Pool heating myths busted

By Alice Richard
Thursday, 04 June, 2015

Pool heating myths busted

Just as any positive changes in pool heating’s reputation improve the reputation of the industry as a whole, any misinformation that negatively affects the reputation of one sector of the pool heating industry negatively affects the whole pool heating industry.

This is why Pool+Spa invited all our Industry Roundtable participants - and other pool heating specialists - to bust some pool heating myths. Correcting these myths and having everyone in the industry disseminating the same information will improve the industry’s reputation overall.

Here’s what our Industry Roundtable participants had to say about pool heating myths:

60% pool coverage is enough

It’s a myth that 60% coverage can heat a pool with solar, according to Supreme Heating’s Mark Lewis. It needs to be at least 80% to be effective. A customer simply won’t be satisfied with their pool heating if the coverage is less than 80%.

Undersizing is a massive problem in the pool heating industry, says Michael Mansfield of Leisure Coast & Double Bay Solar. He subscribes to one simple rule: 100% coverage equals happy customers. Insufficient coverage gives solar a bad name as it doesn’t appear to work - and customers are always more likely to blame the solar rather than the installer.

People will swim in an unheated pool

While people will use their pool in the hot months (or weeks, depending on where they live), it’s a simple fact that a heated pool will be used far more regularly than an unheated one, Mansfield says.

And once you go heated, you never go back: people who’ve had a heated pool are unlikely to ever go back to an unheated pool.

Matt Adlam, general manager of AstralPool, concurs: he says a pool with no heating is a pool that is just never going to be used. He believes the secret to the success of the pool industry is getting people to use their pools as much as possible. If they’re paying for chemicals, electricity and service on a pool they’re not using often, the pool becomes an inconvenience rather than a pleasure.

Splashing out on pool heating is a worthwhile investment, Mansfield argues. If a customer spends $40,000 on a pool but can only swim in it for four months of the year, it will cost more per swim than if they spend an extra $5000 on pool heating but can swim in it for six months of the year. Ask your client to do the maths.

Large heaters are needed to heat pools

There’s a lack of knowledge in the industry about gas heating, Adlam says, and so many builders tend to opt for the largest size gas heater as it’ll cover all potential scenarios.

But this just ends up costing the client more and also poses other difficulties. Larger heaters require more space (something which is at a premium on our ever-shrinking residential blocks) and also need larger gas lines, increasing the cost of installation. An oversized heater can also heat the water too quickly, he says, causing expansion issues.

The cost of a correctly sized gas heater shouldn’t be over the top. A heater for a 40,000 L pool costs approximately $3000-$3500, Adlam says. Add in a connection cost of around $1000 (less if gas is already installed) and this will give the customer a heater that’s useable and quite reasonably priced.

You can heat a pool for $2 a day

A number of unscrupulous companies advertise their pool heating as costing only $2 a day to run - a price that naturally appeals to many consumers’ back pockets. When they start seeing dollar signs, they often don’t take the time to read the fine print and understand that the heating system will only cost $2 a day to operate under very specific (and often unrealistic) conditions - conditions that are unlikely to eventuate in the real world very often.

All of our Industry Roundtable participants called for greater transparency in the industry so customers aren’t misled about the true cost of pool heating. A customer expecting to pay $2 a day for heating who then receives a bill in the thousands of dollars is a customer who will disparage the industry as a whole, not just the pool heating sector - something that nobody wants.

Online tools like calculators that help customers determine the true running costs of a heating system go some way towards improving transparency throughout the sector, but ultimately it’s incumbent on all in the industry to conduct their businesses with honesty and transparency - for the good of the entire industry.

More myths?

What other pool heating myths do you think need busting? Is there something you’re not sure about and would like some expert advice on? Let us know! Email ps@westwick-farrow.com.au.

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