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Thread: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

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    Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    Hi, we just had a 18' round Radiant pool installed, semi inground. We are in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and I don't expect a super long swimming season, only the summer months.

    The pool is in full sun, all day. That's because it is at the end of our long yard, meaning that we'd have 110 feet to run for a gas line......We were given a quote of $5K just to run the gas line, so I think we've resigned ourselves to finding another solution.

    We are not able to use a full solar blanket, due to children and pets, but have bought some 5' solar rings to cover a fair part of the pool's surface.

    The pool reached 74 degrees (hmmm) today with a relatively sunny, 80 degree day. Seems that the water, like a lake, I guess, felt quite warm at the surface, rather cold where the gauge hangs out.

    Solar panels on our roof seems like a dead end - the roof isn't easy to access and faces east on the part 'nearest' to the pool (a good 90 linear feet). Our shed's roof is way too small and probably won't stand up to the weight when filled with water. We do have a section of fence that faces south, only about 25 feet from the pool.

    I'd love for the water temperature to be around 85. Heck, I'd take 80 right about now.

    How do we choose between an electric heater, a heat pump vs solar system?

    And, just so that I fully understand, any heating system requires the pump to be on, right? So we wouldn't be able to make use of lower electricity costs and run the pump at night only, if we want to warm up the pool? And, for solar, it sounds like the pump would need to run all day, in order to make the most of the solar panels?

    Thanks!
    18' semi inground Radiant; inground fiberglass free form hot tub (SpaNature)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    Yes, for solar the pump would need to run most of the day. However, that is usually worth it given how expensive other forms of heat can be. For most people, solar is by far the least expensive form of heat, preferred if you have somewhere to put the panels.

    Gas heat is great at heating quickly, ideal for spas and for the occasionally swim day in the spring and fall.

    Unless electricity is very expensive, a heat pump is best at maintaining temperature all the time day in and day out.

    Straight electric restive heat is by far the least economical.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    ranger_ric's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    depending on your neighborhood/zoning you might look into propane heating. Just need a bottle!
    17500 Gal Above Ground, 1.5HP Dynamo Pump, 250# Pentair Sand filter with ZeoLite. Diver Dave Cleaner. TFP test kit w/SpeedStir, 7 Grandaughters and 1 Grandson swimming every week WooooHooo!!

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    Re: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    Just need a bottle!
    and, in my neighborhood, an armored vehicle to bring them the payment for the week!!!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    ranger_ric's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    But he only has to heat about 7000 gallons. So it might be an option
    17500 Gal Above Ground, 1.5HP Dynamo Pump, 250# Pentair Sand filter with ZeoLite. Diver Dave Cleaner. TFP test kit w/SpeedStir, 7 Grandaughters and 1 Grandson swimming every week WooooHooo!!

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    Re: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    Thank you for the responses! For a propane heater, would I need a propane tank the size of two cows, in my yard??? Strict issues re. storing any propane, but indoors only (other compressed gases aren't a problem, so I run an acetylene/air torch in my workshop), but I can't see neighbours liking a big old tank of propane near their yards.....

    We have a relatively short swimming season, and while the weather can be quite warm, no guarantees re. sunshine. Does a solar system loose efficacy with longer runs between the panels and the pump?

    My kids swam in the pool today, for about 10 minutes, until their teeth started chattering (72 degrees water temp, 74 degrees outside)
    18' semi inground Radiant; inground fiberglass free form hot tub (SpaNature)

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    ranger_ric's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    I am not a propane salesman but I did stay in a holiday Inn last night.
    You can build a little "fence" enclosure with maybe some flower boxes along one side of it. If you dont have consistent sunshine solar may not work that well for you. Just an idea.
    I live in the desert of west Texas and last year the sunshine kept my pool over 82 for 24hrs a day. This year for some reason the weather has been much cooler and I cant seem to get my pool to 82 except when we can get 3-4 days in a row of 95+ days. Weird summer this year.
    17500 Gal Above Ground, 1.5HP Dynamo Pump, 250# Pentair Sand filter with ZeoLite. Diver Dave Cleaner. TFP test kit w/SpeedStir, 7 Grandaughters and 1 Grandson swimming every week WooooHooo!!

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    Re: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    I am running a 4'x20 flat panel, and a 5' diameter coil for solar heating. Best I have gotten so far this year is 85, but more closer to 79-80 for the most part. Just not enough sunny days this summer, and the nights have been cold (10-11 C), and that will drop the pool to 70 no problem. I have a clear solar blanket on as well.
    Ultra 16', Intex Sand filter/pump combo, 8' x 20' solar panels, solar blanket w/roll tube, 1" extruded foam floor with Gorilla pad, Liquid chlorine and stabilizer.

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    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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    Re: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    Thank you again - those details really help to set expectations. I don't think that we'd be happy with solar or a heat pump, given our climate.

    Do people double up on heaters, for example, solar with electric?

    I've watched the temperature drop in the pool quickly, with chilly nights or a good rain fall. Doesn't stop the kids much, but I do have to watch for chattering teeth/blue lips and haul them out.
    18' semi inground Radiant; inground fiberglass free form hot tub (SpaNature)

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    Toronto, ON, Canada
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    Re: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    What's wrong with the heat pump? I think the air temperature should be enough to provide heat to the pool and maintain it.
    12' Intex Metal Frame Pool, 1500 gallons, Intex 2800gph Sand filter/pump, AquaPro PRO1100 HP, K-2006 Test Kit

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    Re: Trying to figure out how to heat our pool - need advice please

    Yes you can "double up" on heaters putting the solar before the gas and using it to preheat the water.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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