Living in South West Victoria the pool water temperatures are a lot less than our Northern pool owners. To state it bluntly the water can be bloody cold. This year at the end of December night temperatures are dropping to 6 with daytime temperatures just scraping over 20. If you want a swim you are going to need to buy a heater or brave the cold and stick to Polar Bear plunging.
At my last house I had a solar heating system which worked very well – when the sun shined! For a couple of years when we lacked cloudless days the system was very disappointing. I was going to install a solar system I had left over and back it with a small heat pump but after factoring in the difficulty of the roof and orientation I decided to get a pool heat pump.
After phoning around and getting quotes I bought the biggest unit I could use that didn’t need wiring in although it did need a dedicated 15 amp socket. Installation was very simple using poly pipe and was completed in a few hours. Start the pool pump, set the unit to the desired temperature and off you go.
You don’t get the feeling of hot water coming in like on solar but more of a consistent warmth. The heat pumps raise the temperature by around one degree an hour so don’t expect to get a quick response. The advantage of the pool heat pump over a solar system is you can heat in any weather which means this year I get a lot more swimming than normal. It costs more to heat than solar and a more expensive initial outlay but gives a much longer swimming season and takes up a lot less space.
I would recommend these to anyone thinking of heating their pool. Buy the biggest you can afford and connect to enjoy a longer and warmer swimming season. By the way I purchased for nearly half the price of the local pool suppliers through ebay.