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A freezing cold pool is about as inviting to a human being as a sauna is to a polar bear. Heating a pool is a great way to keep it from becoming uncomfortably cold, but it may cost you a fortune if you do not know what you are doing. A pool cover is one of the simplest tools for conserving heat, and can help mitigate other influencing factors such as heater temperature, type of heater and landscaping.

Here are five simple tips for keeping your pool warm, while keeping your heating costs down:

1. Reduce Water Evaporation

Water evaporation is the largest source of energy overconsumption. Water evaporation accounts for 70 percent of the total energy lost in a swimming pool. As water evaporates, it takes heat with it. Therefore, keeping water in a pool that you have already heated is far less expensive than allowing water to evaporate and then heating more water.

Pool covers easily reduce water evaporation. According to KVarNews.com, a covered 450-square-foot pool loses around 4,000 gallons less water per year than a pool of the same size that is not covered.

2. Reduce Nighttime Heat Loss

Covering your pool at night prevents heat loss. You can reduce the cost of heating your pool by as much as 50 percent just by using a pool cover at night.

3. Use the Sun to Your Advantage

The sun can heat your pool for you, significantly reducing heating costs. This is explained by the law of thermodynamics: Heat naturally flows to areas that are cooler. The hot rays of the sun warm the cool waters of the pool. An open pool gains nearly two times the amount of infrared radiation from the sun than a screened pool; so to benefit from the full effects of the sun, remove any screens.

Solar pool covers increase the benefits of the sun by aiding the transmission of the heat from solar rays to your pool. According to SwimmingPoolIdeas.com, solar covers are the cheapest and easiest type of covers to use. Some people can get away without using an electric heater at all just by covering their pool with a solar cover. These covers look like bubble wrap, and need to be on the pool any time it is not in use.

For the best results, have your pool built in the sunniest area of your yard, and maintain the water regularly. Walls or solid fences that act as windbreakers also help keep your pool warm, and reduce the need for heating energy.

4. Consider Solar Heating

Solar heaters can reduce your energy costs enough so that the system pays for itself in less than seven years. A solar unit allows energy from the sun to heat the pool, instead of relying on a heater that burns fossil fuels. A solar heater generally costs around $2,000-4,000. How much money you save depends on the climate and location of your pool. With solar heating, your regular heater turns on only as a backup.

5. Use Your Heater Wisely

The American Red Cross states that 78 degrees is the most healthful temperature for swimming. Setting your thermostat to 78 degrees or lower conserves energy. It is also wise to turn off your heat pump or pool heater when you go away on vacation, unless you expect freezing temperatures while you are gone.

Conserving heat not only lowers your electricity bills, it also helps the environment by not wasting energy. Do your part by covering your pool and only heating it when necessary.