The problem is that nighttime temperatures here in the Bay State can dip into the 50s – not a good recipe for retaining heat. To keep a pool consistently comfortable for swimming, you may need a pool heater.
The question is, what kind of pool heater should you buy?
Here are a few thoughts on what kind of pool heaters will keep your pool water the perfect temperature this summer.
If you like a cooler pool (up to about 72°), a solar pool heater could be an option. Just remember that solar pool heating will only raise the water temperature about 10° to 15° above the average outdoor temperature, which means that swimming on cooler mornings and evenings, or later in the season, will probably be an extremely “refreshing” experience. It’s also important to keep in mind that this temperature may be too cool for young children and the elderly.
If you like a moderately warm to cool pool (76-77°F), an electric heat pump could be an option, especially on a hot summer afternoon. A heat pump uses heat in the outdoor air to warm the pool rather than generating heat on its own. The problem with a heat pump is that it is limited by the amount of heat in the air: the colder the outside temperature, the worse a heat pump operates (just the opposite of what you want).
If you prefer a warmer pool (consistently in the 80 -85 degree range day and night, all summer long), gas heating is really your only option. Natural gas is a possibility, but the problem with it is that you have to run a line to your pool to supply it, which may be difficult (or even possible). A propane pool heater, on the other hand, can be installed anywhere and connected directly to your home’s propane tank (or to a dedicated tank, if you prefer).
Propane gas is also a better solution if you need to heat your pool quickly – if, for example, you spend time significant time away from home and you turn off your pool heater when no one is there to enjoy it.
The bottom line
To get the most out of your summer swim season here in Massachusetts, it’s a good idea to invest in a pool heater – and if you prefer your pool on the warm side and lack a natural gas hookup, a propane pool heater is the only way to go.