I currently have a big concrete hole in the ground and a Jandy LXi400 Heater on the patio (ie not installed yet).
I've only owned one other pool, it was older, smaller and had no heater.
At this point I don't really know how often we will use the pool. There are just 3 of us here at the house (me, wife and 3 yo daughter), but we have lots of family in town. People end up over here at least every other weekend.
We have a Spa, so skipping the Gas heater doesn't seem like an option. The thought of a $1,000 gas bill scares me. I've been researching on the Internet and I found Heat Pumps. I've know about solar, but I've heard the "It will extend the swim season a month of two" many times.
I know there are a hundred variables in heating the pool and I'm going to download one of the calculators. I'd like some Real World feedback on these three systems from pool owners in the So-Cal, IE area.
Here are the pool specs (once it's finished)
40x20 Free Form pool (aprox 25,000 Gal, 140 Perimeter, depth 3-7', with 8x8 Free Form Spa)
Gunite Shell, Pebble Plaster Finish (probably a dark color), Poured Concrete Cantilevered Coping
3 Deep Heat Returns, Solar Bubblewrap Cover for the pool and spa
Jandy LXi400 Gas Heater (400,000 Btu)
Jandy Variable Speed Pump JEP 2.0
Jandy CL 600
Here is my 1 line feeling on each heat system:
Gas - On Demand heat, not too expensive to heat up the spa, can be used to heat the entire pool
Solar - Very cheap to operate, I have no control over the weather, but it's So Cal, Expensive ($5k), takes up lots of room
Pump - Cheap to operate, I can maintain the pool temp as long as I want, if we ever get PV Solar it will be free to operate
I'm leaning towards starting out with the Gas Heater and then maybe adding a Heat Pump once we have a better idea how warm the pool will be and how much we use it during the year. I can have the PB increase the size of the equipment pad to leave room to add the Pump and it shouldn't cost much more than installing it now.