New to the forum, and excited for this great resource.
We are just about to start building an inground pool here in New Orleans, and are trying to figure out the best type of heater to get. It's not going to be a very large pool, certainly not bigger than 20 x 15 (and probably a couple feet less in both directions), and not too deep.
We have a pool at our house in Tampa (maybe 25 x 15 or so), and have an electric heater (not heat pump) there which has worked well for the few years that we have had it - it heats up pretty quickly and has not been horribly expensive (it's a Hayward). However, we are there infrequently and I am somewhat wary of using electric here where will we be using it much more regularly.
I was very interested in heat pumps, but we have heard anecdotally that "all" of the people here who have them are unhappy - they just can't heat it up enough. And my wife likes the pool nice and toasty.
We have natural gas lines here, so were initially thinking that would be the way to go, but my research says otherwise, as it appears to be the least efficient method, especially if you are going to keep it heated for significant stretches at a time.
I love the idea of solar, but it seems quite expensive, and we know a few people who had it and it just could not do the job.
Finally, as for covers, I had initially been planning on an automatic cover (although I know they are pricey), but it looks like we may have somewhat of a free form shape, and I haven't been able to find many people here with them anyway, so may end up with just a simple bubble cover (which is what we have in Tampa). Was also interested in the Pool Boy contraption, which goes above deck and is an automatic system, so I'm thinking that could work even with an irregular shape. Interested in any experiences with automatic pool covers or the Pool Boy.
Sorry for the long-winded post, but a lot on my mind. Thanks much in advance for any advice!