What They Do, How they Work, Choosing the Right One & Much More!
The information presented here will help you select the right size Pool Heater for your swimming pool, discuss some of the different models available, give an overview of the basic principles involved in heater installation, as well as provide some tips you'll want to remember to avoid common problems common to swimming pool heaters.
How Does a Gas Pool Heater Work?
A swimming pool heater works by burning fuel to create heat, which is then passed through a heat exchanger and on to water drawn from your swimming pool. The water, now considerably warmer, is then reintroduced to the swimming pool, raising the overall temperature.
How Do You Size a Swimming Pool Heater? (or "Why Bigger IS Usually Better")
Swimming pool heaters are rated according to their BTU output (a measurement also known as British Thermal Units). 1 BTU is capable of raising the temperature of 1 lb of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Therefore the more BTUs a pool heater produces, the faster it will heat the water in your swimming pool. Because swimming pools come in all shapes and sizes and are located in many different climates, you'll need to calculate the number of BTUs needed to heat your swimming pool according to your specifications in order to select the right pool heater. This can be accomplished once the following variables have been determined:
The more surface area your pool contains through which heat can escape, the more BTUs your pool heater will need to produce to heat your pool water. Calculating the surface area of your swimming pool is relatively easy, and some common calculations are provided here:
- Round pools: radius (1/2 diameter) x radius x 3.14
- Rectangular pools: length x width
- Oval pools: 1/2 length x 1/2 width x 3.14
- Rectangular pools w/ rounded ends: length x width x 0.8
- Kidney-shaped pools: length x width x 0.75
The temperature rise of your pool water is a calculation of your desired water temperature minus the average ambient air temperature. The desired water temperature is simply the final temperature you'd like your pool water to reach. The average ambient air temperature is the average daily outdoor air temperature and should be figured on the basis of the coldest month you plan on using your pool. For instance if you live in an area where the average outdoor air temperature in May (the month you would like to start using your pool) is 60 degrees and your desired water temperature is 80 degrees, your temperature rise would be 20 degrees (80 - 60).
With both surface area and temperature rise now calculated, you can refer to the chart below to find just how many BTUs will be necessary for the desired heating effect on your swimming pool:
|POOL HEATING GUIDE|
|Temp Rise (in ° F)|
|5 °||10 °||15 °||20 °||25 °|
|Surface Area of Your Swimming Pool (in sq. ft)||Required Heater Output / Hour (in BTUs):|
Chart is based upon an assumed wind velocity of 3.5 mph. Totals should be multiplied by a factor of 1.25 or 2.0 for wind speeds of 5 and 10 mph respectively.
After finding the required number of BTUs / hr you will need from the above chart, you can compare pool heater models based upon the BTUs they produce. This number can be found by multiplying a pool heater's input (measured in BTUs) by the pool heater's efficiency rating. An explanation of pool heater efficiency follows here:
Something To Remember When Selecting Your Swimming Pool Heater
When selecting your pool heater, always to select a heater rated somewhat higher than your actual pool surface area and desired temperature rise require. There is no such thing as “oversizing” a pool heater. The larger the BTU output of the pool heater you buy, the quicker it will heat your pool water. This means less run time on the heater and a longer overall heater life span. You will always be glad you opted for the larger pool heater.
Different Types Of Swimming Pool Heaters
Swimming pool heaters come in various makes and models. The four main differences in pool heater models have to do with (1) the type of fuel the heater uses (natural gas or liquid propane), (2) the style of ignition your pool heater will employ, (3) the level of emissions the pool heater produces, and (4) the elevation for which the pool heater is rated.
Swimming Pool Heater Installation Basics
Swimming pool heaters should always be installed after the filter system and before any chlorinators or chemical injection systems in your swimming pool's plumbing. This will ensure the heater receives a strong flow rate of clean water, without any highly concentrated and potentially corrosive chemicals. It will probably be necessary to enlist the help of a professional electrician and/or natural gas professional in installing your pool heater. This will not only ensure proper installation but is vitally important so as to avoid injury. Different heater models will contain varying specifications with regard to clearance and appropriate ventilation. ALL MANUFACTURER SPECS SHOULD BE RIGIDLY ADHERED TO in order to ensure maximum safety and heater efficiency (which will save you money).
Avoiding Problems With Pool Heaters - A Few Reminders
Swimming pool heaters are a wonderful addition to the swimming pool area, due to their ability to warm pool water to an inviting temperature, allowing you to utilize the swimming pool comfortably more than ever before. Follow these tips to avoid common problems and get the maximum life out of any pool heater you buy:
- Size your Pool Heater appropriately. Remember a pool heater can never be too big, but buy a pool heater that isn't big enough and you'll never be satisfied.
- Monitor pH closely. pH is probably the single biggest problem pool owners face with regard to pool cleaners and pool equipment in general. A pH level that is too low (acidic) will cause corrosion, and a pH level that is to high (base) will cause mineral deposits that could potentially clog your pool heater's plumbing.
- Maintain correct flow rate. Backwashing your swimming pool filter or washing out the cartridge occasionally will ensure that enough water gets to your pool heater for it to function efficiently.
- Protect your investment. We recommend use of a pool heater cover to keep the heater protected from the elements.
- Allow appropriate clearance around the Pool Heater. This will be specified in your owner's manual.
- Make sure your Heater's gas pressure is adjusted appropriately. This step should be performed upon installation BY A PROFESSIONAL.