TURN UP THE HEAT – The sound of the sleigh bells ringing is becoming distinctly louder, and just north of the tropics there have been some sightings of reindeer.   The temperature is dropping some and we are getting well into our winter – the Christmas winds are up and swimming is something that’s left to the warm-blooded visitors.  With just twelve hours of sunshine instead of thirteen or fourteen, we find our pool water is getting colder.  Believe it or not, here in the tropics, if you want to enjoy swimming in the months of December to April you’d do well to heat your pool.

Solar panels can help, and once installed will run pretty much without a monthly bill. If you don’t have the space to mount these panels (you’ll need at least the same area that your pool occupies and preferably more) there are other options.

An electric heat pump will take the heat out of the air and put it into your pool, working exactly like an air conditioner, but in reverse.  Modern heat-pumps, the premier choice for heating pools and spas in the BVI, are very efficient, very quick and have a long life span due to the introduction of titanium heat exchanger parts. Gas heaters are a second option and may work well if the delivery of LPG Gas is not an issue. Heating an average pool to a comfortable temperature may consume several hundred pounds of LPG, the tanks of which may need to be replaced on a weekly basis.  If you seek constant warming, you may need a tight scheduling of replacement cylinders.

Sadly, electric heat is not free either.  However, it can be delivered to your home without the hassles of manual delivery.  If you are planning a new pool or adding a pool to your existing home, consider running separate electrical wiring to your heat pump, especially if you have a generator. Heat pumps have a high start up current, so it is worth bearing in mind that you don’t necessarily have to use the generator to heat the pool.  If you really want this to happen, make sure your generator is of significant wattage.

For spa owners who are only likely to indulge once or twice a week, a heat pump is the solution to less energy use, and it also saves you from having to use a cumbersome cover over the spa.  Heat pumps are capable of heating up an average spa to a comfortable temperature in about 20 minutes.

In the warmer summer months, BVI pool owners face another “problem”, especially those with darker coloured pools: from July to September we may find them to be too warm to be refreshing. The solution?  Easy.  Reverse the heat pump cycle, flip the switch and chill.

Okay, enough about decadence. Typical therapeutic exercise pools are kept at 85 degrees Fahrenheit and for some people anything less is just uncomfortable. In order to be able to exercise, a little energy expenditure will bring your pool from a chilly 74 to 85 degrees and may just be what you need to get a smile on your face.