By Marcelle Dibrell
If it’s too cold, most people aren’t getting in the water. Sure, there are those brave souls who will jump into the pool in the dead of winter, regardless of the temperature. And kids seem to have a little less concern for water temperature than do adults.
On the whole, water temperature plays a huge role in how inviting a pool is. According to the National Oceanographic Data Center, most people are comfortable swimming between 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. But personal water temperature preferences may vary to some extent on the location.
In Southern California, where the ocean temperature rarely climbs above 70 degrees Fahrenheit even in mid-summer, many residents are a bit more comfortable with cold water. By contrast, swimming pools and even lakes in North Texas can easily climb into the 90s and a lot of the residents there will not get in unless the water is truly warm.
There is no doubt about it: water temperature preference is personal. Hotels and resorts maintain their water at about 85 degrees, indicating that this is the temperature preferred by casual swimmers.
For most of the year and in most locations, however, this is not a reasonable goal without the use of a heater.
Heating the water extends the time that people will use their swimming pools, making them feel as though they are getting the most from their investment. But heating comes at a cost. This is a cost felt at the time of the initial purchase, and felt with every monthly heating bill.
Gas-fired heaters, heat pumps and electric heaters all require money to operate, but the advantages of some types of heating may out-way concerns about these operational costs.
For example, gas-fired heaters work quickly, and they are great for both intermittent heating as well as maintenance heating. They also tend to be the most expensive in terms of operational costs.
Relative to gas-fired heaters, heat pumps are a lot less expensive to operate, but they are also a lot slower, and are not necessarily appropriate in colder climates.
Electric heaters work great for small pools and spas but make little sense for larger applications.
For standard-sized swimming pools, the options also include solar heating, which can be a significant first-time investment that rewards users with no additional monthly operating costs, other than using the pump.
In this special issue of Service Industry News, we will look at some of the finer details of pool and spa heating options.