Solar pool heating is one of the most economically attractive solar technologies in Florida currently. If you are concerned about heating your pool, or can no longer afford heating it with fossil fuel alone, consider installing a solar pool heater.
The following information helps answer the most frequently asked questions regarding the costs of pool heater installation in Miami. Keep in mind that much of this information is "rule of thumb"; your situation, if analyzed in detail, may vary slightly from the general application.
Q: What would it cost to heat my pool with a standard fossil fuel heater?
There are almost 800,000 swimming pools (including above-ground) in Florida, and many of them must be heated during the colder months to maintain comfortable swimming conditions. An unheated pool will usually stay at about the average outdoor temperature, which may be as low as 53°F in north Florida in winter. For the specific user, comfortable pool water temperatures are 78°F to 82°F in spring and fall and 76°F to 78°F in winter.
Q: How does solar compare with other types of pool heating?
A standard solar heating system costs from $2,000 to $4,000 installed. Compared with average fossil fuel heating, a solar pool heater provides the most favorable payback of 1.5 to 7 years. Additionally, the solar pool heating industry in Florida is mature. It has many distributors and contractors and a track record of many years of experience.
Please note that the actual cost of solar pool heating systems depends on numerous factors — ease of installation, type of financing, location of the pool in north or south, length of pool season desired, and building code requirements. These variables cause price variations, and the homeowner should talk to more than one dealer-installer when considering to buy.
Q: What about maintenance?
A properly installed solar pool heating system should need very little or no maintenance. Nevertheless, regular maintenance of the pool and its filtration system is crucial. Pool pH and chlorine levels must be maintained within limits stated by the pool water test kits.
Chemicals need to be added to the pool water far from the collector intake pipes. The filter should be cleaned as regularly as is recommended by the manufacturer to ensure that adequate flow is supplied to the collectors. Check the solar pool heater system for proper operation at the beginning of each swimming season, specifically if it has an automatic control.
Remember, an appropriately operating solar collector feels cool to the touch. The temperature increase of the water going through the collectors should be from 3°F to 5°F for the most efficient operation.
Q: What about pool covers?
The most significant loss of heat from a pool results from its surface because of evaporation. By lowering this evaporation loss, pool covers are instrumental in lengthening the swimming season. They also keep the pool clean, thus reducing the cost of chemicals and filter maintenance. Depending on materials and the number of hours of use, temperature increases of 5°F to 10°F may be anticipated from a pool cover. A 5°F increase is reasonable when the cover is used 12 hours a day; 10°F when it is used 20 hours a day.
Transparent or slightly translucent covers work best since they allow solar energy to pass through and be absorbed by the pool water, and they also prevent heat loss at night. Opaque covers are best used in Florida at night to stop heat loss. A roller is an excellent investment to assist you in moving the cover on and off the pool. We also have motorized rollers.
Solar pool heater covers will last from three to five years, depending on care in handling and storage. However, they are your best purchase for an extended swimming season. From the perspective of energy conservation, a solar pool heater cover should be used.
If you're beginning the search for pool heater repair near you, you should be sure to consider a few crucial factors during the process. One of these may even involve buying a new heater and finding pool heater installation services nearby. Choosing the ideal pool heater is a tricky decision. Instead of selecting the pool heater that sounds best right away, consider the advice below to provide you with pricing and product selection.
Heating your pool is an appropriate way to keep it available to you and your family to enjoy through the seasons a bit longer. Swimming pool heaters are the most complex piece of pool equipment in your pool system. They are sophisticated devices consisting of numerous moving parts using either gas or electricity to supply heat. This brings us to the main pool temperature regulation options, Gas pool heaters and heat pumps.
To ensure your pool heater is ready to use, you should treat it the same way you would a household heating system: regular maintenance and checkups. Below are some factors that could influence the cost of repairing your pool heater.
Why is My Pool Heater Not Working?
Many factors could keep your pool heater from functioning correctly. It's a good idea to try to determine what problem you may be up against on your own, but you should always get in touch with a professional to ensure that you take the best steps for your system.
Lack of Maintenance
If you haven't taken care of your heater with regular maintenance and upkeep, it could be more costly to fix. Many people realize that their heater is broken when it stops working or their energy bill suddenly increases. By this time, a simple repair may have become a difficult one. This costs you a lot of money.
Watch for these common problems with your pool heater:
More expensive bills as a result of decreased system efficiency
Issues with controls or system power, which could point to inadequate connections
Excessive noise because of the equipment that has broken or fallen into disrepair
The overall rule of thumb is to seek annual pool heater maintenance. This enables you to find issues as early as possible.
Your Heater May Be the Incorrect Size
Not only will the kind of your heater dictate the price of repair, so will the size of your heater. Larger heaters will need more work, and it may be more difficult to get to the issue.
Your Heater is Not Protected from the Acidic Saltwater in Your Pool
Saltwater is highly corrosive, and a pool heater needs to be equipped with a unique heat exchanger and other features to handle it.
The heat exchanger enables a pool to be heated via hot water from an outside source. When hot water is brought in through a boiler or solar-heated water circuit, it's easy to avoid saltwater corrosion.
Since these heaters are so specialized, they are more expensive to fix.
Environmental and Other Problems
The issue could be electrical, a matter of broken parts, or an animal that has taken up residence in the unit. There are also other factors to consider, like leaks, soot, rust, and control failure.
Indoor swimming pools have always been popular, especially in areas where cold winters take away the fun of swimming outdoors. Not only are indoor pools more comfortable to maintain, since there is little debris to find its way into the water, but you can also enjoy a swim regardless of the weather; especially if you have the right pool heater installed.
“If it is a good idea to have your swimming pool indoors,” some pool owners ask, “can a swimming pool heater be installed inside?” As much as it may seem like a good idea to locate all of your pool heater indoor, your heat pump should remain in the great out-of-doors. Let’s see why. We will start by briefly discussing how a heat pump works.
A swimming pool heat pump, in the simplest terms, pulls heat from the surrounding air and transmits that heat into the pool water. The typical residential swimming pool heater requires a large amount of fresh air to transfer heat correctly. The system refrigerant pulls heat out of the air, making the refrigerant warmer. The heat pump then transmits this heat to the pool water, also making it warmer. The air leaving the system is typically 8-12 degrees cooler than the air entering the system.
If the pool heater were installed indoors in a closed environment, it would re-circulate the same air, instead of using fresh air. Consequently, the indoor air would quickly be cooled, and the unit would soon shut down since it would no longer be able to draw sufficient heat from the surrounding air.
In other applications, understanding the need for fresh air to supply the swimming pool heat pump, installers have attached ductwork to units to remove the cold air leaving the unit and to bring fresh, warmer air to the system. Though, the propeller style fans used to move air through the system are not designed to work against any significant resistance to airflow, which is exactly what a duct system presents. This resistance to the free flow of air through the heat pump results in loss of performance and potential component failure. Thus, using ductwork to move air to and from an indoor pool heater is not a viable solution.
If you feel you have no choice except to install your pool heaters inside the pump, you should contact the manufacturer of your unit and advise them of your situation. They may be able to assist you with a solution, but very seldom can units be made to work well indoors. If you insist on installing your swimming pool heater inside, you MUST provide a way to supply 3,500 CFMs of fresh air to your unit.
Solar panels can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home. Solar pool heaters can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use -- sunshine -- is free.
How They Work
Our Solar heating systems for Broward County residents include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two kinds of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don't.
Active Solar Water Heating Systems
There are two forms of active solar water heating systems:
Direct circulation systems
Pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the household. They work well in climates where it hardly freezes.
Passive solar water heating systems are basically cheaper than active systems, but they're usually not as efficient. However, passive systems can be more dependable and may last longer. There are two basic kinds of passive systems:
Integral collector-storage passive systems
These work best in areas where temperatures hardly fall below freezing. They also work well in homes with significant daytime and evening hot-water needs.
Water flows through the solar system when warm water rises as cooler water sinks. The collector must be installed below the storage tank to allow warm water to rise into the container. These systems are reliable, but contractors must be careful about the roof design due to the massive storage tank. They are typically more expensive than integral collector-storage passive systems.
Choosing a Solar Water Heater
Before you buy and install a solar water heating system, you want to do the following:
Estimate the cost and energy efficiency of a solar water heating system
Evaluate your location's solar resource
Determine the right system size
Investigate resident codes, covenants, and regulations.
Also understand the several components required for solar water heating systems, including the following:
Heat exchangers for solar water heating systems
Heat-transfer fluids for solar water heating systems
Installing and Maintaining the System
The proper installation of solar water heaters relies on a lot of factors. These factors include solar resource, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues; hence, it's best to have a qualified solar thermal systems contractor install your system.
After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running efficiently. Passive systems don't require a lot of maintenance. For active systems, discuss the pool heater maintenance requirements with your system provider, and consult the system's owner's guide. Plumbing and other conventional water heating components need the same maintenance as conventional systems. Glazing may require to be cleaned in dry climates where rainwater doesn't provide a natural rinse.
Consistent maintenance on simple systems can be as infrequent as every 3–5 years, preferably by a solar contractor. Systems with electrical components typically require a replacement part or two after 10 years.
When possible, screen contractors for installation and maintenance, ask the following questions:
Does your firm have experience installing and maintaining solar water heating systems?
Select a company that has experience installing the type of system you want and servicing the applications you select.
How many years of experience does your firm have with solar heating installation and maintenance?
The more experienced, the better. Request a list of past clientele who can provide references.
Is your firm licensed or certified?
Having a legal plumber and solar contractor's license is mandatory in some states. Contact your city and county for additional information. Check licensing with your state's contractor licensing board. The licensing board can also tell you concerning any complaints against state-licensed contractors.
Improving Energy Efficiency
After your water heater is installed correctly and maintained, try some supplementary energy-saving strategies to assist lower your water heating bills, especially if you require a back-up system. Some energy-saving devices and systems are less costly to install with the water heater.
Swimming pool heaters are the most complex piece of pool equipment on your pool equipment pad. Making repairs to pool heaters should be performed by competent personnel. Gas pool heaters using Natural Gas or LP (Liquid Propane) gas can be risky by combustion or exhaust of the pool heater.
Florida Pool Heating has created the Pool heater FAQ below to help property owners with pool heater repairs.
Heater Pilot Won't Light?
This could be as a result of low gas pressure, inadequate air supply, or improper venting. Ensure that the gas is turned on, and for propane, make sure the tank has fuel. Also, check for water run-off from the roof or sprinklers that may be flooding the pool heater. Check to ensure the heater pilot tubing is intact and not clogged. Confirm that the pilot orifice is not clogged with rust or small insects. For millivolt heaters, if the pilot will not stay ignited, check the thermocouple's output for 600 mv.
Heater Won't Reach the Acceptable Temperature?
The thermostat may be set too low. If the heat loss is greater than the heater input - the heater may be too small, outside air temperature is too low, or your heater may have an insufficient gas supply. You may need to install a solar pool cover to slow heat loss from your pool. All pool heaters have high limit switches to avoid overheating. A faulty upper limit switch could shut off the heater, or the issue could be that the heater is genuinely overheating, perhaps from improper exhaust out of the top of the heater.
The Heater Cycles On and Off Before it Reaches the Desired Temperature?
Your pool heater may have inadequate water flow due to a dirty filter, closed valve, external bypass, reversed water connections, or pressure switch out of adjustment. It is also possible that your thermostat is out of calibration or requires to be replaced. For low speed or variable speed pool heaters, the heater will not work on low flow pump speeds.
I Hear "Clicking" or "Sparking," But My Pool Heater Will Not Ignite
Enabling the pilot to light is half the battle. If it's trying to light, but either won't light the pilot or light the burner tray, there could be numerous reasons. Check your pool heater owner's manual. Ensure that the heater gas valve is in the on position, and if LP (Propane) is being used, check the gauge on the tank.
How Can I Make My Pool Heater Last Longer?
Keep your heater clean and as dry as possible always. Sweep under the burner tray and clean any leaves off of the heat exchanger. Trim back foliage around and above the heater for wind and sun to lower moisture. Don't cover around the heater, which traps moisture.
Keep rodents out through the use of mint sachets or mothballs during winter. Nesting rodents can remove insulation and chew on wires. Investing in a winter pool heater cover is also a decent idea to keep out the elements and rodents.
Pool heaters out in the weather typically last for about 15 years. At some point, an expensive pool heater repair like a new heat exchanger or another pilot/gas valve will have you weighing the advantages of a new pool heater. A skilled person should install replacement pool heaters; and it's especially wise to hire a professional gas contractor to make the gas connection.
For many, natural gas or propane-fueled pool heaters are an absolute requirement. Adding a heater to your pool ensures you'll have a warm, comfortable pool to hop into whenever you're ready to take a swim, but a heater can also drastically extend your swimming season. However, different sized pools hold different amounts of water, and that means they need custom-sized heaters to both raise the water temperature and keep it steady.
Obviously, there are two main ways you as a pool owner may opt to use a pool heater. One of these is to let the pool cool down when not in use, then turn on the heater in advance of any swim to bring the temperature back up to wherever you'd like it. The other choice is to run the heater constantly, using it to hold the water at the desired temperature, so your pool is ready for a swim at any time.
A pool heater is well-suited for any of these uses, but if you are planning on letting the pool cool down between uses, you may want to choose a higher-powered heater, as they will heat the water faster. This way, you will not have to wait too long before you can get into the pool.
Determining the actual size heater, you'll requirements comes down to a variety of different variables, including the size of the pool, starting temperature, air temperature, desired water temperature, and how quickly you want it to heat. By considering these numerous factors, you'll select the right size heater for your pool and needs.
The heater size should be based on how warm you want the pool or spa water and how fast you require the pool to warm up. If you plan to maintain the pool warm all the time, a smaller heater will work. The most cost-effective use is to oversize the heater and quickly warm up the pool water before you are ready to use it.
That said, there are some common guidelines that we can recommend for you. Please note these are for gas-fueled pool heaters, not heat pumps or solar pool heaters.
Bonus Tip: Enhance Heater Efficiency with a Cover
Raising your pool water temperature is just the start of having a consistently warm swimming pool. Keeping that water warm is another - and the best way to do that is to minimize any factors that contribute to the cooling of the water. The major cause for water temperature drops is evaporation and contact with cooler air.
By adding a cover to your swimming pool (ideally an automatic cover that's easy to open and close), you're accumulating an extra layer of insulation, which holds the water's heat. This will reduce the amount of work your pool heater must do to keep the water temperature constant, but it will also hold the temperature much better if you only heat the water when you're ready to go for a swim.
Just as a clean and clear pool is significant in having a pool you and your family can enjoy, so does having water at a comfortable temperature. The addition of a heater to your pool is the best way to ensure this.
By selecting a heater that's the right size for your pool, you ensure that warm water will be available whenever you feel like taking a dip.
Best Method for South Florida Pool Heating – Your Options
Even in South Florida, where we swim outdoors year-round, pools require to be heated during winter so you can fully enjoy the water. Night-swimming, splashing with children, entertaining guests, appealing to renters, and those sensitive to water temperature are all reasons to maintain an optimal water temperature of 84 degrees.
So, what is the best way to heat your South Florida pool? There are gas and electric heaters that do the job, and each has its advantages. Let's talk more concerning what type of heater will work best for your South Florida pool heating.
Gas vs. Electric Heaters: What's the Difference?
Gas pool heaters are powered by propane fuel from a tank situated on your property (usually buried). If you already use gas for cooking or heating your household, then no additional infrastructure is needed. Nevertheless, if your home or facility is entirely electric, you'll require to make arrangements for a propane tank to be installed on-site.
Gas can heat pools and spas very fast. A spa usually reaches its optimum temperature in 20 to 30 minutes, and a pool merely takes one hour to heat up to an ideal temperature of 84 degrees.
As for effectiveness, a standard gas heater is 250 BTUs, and the most massive electric heat pump is 145 BTUs. At this rate, the electric heater will put out about one-third the amount of heat power, so it takes a lot of time to heat your pool or spa with an electric pool heater. However, electrical heaters such as the AquaCal, SuperQuiet, and HeatWave SuperQuiet (also an AqualCal product), we recommend maintaining a steady water temperature by using less power.
An electric heat pump doesn't have to work as hard as a gas pool heater to maintain the temperature once the pool is warmed up. On average, you will lose 1 degree of heat per hour with a gas heater, and 1 degree of heat every three hours with electric heaters. So fundamentally, an electric heater is three times as efficient.
Note: Some customers select a gas heater for their spa and electric heater for their pool. This works with two different bodies of water and allows for heating both at the same time.
Cost of Gas Vs. Electric Pool Heater in Florida
Gas pool heaters cost less at first—they are generally priced 30% lower than brand-new electric heaters. Some electric heaters can cost twice as much as gas heaters. But the ultimate financial consideration is how much you'll spend to run the heater every month, year after year.
Figuring a propane price of $4 per gallon, you could spend $250 to $600 to fill a tank, based on its size. During winter, when your pool heater is in use, you might have to replace the propane tank once or twice a month. So, maintaining an 84-degree temperature with a gas heater in an average 15-by-30-foot pool could cost $500 or more per month, depending on the pool's size.
Electric heaters are less expensive to run, costing about $80 to $120 per month for an average 15-by-30-foot pool. While you'll pay more at the beginning for an electric heater, you'll realize a return on investment within the first year of use since operating it costs considerably less.
Servicing Your Pool Heater
Maintenance is another crucial consideration when selecting between a gas or electric pool heater. In our experience, electric heaters tend to be more reliable as compared to gas heaters. The reason is, gas heaters contain many safety switches and circuitry required by safety code. Thus, there are extra parts inside gas heaters, and this naturally means a greater likelihood that a part (or several) could malfunction. With mechanics, simplicity usually equates to ease of maintenance. That's where electric heaters have a benefit.
Pool heaters need to be serviced before they are turned on for seasonal use in the fall. Service is especially significant with our humid, coastal weather in South Florida, which can be tough on any mechanicals located outdoors. Preventive maintenance will surge the longevity of a gas or electric unit.
So, what kind of heater is best for your South Florida pool heating: gas or electric? If you're looking for a fast-acting heat source for a smaller amount of water, such as a spa, a gas heater makes sense. But for many South Florida swimming pools, the lower operating cost, better efficiency, and better maintenance records of electric pool heaters make them a better choice.
Regardless of your choice, today's pool heaters are becoming more efficient and much quieter than those of the past 5 years. With insulated compressors, even standing 10 feet away, you will not hear the pool heater running. This is perfect for residences where heaters may be located close to bedrooms, and on commercial sites like resorts where guest comfort is a priority.
Summer has come and gone, and the children are buried deep in their school books. The pool has been quiet these past few months; however, summer break is right around the corner, and it’s time to prepare the pool for some fun. But what is the average pool temperature in Florida during summer months?
This can be a touchy subject as there are numerous opinions based on what you like individually and how the weather is. Summer months in Florida can be unpredictable. Due to this, you will need to cool your swimming pool at least some of the time. This will assist in keeping it at the perfect temperature for you and your family.
So, What is the Best Pool Temperature in South Florida?
Typically, the perfect pool water temperature runs between 78-82 degrees in the spring and fall months. However, during spring months, it seems to drop to an ideal temperature to 76-78 degrees.
The average outdoor pool temperature will typically remain what the outdoor temperature is and can go as low as 53 degrees.
Now anything colder than 78 degrees will begin to make you feel chilled when you step out of the water. Anything above 82 degrees will start to feel like bathwater. Nevertheless, 80 degrees is generally warm and cold enough for all to enjoy.
Of course, you should keep in mind that each degree the temperature rises leads to increased energy costs of 10 to 30 percent. So, the correct temperature for your pool water is a function of how it feels on your skin and how it feels on your wallet.
Save Some Money: Maintain Pool Temperature Costs Down
Here are a few ideas that will assist maintain your pool warm while keeping your costs down:
Install trees, bushes, fencing, and the like to prevent wind from blowing through the pool zone.
If your pool heater is over five years old, consider investing in a new radiator. In some cases, these units quickly pay for themselves in lower utility bills.
If you intend to use your pool only on weekends, lower the temperature setting by 8 to 10 degrees during the week.
If you are going on break, turn off your pool heater. We don’t have to worry about freezing situations in Florida.
Install a timer that can automate and optimize the settings of your temperature. An automated pool heater will make this easy for you.
Run your pool’s filtration system between 8 pm and 10 am, when power demand and rates tend to be lower.
It may take a little time to find the correct balance of comfortable water temperature and cost-effective operation. That temperature will vary with the seasons. With a bit of energy, you can find your perfect temperature setting. Remember that it is always best to consult Florida Pool Heating with any questions to see what might be best for your particular pool.
Solar pool heaters can be expensive - anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 - and then there’s the annual cost of fuel or electricity to run the heater. Without a heater, your pool season might be limited to 2-4 months, even in warmer seasons.
Many people base the choice of pool heaters on many factors, such as local climate, temperature preference, and budget.
However it’s vital to note that, in most areas, your pool temperature may only reach 75 degrees in the warmest months. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, pool temperatures usually range from 78 to 82 degrees, and kids and the elderly may need a temperature of at least 80 degrees.
Common Types of Pool Heaters
There are three forms of pool heaters: gas, heat pump (electric) and solar.
Gas-fired Pool Heaters heat a pool quickly, but they’re expensive to operate because of fuel costs. Gas Heaters are best for pools that are not used regularly. Generally, they’re turned on when the pool is going to be used and turned off afterward.
Heat pumps depend on electricity to heat the pool. They’re more expensive upfront as compared to gas heaters but much cheaper to operate. These models are not very efficient if the air temperature dips below 50 degrees, but that’s not usually an issue since pools are most often used in warmer weather.
Heaters come in different sizes and efficiencies, so check with your pool contractor or a local expert to find out which models will work for you. The greater the size and efficiency, the more expensive the pool heater will be.
Pool Heater Annual Operating Costs
Annual operating costs are based on the type of heater, local energy rates, the size of the pool, the temperature you maintain, local climate, the length of the swimming season, and more. This energy department guide provides estimates of what you can expect to pay for gas heat in South Florida. Yearly costs range from $100 to $3,600.
Contrary to what you might think, it’s not always cheaper to heat a pool in warmer climates since the swimming season is much longer than colder climates.
We have no doubt saying that a pool heater bought from one of the major manufacturers and correctly installed and maintained is 100% safe.
Of course, like any heating appliance, they can be unsafe if mismanaged. Gas pool heaters produce carbon monoxide, so if installed indoors, they must be correctly vented, and when installed outdoors, proper thought must be given to the positioning (under house windows is not a good site). Adequate ventilation is crucial, so it is essential to ensure that debris does not build-up around an outdoor pool heater. They must also be kept clean inside, so a qualified gas engineer's yearly service is strongly advised.
Current gas pool heaters feature a variety of safety features such as ignition safeguards, pressure regulators, water pressure relief valves, and automatically shut off controls, all of which means that in use, they are very safe.
Electric pool heat pumps offer little in the way of danger other than electrical devices and must be respected as such, but essentially electric shock hazard is avoided by construction and installation of the heater in line with strict electrical standards and codes.
Solar pool heater systems are also safe if adequately designed and installed. It is quite practical to buy a system and install it yourself without creating any issues.
To ensure ongoing safe operation, all pool heaters should be drained over winter to avoid any frost damage.
Many individuals consider making their DIY pool heaters, usually solar systems, and it is here that safety can be a question mark. All forms of safety issues can arise, such as pumping very hot water into the pool when first turned on.