Swimming Pool Heating in Marbella & Costa del Sol
Solar, Heat Pump or Boiler?
Swimming pool heating is a great addition to any pool in southern Spain. Most outdoor pools do not require additional heating in July or August, and many can be perfectly pleasant in June and September too. But outside of these months the weather can lovely & warm during the day, but the colder nights cause the water temperature to drop to below what most people consider comfortable.
The main reasons homeowners want to have and use a swimming pool is for kids to have fun and adults to relax. Whether the pool is in a private home, or in a rental property, the additional months of enjoyment of the pool through being heated is generally a sound investment.
The Best Options for Pool Heating
Clients often ask what is the most efficient, or cheapest, form of swimming pool heating? We believe that the first and most important factor to consider when thinking about pool heating is not actually heating at all – it’s heat retention!
Our top recommendation is to invest in a decent thermal swimming pool cover! There are different options of thermal covers depending upon what each customer’s desires are; predominantly manual bubble wrap covers or automatic slatted covers.
Once the cover options have been looked at, it’s time to look at the heating. The options are:
- Solar pool heating
- Swimming pool heat pump
- Oil or gas boiler
Of course, a combination of heating options could be used. We will look at each option on their merits:
Solar Pool Heating
There are really 3 ways of using solar thermal energy for pool heating:
1. Conventional solar collectors (we would recommend flat plate over vacuum tube in this part of the world).
2. PVC panels.
3. Polycarbonate solar slats (only available as an option with an automatic pool cover).
It is a sad reality that although we live on the Costa del Sol, solar heating is not a good option for pool heating here. Whilst it’s true that in the months of the year that we wish to heat the pool we can also enjoy many hours of sunshine, with plenty of thermal energy we can harvest and transfer to our pools, the flipside is that our solar array becomes a problem in mid-summer. When we do not need any heat in our pools is also the time when our solar installation is overheating with excessive temperatures. Also, the installations are not that cheap, especially to do well, requiring several panels, solar pump station with controller, good quality heat exchanger. The PVC panels is at least a cheaper option, but still suffers from degradation to the materials and installation in mid-summer when the installation is not being used.
However, we do love the polycarbonate solar slats. With the slats on the pool and in direct sunlight, the black underside of the slat is in contact with the water and the pool water heats up.
Swimming Pool Heat Pump
Swimming pool heat pumps are the best option for pool heating – especially with the climatic conditions we enjoy on the Costa del Sol. They are built solely and exclusively to perform the function of heating swimming pools. A good heat pump will be efficient to run and of course does not require external factors, like the sun being out, in order to work.
As with all installations, we recommend a good, well made, correctly calculated heat pump and a proper installation. We also recommend that the unit is installed and maintained by refrigeration engineers – as it is refrigeration equipment – not by a pool maintenance company.
Oil or Gas Boiler
We, at Oasis, are not fans of fossil fuels. Boilers are notoriously inefficient, with heat lost through the flue, but apart from that they cost around double to heat the pool compared to a heat pump. Using a boiler to heat a swimming pool also shares a disadvantage with solar collectors, which is that they need a heat exchanger to be installed as the pool water is not compatible with the equipment. This also will require an additional circulation pump.
The advantage of a boiler is that they are relatively inexpensive to buy for a high capacity boiler, which means pools can be heated more quickly with a comparatively economical piece of equipment, even if the cost of the required energy is double (depending upon model of equipment and ambient & set temperatures
“We offer timely and professional service, so you can be enjoying your swimming pool for longer”
Oasis can advise you on the right sized pool heater for your requirements, carry out the installation and show you how to operate the unit.