water to the pool. Whereas temperatures in solar heated pools will vary throughout the year, gas-heated pools can be maintained at a preferred temperature—though with the cost of gas skyrocketing in some areas, it can cost quite a bit to keep an average sized pool at 80°F throughout the year. However, unlike the high costs of installing a solar heating system, gas heaters are inexpensive. We use gas heaters in pool installations because they provide rapid heating ability, which makes them well suited for pools used primarily for entertaining. They are also ideal when added to a solar system to offset that system’s inability to provide heat at night or in cloudy weather.
Electric heat pumps are ideal for Georgia’s temperate climate and work just like air conditioning, only in reverse, by taking heat from the outside air as low as 45–50°F and transferring it into the pool water. These pumps are sometimes referred to as solar heat pumps because of their ability to capture heat from the air temperature and efficiently return it to heat the pool water. They’re considerably cheaper to operate than gas heaters, costing one-third as much as propane and half the cost of natural gas to deliver the same amount of heat. They can also deliver heat at night and during inclement weather, offering more reliable performance than solar heaters. Finally, heat pumps heat at a faster rate than solar heaters, making it a better choice for those whose priority is swimming during stretches of mild winter weather. They have a lifespan of up to 20 years, use a renewable energy source, and emit no air pollution.