heating pools

laffterMarch 17, 2004

I live in a cold climate and would love a non-polluting, inexpensive source for heat for our future pool. Can pools be heated by propane, and if so, is it environmentally friendly and safe and will it smell like the back of a fork lift? Is there a way to reclaim heat from air conditioners/heat pumps and direct them into a pool? I would use solar heat as much as possible but around here I'd still need a boost from another source.

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There are pool covers that act as passive solar heat collectors. I think that they look something like sheets of plastic bubble wrap; like the type that you use to pack breakables for shipping.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2004 at 10:27PM
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Black in colour - and often rolled on a tube stretching across the pool that one rolls along the pool edges to install and remove.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   March 24, 2004 at 7:39PM
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New York isn't a cold climate. We are 3-4 climate zones colder than you and we heat our pool with solar panels. Now to be fair (and honest) we have a huge back up gas heater that can raise the pool temperature by 1 degree F per hour and we live in a very sunny part of the country.

In our case, the solar panels provide 80% of the heat needed to keep the pool warm. We now keep our pool at about 85-88F and the gas bill (using last year's gas cost) was reduced by $400 to about $100.

A solar cover is a no brainer as it keeps in the heat that you have spent big bucks creating. My understanding is that propane is a very expensive way to heat a pool, but all depends on the relative costs of fuels in your area. There are electric heat pump pool heaters, but they seem awfully expensive to buy and operate so I have not seriously considered it as we went low tech solar panels first. After all you only use a pool in the summer when it's sunny right?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2004 at 5:32PM
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I have been looking into the same thing-what about the solar panels? I found some websites that offer the panels and covers. Does anyone on this forum use them? How well do both combined heat?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2004 at 7:21AM
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You also need to cover your pool at night...it helps keep in the heat. Which is another reason some of the covers are designed a certain way. My dad was a pool builder so he has seen all kinds of covers and if you really want it warm if its a really big deep pool you will still need a heater for upstate ny anyway.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2004 at 12:01AM
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I supose this is a rather simplistic suggestion, but it would make a difference. Why not build the pool with a dark colour tile to capture the sunlight and turn it in to heat directly within the pool itself. Of course you will need other methods for heating it alongside this, but it would provide a portion of the pool's required heat and since the pool will need tiles anyway, it probably won't cost more to use a dark colour. How much extra heat it would provide depends on the location, time of day and the capacity of the pool, but you can see the difference by placing two pots of water in the sun, one black and the other white. After a few hours the black one will be quite a few degrees warmer than the white one.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2004 at 2:46PM
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Yes always to a solar blanket. It reduces evaporation and retains whatever heat there is when the pool is warmer that the air temperature.

A black pool is not attractive and means that you won't see anything on the bottom. There could be a body in the pool and you would not see it! There are a number of companies that sell dark or black "pool heating" covers, but I am not sure they produce any more heating effect that our light blue cover.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2004 at 4:49AM
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I saw a black infinity pool on Cribs and it was stunning! Suppose it's all a matter of taste. I don't know about NY, but a black pool can get TOO hot.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2004 at 3:58PM
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My friend had a dark blue pool liner, and I don't think you could see the bottom. It looked more natural than the ordinary light blue liners and it was beautiful!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2004 at 4:26PM
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QUOTE "A black pool is not attractive and means that you won't see anything on the bottom. There could be a body in the pool and you would not see it!"

Not only would it save energy, but you could really cut back on pool maintenance too!

Seriously, I think it's a dramatic design statement and it may not suit everyone. However, I have seen one and I found it quite attractive. You could also consider installing some of those underwater lights in the sides to brighten it up a little?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2004 at 10:46AM
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I had a friend that had a pool. They used a series of black rubber hoses tightly coiled inside of a wooden frame. They then covered the coiled hoses with black plastic and installed it on a roof top. The water was then pumped through the coiled hoses and into the pool. As the pool water moved through the hose it picked up heat for free.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2004 at 6:27PM
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We just had a new pool built with dark grey plaster. It turns the water the most fabulous shade of blue and looks very natural in this climate (central NJ). It's very pretty to look at and makes you feel like you're swimming in a pond.

We also have an automatic cover that keeps the heat in quite nicely. I read somewhere that wind is a major factor in heat loss, so a cover, solar or otherwise, is a must. The nice thing about the motorized cover is that we actually use it. Our last pool had a solar cover that was difficult to manage on an everyday basis. So we often didn't use it at all.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2004 at 9:00PM
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We live in Michigan and have an inground pool. We have a furnace which is natural gas. It is necessary to get the pool up to temperature in the Spring and then in the fall when the nights are cooler it will come on. The automatic thermostat controls when it turns on and off. We always use a solar cover. Once the pool is up to temp (we like it mid 80's) then the solar cover keeps it at that temperature through a good part of the summer. If it gets really hot, such as in the middle of July, then you may want to leave the cover off or the water temp may get too warm. Our cover is not automatic but it is on a reel so it is easy to roll off and pull back on. One person can do it easily. Be sure to cover your solar cover when it is off the pool to prolong the life of the cover. Many of them come with a white plastic cover to put on when out of the pool.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 5:36PM
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Friends of mine run their pool & hot tub through the same outdoor wood-fired boiler that heats the house in the winter.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2004 at 1:49PM
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I do a lot of smaller black pipe and also
a commercial solar panel system

see images here:

These images and the info I posted is now outdated as I have upgraded to a professional solar system, called Enersol that I bought in Canada. ( I live in Canada ), the panels push about 20 times the amount of my small black hose system you see here, but I still use these at the moment to really get the full benefit out of my land. I bought 6 professional panels ( each one is 40 sq feet ) but I only have space for 4 of them which is quite depressing. Anyway I hope to get the others hooked up later this summer if I build a small roof over part of my deck. By the way, the 4 panels I have running are 4x10 feet each, and I built them onto a mini false roof which is located behind my pool at the end of my property.

you may see an image here:


    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 9:19PM
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