Warm your spa or pool with a tankless water heater

Warm your spa or pool with a tankless water heaterWarm your spa or pool with a tankless water heater

Many homeowners purchase and install pools in their backyards because they like the idea of going out for a quick dip in the morning or lounging poolside after a long day at work. However, just as many are not prepared for the high level of maintenance residential swimming pools need to stay clean and safe.

Regular cleaning and service can reduce the cost of owning a pool, but many people choose to outsource these tasks to third-party contractors. Instead of simply throwing money at the problem, tankless water heaters could be the perfect solution to keep your pool comfortable and cost-effective for years to come.

The fight against energy loss
Most pool owners know that when water is leaking, something is seriously wrong. While energy loss may not be as immediately dangerous to the pool's foundation, it can accumulate and turn into an expensive problem.

The Washington State University Extension Energy program explained that, in both outdoor and indoor heated pools, a process known as evaporative cooling is the most frequent culprit for high utility bills. When a pool's water is heated, the extra energy causes some water to evaporate. If enough water turns to vapor, the pool's temperature drops and the heater is forced to kick into overdrive to compensate for the decrease.

In fact, evaporative cooling is such a drain on utilities that a 1000-square-foot pool in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania uses 530,000 kilowatt hours per year for heating, but loses more than 425,226 kWh over the same time span. A pool like this costs just short of $80,000 per year in energy expenses to run.

Tankless water heaters save money
There are a few common ways to avoid exorbitant utility bills caused by evaporative cooling. Homeowners can purchase covers to protect their pools from the sun or install thicker insulation. However, neither of these address the real problem – overworked pool heaters.

The U.S. Department of Energy recommended purchasing a smaller, more efficient heater as one of the best ways to reduce energy usage in pools. Most common appliances function no differently than the average in-home water heater – a large reservoir of water is continually heated until it is needed somewhere else, and then another batch of water enters the tank.

However, gas or electric tankless water heaters only use energy when homeowners need it. Just as tankless heaters can turn a shower from cold to hot in seconds, a properly sized unit can handle the on-demand heating needs of a moderately sized pool while using a fraction of the energy a traditional heater would.

A 2009 report from the DOE's Brookhaven National Laboratory in upstate New York found that the average swimming pool heater has an efficiency rate somewhere between 80 and 85 percent. This means that for every $100 of fuel pool owners put into the heater, the device creates $80 to $85 of heat and the rest is lost as waste. On the other hand, tankless pool and spa heaters can be up to 99.8 percent efficient regardless of the ambient air or ground temperature, which can drain even more energy from traditional heaters.

Most homeowners would be hard-pressed not to upgrade their washer, dryer or other appliance to a device that could cut their energy costs by 20 percent. If a pool has become a chore to take care of and more of a headache than a luxury, gas or electric tankless water heaters can make your backyard swimming hole a fun – and cheap – place again.

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