With cooler weather right around the corner it is probably time to start thinking about heating your above ground pool. Think back to all of the fun you had this summer. Why not let your family enjoy the pool as long as possible? With all of the options available it is at least worth looking into.
Heating an above ground pool does not have to be a major investment. Solar covers and solar panels are both reasonably priced and require no additional expense once they are purchased and installed. That is the wonderful thing about solar power, you only pay for it once.
A solar cover should always be your first purchase, the first step to heating an above ground pool. Solar covers keep the heat in the pool at night. Any other type of heat source you add to the pool will be benefited by this small investment. A good cover will extend your swimming season by two months. Your cost should be anywhere from one to two hundred dollars.
Solar cover reels designed for above ground pools mount in the middle of the pool. Installation is simply drilling a few holes in the pools top rails. The reel picks up the cover at the center point and brings both sides in together. This type of system is very functional and in many cases the best way to go. It does, however, leave the cover rolled up across the center of the pool. Removing the cover from the pool area is possible but probably not something you would do every time you use the pool.
In ground type reels are mounted at one end of the pool. When the cover is rolled up it is out of the way. The only problem is you have to build your own mounting platform. This is not that difficult and will keep your cover completely out of the way when not in use. Four by six Redwood posts concreted into the ground will easily hold the mounting hardware.
Your next step to heating your pool should be a solar panel or two. These again are inexpensive and very easy to hook up. They will plumb right into your existing filter system. Solar panels can be mounted next to the pool, on a fence or on a roof top. The bigger your pool is the more panels it will take to raise the water temperature any significant amount.
If the panels need to be placed a long distance from the pool a secondary pump may be required. This will add to the cost and the labor of your panel heating system but this is a one time expense, not a monthly bill.
Heating an above ground pool with solar panels can be as easy as ordering a kit made to sit next to your pool. You could also hire a solar professional to install a larger, and more effective, system on your roof. Electric for the filter could be generated by means of solar also. There are some excellent articles written about the use of solar power and swimming pools at Home of Solar Energy.
The addition of a solar cover and solar panels will have you swimming most of the year. If more heat is desired your next step is to install either an electric of gas heater.
These heaters are easy to install. They will plumb right into your return line. The water comes out of the filter, goes into the heater and hot water goes back into the pool through your existing return.
Many above ground pools use flex hose from the filter to the pool. If a heater is to be installed you will need to convert the return line to solid 1 1/2" PVC pipe. This is a good investment for any pool filter system because you will never again be changing leaky flex hose.
There are many things to consider when choosing between gas and electric. A gas heater will heat the pool faster than an electric one and is a good choice for occasional use. An electric heater is less expensive to operate and is a better choice for daily use.
Consider all the options when heating an above ground pool and enjoy the swim season a little longer each year.