Perpetual Heat

Solar heating obtains its heat source from the sun, which offers free heat. The solar (collector) panels are installed either on the roof of a facility or in an area near the pool. The pool water is heated as it travels through these collector panels. Another major advantage of solar heat is that it is environmentally friendly. The disadvantages are the amount of space required for the collector panels and the need for sunshine to operate. Auxiliary heaters are usually installed to enable the facility to maintain the desired pool temperature.

Gas heaters, solar heating and heat pumps are the most widely used forms of pool heating in the 21st century. Electric resistance heaters have proven to be very expensive in heating large volumes of water. Spa and hot water therapy pools are able to utilize this type of heating due to the small volume of water.

Any discussion of pool heating should include ways by which heat is lost in a pool. Evaporation, convection, radiation and conduction all play a part in heat escaping from a pool. The major heat loss (50 percent) comes from evaporation. Designers and engineers are constantly looking at ways in which to minimize evaporation. Outdoor installations experience evaporation and convection. To visualize convection, imagine blowing on a cup of coffee to cool down the temperature. Outdoor environments experience convection with the wind blowing over the surface of the pool. This is one of the reasons landscape architects surround pools with hedges and fencing to eliminate the wind factor. Indoor pools have three interacting factors–the water, the indoor air and the ventilation system. Maintaining the relative humidity at 40 to 60 percent and the air temperature at 2 degrees Fahrenheit above the water temperature, and keeping indoor ventilation air exchanges 8 to 10 times per hour will eliminate some of the evaporation loss.

Maintaining a facility’s pool temperature is one of the greatest challenges of any pool operator. Achieving swimmer comfort and an enjoyable aquatic experience is vital. It is of the utmost importance that the operator investigates all the advantages and disadvantages of each type of heating prior to making any renovation or equipment change to the facility. Also, with such an emphasis on energy conservation, as well as on the critical need to eliminate toxic air into the atmosphere, it is prudent for the operator to review all considerations.

Connie Gibson Centrella is Program Director for the online Aquatic Engineering Program at KeiserCollege eCampus. She is an industry veteran with over 40 years experience in the pool and spa industry. She is a former pool builder with extensive knowledge in pool construction and equipment installation as well as manufacturing.


About the KeiserCollege Aquatic Engineering Degree

The Keiser College Associate of Science Aquatic Engineering Degree is a two-year degree consisting of 60 semester hours. Each student is required to complete 36 credit hours of major courses and 24 credit hours of general education courses. The degree program encourages students to broaden their knowledge in all aspects of swimming pool and spa management and operation. It is offered exclusively online, making the degree program available to the national and international community of pool and spa professionals, and those seeking employment in the field. The online format enables schedule flexibility and increased access to those currently employed.

For more information about the Aquatic Engineering degree at Keiser College, visit and click on “Online Education,” call 866-535-7371, or e-mail

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