The “battle” over pool temperature:
Solar Pool Heating vs Heat pumps

Here’s the spoiler: this battle ends in an overwhelming victory in favour of Solar Pool Heating, not because we are biased, but simply because we at Magen know that there’s no other heating solution which is as efficient, of such high quality, environmentally friendly, and economically friendly for heating your pool.

If you are still undecided in which means of pool heating to invest in, we are here to clear up any confusion and compare the two most popular options – Heat Pumps or Solar Pool Heating.

Here are all of the essential facts you need to know about the installation process, operating costs, maintenance, degree of effectiveness, and overall ongoing costs involved in choosing one of these options. 

First, we will start with the basics… a general overview of each of the systems.

Let’s begin by defining “what’s what”…

Solar Pool Heating systems enhance the natural effect of the sun, thereby heating the water in your pool with three basic components: a panel, a pump, and a thermostat controller. Water is pumped into a solar panel mounted on your roof, porch, fence, or any other location with good sun exposure. The water is heated as it moves through the panel, and when it flows back it warms the water in your pool, 

Swimming pool Heat Pumps essentially function as an air conditioning unit. They run on electricity and their efficiency depends to a great extent on the outside temperature compared to the water temperature.

Now down to the nitty gritty: The comparison between Solar Pool Heating and Heat Pumps

1. Installation

Solar pool heating system
Supply & Installation cost: about $5,500 (for an average size pool 8 x 4 meters)
The good news: this is in essence your only expense with this system. There is no need for an electrician, or for preliminary preparations. The only person needed is a licensed installer.

Heat Pump
Supply & Installation cost: about $5,500
The cost of initial installation varies depending on the existing infrastructure in the home. If an electrician is required for preliminary electrical work, the costs will increase accordingly.

2. Maintenance and operation

Solar System
A solar pool heating system requires minimal operating expense. This is one of the most outstanding benefits of installing this system, as over time it really pays off – simply because the sun is a free resource. Not only do you save on day-to-day operating expenses, but your maintenance is remarkably minimal. In addition, you will enjoy a 25-year warranty on the system, and from our experience even after the warranty has expired, no major repairs have ever been necessary.

Heat pump
The warranty for heat pumps varies according to the manufacturer, usually 1-5 years. However, you will most likely need to arrange a major service or possibly have to replace the pump unit after the warranty expires, simply because the wear and tear will be high. The other issue that is often overlooked is the ongoing maintenance. With most Heat Pumps being manufactured overseas sourcing replacement components to repair faults is often difficult or impossible to obtain, this will render the unit redundant.

3. Cost of Electricity

Solar System
Cost: $1.50 a day
Unbelievable but true! When you choose to use Solar Pool Heating you save on electricity costs for heating the pool. The sun plays the major part here, and it is at minimal expense!

Heat pump
Cost: around $7.90 a day. 
The larger the pool area, the greater the effort to heat it, and this too will affect power consumption. Along with the high electricity costs, this can accelerate wear and tear on the pump.
On average, a medium-sized heat pump for an average pool can significantly increase your electricity bill.
In the winter months and in the intermediate seasons, the heat pump may work up to 24 hours a day, so your electricity expenses can reach hundreds and even thousands of Dollars a month. Choosing a Solar Pool Heating system can dramatically reduce this expense.

4. Heating Efficiency

Solar System
Heating the pool using a solar system will make it possible to raise the water temperature by up to 7 degrees more than the existing temperature. If you choose to use a pool cover (and we highly recommend you do) you will maximize the heating of the water and allow it to maintain the desired temperature for a longer time.
In a hot country like Australia, this is a real gift that allows for a longer, enjoyable swimming season in warm water for many months.

Heat pump
A Heat Pump can only heat your pool by consuming large amounts of electricity. It is almost imperative to keep a cover on your pool whenever to pool is not in use to reduce heat loss. Think of it this way, do you run the Air Conditioning unit in Winter and leave all of the windows and doors open. 

The Hybrid Solution
In cases where this is necessary (for example in therapeutic or public pools) and you are required to heat the pool to a certain temperature regularly, you can still enjoy a solar system combined with a heat pump. The extra few degrees needed can be maintained using the pump and this is a solution which is more economical, and greener compared to heating using only heat pumps.

5. Total Pool Use Time

Solar System
Choosing a solar system for heating the pool water significantly extends the swimming season, which now lasts, on average, from October to March each year.
The hours in which the solar panels directly absorb the sun’s rays is the factor affecting the degree of success when heating the water, so in theory the swimming season may last all year round, except for particularly sunless days.

Heat Pump
A heat pump is incapable of providing a total and reliable heating solution during the cold winter months. As with the solar solution, the heat pump is also affected by the outside temperatures and the hours of sun, so on cold days when the temperature is very low, the pump must work very very hard to heat the water to a satisfactory temperature. 

Protection of the Environment

Solar System
Magen eco-Energy provides solutions for its customers that are green and environmentally friendly. When you choose to heat your pool using solar panels, you are using the solution that harnesses the natural rays of the sun to produce energy.
There is minimal consumption of electricity (a very significant polluter), almost no wear and tear (an additional expense for other systems – another polluter) and no other synthetic or unnatural factors that pollute and harm the environment. Everything is incredibly green, perfectly environmentally friendly, and highly economical.

Heat Pump
Generation of electricity involves polluting processes that include greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. Although the heat pumps marketed today are more energy efficient and consume less electricity, they are still a solution that pollutes the environment and involves use of significant energy.

The Bottom Line

Initial cost
Operating Costs
$230.00 per month
$45.00 per month
Average Lifespan
Around 5 years
10-25 years

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