4 Efficient Ways to Cut Pool Heating Costs

Electric pool heaters seem like an easy choice for homeowners because they are so easy to install and operate, requiring only a simple outdoor electrical outlet and push-button operation in many cases. Despite their simple nature, electric pool heaters are notoriously inefficient; even though most are rated close to 100 percent efficiency, the process of converting fuel into electricity to power these pumps is only about 30 percent efficient, making electric pumps one of the more expensive ways to heat your pool. Save money and reduce your impact on the environment by switching to one of these energy efficient alternatives.

Pool Cover

Pool covers serve as the cheapest and most eco-friendly way to reduce your pool heating bill. The primary way that pools lose heat energy is through evaporation, so covers -- even simple ones -- can make a big difference in heating costs. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that using a pool cover regularly can cut your pool heating costs by 50 to 70 percent. Pick a cover that's UV-resistant so it won't wear out, and consider a bubble-style cover for its value and effectiveness.

Solar Heater

Even homeowners who may not have enough space -- or cash -- to go off the grid may be interested in the potential savings associated with a dedicated solar pool heating system. These units rely on collector panels positioned on your roof to capture heat from the sun, then transfer it to your pool using a pump and heating mechanism. The cost of these units is comparable to other pool heating systems, and they generally come with a payback period of 1.5 to 7 years.Once your solar system is installed and running, your annual operating costs will be very low, as these units only need enough energy to power the pump and move the heat to the pool.

Gas-fired Heater

Modern gas-fired pool heaters offer efficiency ratings of 85 to 95 percent on average, making them a cost-effective choice for homeowners who already use gas to heat the home. If you already have a gas pool heater that's a few years old, you may be surprised by how much you can save by upgrading. Simply switching from a unit rated at 70 percent efficiency to one rated at 95 percent could save you $265 per year for every $1,000 of heating costs, which could help pay for your new heater in just a few years.

Swimming Pool Heat Pump

Instead of using electricity to generate heat -- an inefficient process -- heat pumps use a small amount of electricity to operate a pump in order to move heat from one location to another. As long as the temperature outside is about 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, these pumps can draw enough heat from the air to heat your pool. Switching from an electric pool heater to to standard heat pump model could save a whopping $800 for every $1,000 in annual pool heating costs. Even switching from a gas-fired unit to a heat pump heater could save as much as $384 per year for every $1,000 in pool heating costs.

Talk to experts like Parkey's Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for more information.