Sometimes, the places we grow up in can shield us from the realities of the rest of the world. We forget that our experiences can be and usually are much different than the experiences of someone else. Growing up in Florida means we can enjoy our pools all- year round. Literally. I even have fond memories of jumping into the pool on early Christmas mornings without hesitation or worries about catching pneumonia. Unfortunately, this isn’t true for most families. In fact, I’d guess that an overwhelming majority of swimming pools close before Christmas. This leaves northern pool owners asking themselves, “How can I extend MY pool season?”
Most pool seasons in the US last shorter than most people would like, especially in areas with colder climates. As a result, I figured I would give a few suggestions on ways you can extend your pool season. At the end of the day, pool owners simply want to make the most out of their pool and equipment. With the right combination of the right equipment, you can easily amaze your family and friends by extending your pool season a few weeks or even months.
For pool owners up north, sometimes it’s Mother Nature and not Mom and Dad who controls how long their pool season is. Usually, it’s the cold weather that forces families to withdraw back into their warm homes. But what if you can control how cold or hot your pool water is? Gas heaters are, by far, the most effective way to heat your swimming pool. It’s also the surest way to extend your pool season for a few weeks.
One of the best things about using a gas heater, whether propane or natural gas, is that it works in all environments. Gas heaters require very little preparation and it allows you to heat your pool whenever needed. Although gas heaters provide the most heat in the shortest amount of time, they are the least cost-efficient to run. In other words, they’re not really cheap to buy or maintain.
Depending on where you live and the current gas prices in the area, operating a heater for an extended amount of time can put a dent in your pocket. Still, much like most things that provide convenience, it does cost. We also have an extensive list of blog posts about heaters that may interest you.
Pool Heater Answer Guide: One-stop blog for all of our heater- related blog posts, how-to guides, and instructional videos.
Heat pumps are a great alternative to gas heaters, although they do have their limitations. I will say that they have increased in popularity since I started working with INYO five years ago. The greatest benefit is that they save you money in the long run. Everyone likes to save money, right? They usually have a higher upfront cost and that is what usually scares people. However, pool owners save a good amount of money throughout the life of the heat pump. Heat pumps cost a fraction of what it costs to run a gas heater.
As I mentioned before, heat pumps do come with their limitations. Heat pumps operate differently than regular gas heaters. Heat pumps utilize and extract the heat from outside and transfer it inside. It reverses the warm air’s direction, acting like an air conditioner removing heat from your home. Because heat pumps transfer heat as opposed to generating it, it makes it more energy-efficient. Most heat pumps won’t operate in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In short, we don’t usually recommend heat pumps to pool owners who live in areas that are consistently ‘freezing.’ It’s almost a waste of money. So, depending on where you live and when you’d like to swim will determine if a heat pump is a viable option for you.
Solar blankets are good partners-in-crime when you combine them with either a gas heater or heat pump. The trick with solar blankets is that they do not produce heat. Unlike gas heaters and heat pumps, solar blankets do not transfer or generate heat. Once you generate heat and your pool is warm, we recommend using a solar blanket to keep the heat in the pool for longer periods of time when the pool isn’t in use. If you purchase a solar blanket thinking it will produce heat for your pool, you will leave disappointed.
A solar blanket is a great addition to other heating options as it reduces the amount of heat you lose through evaporation. Additionally, this also reduces the amount of time you have to run your pool heater. Solar blankets are affordable and have no maintenance or future costs. The only downfall is that it is hard to remove from your pool once it rains. Water, leaves, and debris can leave your solar blanket extremely heavy. In cases like this, we recommend purchasing a solar reel. Solar reels make it easier for pool owners to maneuver their solar blankets.
An excellent alternative to solar blankets is a SolarPill. SolarPills provide you with a solar blanket effect in one simple ‘pill’. The SolarPill prevents pool water evaporation and heat loss with an invisible layer of non-toxic, biodegradable film. The best part about the SolarPill is that it is easy to use. Simply place the SolarPill in your pool’s skimmer and watch the magic happens. It works just like a conventional solar blanket, just without the hassle.
SolarPills are saltwater compatible and will not affect your automatic cleaners. They are available for all pool types, too.
Make the Most Out of Your Pool Season
Our intention with this blog post is to help pool owners make the most out of their pool season. As recent years proved, we are all at the mercy of Mother Nature. Sometimes she lets us have a long and sunny pool season. Other years, not so much. Instead of taking your chances with Mother Nature, take back some control. You can extend your pool season a few months simply by investing in a gas heater or heat pump. By coupling a heater with a solar blanket, you are sure to contain the heat within your pool for much longer periods. Thus, making both your pocket and family happy.