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Options for regulating pool & spa temperatures

By Marcelle Dibrell

The swimming season has almost come to an end, yet some pool owners can’t bear to let it go.

In some regions of the country, record low temperatures this summer have some people mourning what feels like an early end to summer.

In other locales, the sun will continue to blaze on with all of the usual September heat waves. With weather this unpredictable, it’s hard to decide if we wish our pools were warmer or cooler.

When it’s brutally hot outside, a dip in a cool pool is one of the best ways to stay refreshed. But in some places, the pool can hardly be described as cool. In some states in the South and Southwest, such as Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, pools are nearly as warm as the higher-than-100-degree temperatures that surround them.

It’s not at all unusual for pool-party participants to bring blocks of ice just to get the water temperature down a little.

But for thousands of other pool owners in the rest of the country, September marks the beginning of the end of the swim season as cold fronts emerge making pool water just a little too chilly.

And for these pool owners, the answer to extending the swimming season is to simply fire up the heater.

But what do we do about those pools that are still too hot?

Simultaneous answers to both of these problems come in the form of dual pool heaters and chillers, which will handle pool water that is either seasonally too warm or too cool.

Traditional-fuel fired heating is still the most popular way to regulate pool and spa water temperatures. Gas heating tends to be the fastest and most reliable but usually has the disadvantage of having the highest operational costs. Furthermore, gas heaters cannot be operated in a cooling mode.

Two technologies are available that can both heat and cool a pool or spa: heat pumps and solar systems.

A heat pump is a refrigeration system that pumps heat from the outside to the inside of the pool, operating like an air conditioner in reverse. During normal heating operation, heat pumps gather heat from the air and using a refrigerant, transfer the heat to the pool.

Heat pumps that reverse this process are also available. These units are equipped with a reversing valve, allowing heat to transfer from the pool to the refrigerant and exiting outside via the evaporator coil.

In a solar heating/cooling system, heat-absorbing panels are mounted to a sunny location. In the most basic type of solar system, water is pumped into the panels during the day, and the heat absorbent panels transfer that heat to the water, which then reenters the pool.

Pool heating can be reversed into pool cooling if the system is run at night, when the ambient temperature is cooler. As long as the roof hasn’t absorbed too much heat over the course of the day, many solar system owners have found this to be an effective way to cool their pools.

In this edition of Service IndustryNews, we will look at some of the features of heating and cooling systems such as heat pumps and solar systems. Traditional-fuel fired heaters will also be examined, with a focus on changing technologies.

Paid subscribers have full access to the complete coverage on pool and spa heating systems. Contact our circulation department at 949-916 0292 or email for details. 


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