Heating your pool is a great way
lengthen your swimming season, and bring more enjoyment to the experience for
everyone in the family. But somewhere along the way you may have gotten
confused as to how to do it. Visit a pool supply store and you'll be hit with
the question "Gas-fired heater, or heat pump?"
The simple desire to heat your pool
may have left you in a quandary. Don't lose sleep over this one. I believe in
the short amount of time it takes you to read this blog, we can help guide you
to the right choice for your pool.
Both Have Strengths and Weaknesses
This is NOT one of those scenarios where one is simply better than the
other, no matter what the details are.
fired heater and a heat pump are built differently, perform differently and
have very different energy usage. By understanding those differences you can
determine which type suits you best.
Before we get into pros and cons,
general info about gas
. To begin with, gas heaters are fueled by either natural or propane gas, are the most popular choice for pool owners,
and have been around longer than pool heat pumps. A quick search for pool
heating options will bring up many more gas heaters than heat pump models.
- Cost Less Than Heat Pump to Purchase - Depending upon the size of your pool,
a gas heater will set you back about half as much cash as a heat pump.
- Maintain Water Temperature in Any Weather - Gas heaters are not dependent upon outside temperature in order to
produce heat for your pool
. Cool outside temps? No problems for a gas heater!
- Heat Up Quickly - Unlike a heat pump, gas heaters are able to raise
water temperatures for even the largest pools in a relatively short period of
Perfect for "weekend
, a traditional gas heater allows you to wait until a short period
of time before you want the heat.
- May Cost Less to Install - Depending upon the
circumstances (distance of your pool from the house, availability of natural
gas lines to your home, etc.) many gas heaters will cost the homeowner less to
- Uses More Energy/Costs More to Operate - Due to the inherent inefficiency of
gas heaters, they
will cost you a good
bit more to operate
. True, gas heaters warm up the water quickly, but they
will use more energy in the process, which translates to higher expense in
- Shorter Unit Life Spans - Due the high heat produced within the unit and the larger
amount of moving parts,
you can expect a
gas unit to need repairs possibly more often and fail before most heat pumps
- Tank or Lines Needed - If you have natural gas service already piped to your home,
this may be the best option (remember that most heaters have the option of
coming as propane or natural gas units). Running as gas line to your pool would
be needed (you'll need it plumbed in), OR you'll need one of those very large
tanks in your yard for propane (not the prettiest sight) and will need it
Some general info - they are powered by electricity, and work like
an AC unit only in reverse. These heat pumps do not produce heat so much as
extract it from the outside air & compress. These are much newer to the
residential pool landscape and are not as commonly seen, especially in the
- Use Less Energy Over Longer Periods/Lower Operating Cost - Heat Pumps are very efficient and convert most of the energy over to heat. This means that most pool owners are spending quite
a bit less to maintain the same temperature over a long period of time. Even
though they use electricity and seem to be expensive at first glance,
the operating cost is lower.
- Will Often Outlast Gas Heaters - Heat pumps by design have very few moving parts, and because
of their "low and slow" operation will have less wear and tear. This translates
longer lifespan than gas heaters.
Fewer repairs are likely as well.
- Environmentally Friendly - Unlike Gas heaters,heat pumps
produce no carbon dioxide, and use much less energy making them a
greener option to use.
- Slower Warm-Up - Heat pumps are the long distance
sprinters like gas heaters, which means they do not work well when you expect
to leave them off for days and turn them on to warm up the pool for the
- Potentially More Expensive Electrical Installation - Heat Pumps
require 220 Volt service which may require higher installation cost due to
breaker panel availability and distance to the pool.
- Purchase Price is More Than Gas Heater - Although prices are getting better for heat pumps, their initial purchase cost is substantially more than most gas heater
Ultimately, the best choice for your
pool is what suits you and your situation best. Once again there is no right
choice for everyone, but better choices depending upon your needs and desires
for your family's pool.
Need more help? Call or stop by any
of our stores and we'd love to help further guide you in your choice!