I'm drowning (no pun intended ) in heating information and could use some advice; preferably in terms the newbie pool owner can understand!
Here's my current situation: I live in central Alabama and have a light sand colored fiberglass pool, approx. 15' x 34'; 10,000 gallon. In the summer, even though temps are in the mid to high 90's, my water has never been above 91. Now that it's started getting a little cooler, my water temp has dropped to 82. At the beginning of the summer, it has to be in the 90's for a long time before it's warm enough for me to swim. It is rarely below freezing outside for very long in the winter, but I don't know how cold my water gets then.
My first objective is to extend my swimming season. I would like my water temp to be in the mid 80's around the same time it's that temp outside. However, what I'd REALLY like to do is keep it warm enough to swim in year-round or at least most of the year.
I've read about gas, electric, and solar heaters, but so far all that's done is confuse me. I have natural gas available for about $1.41 per 1000ft3, my electricity costs about $.12 per kWh, and it's mostly sunny here. Maybe my expectations are a little too high, but I'd at least like to know what is practically possible and to learn what I need to know how to calculate an expected operating cost.
Anybody have thoughts or suggestions?