Selecting Pool Heaters: Gas, Electric or Solar? Selecting Pool Heaters: Gas, Electric or Solar?

For all-weather pool pleasure, the right pool heater can make all the difference in swimming or sitting near the edge. There are 3 main types of pool heaters to choose from, each with their own unique operating systems and energy efficiency levels. 

Gas Pool Heater

Favored for the rapid water heating rate and the ability to sustain a constant temperature, gas pool heater's have been a solid choice for years. They come in various sizes and installation configurations, including underground systems.

A pump pulls the water from the pool through a filter and then into the heating area and then is pumped back into the pool.  Though quick, it is not as energy efficient as the electric and solar and are best used for short periods of time or in pools that are not used very often. Temperatures will not be effected by climate or out door air fluctuations.

Determining the size needed for a pool is done by factoring in the pool's surface area, average day and night air temperatures, and wind. A professional installer will come to your site and calculate these factors and determine associated size needed.

Electric Or Heat Pump Heater

This system is more energy efficient than the gas pool heater as it does not actually use energy to heat the air. The electric system captures the heat from the outside air and directs it to a evaporant coil. This coil contains a refrigerant that absorbs the air and turns it into a gas. This gas is then directed to a compressor which heats up the gas and sends it to a condenser. The condenser uses the gas to heat up the water that is being circulated through it and then sends the water back to the pool.

This systems work well as long as the outside temperature remains above 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower and it will struggle to keep the temperature up to the setting.  It will need to use up substantial levels of increased energy to produce the preferred pool temperature.

Determining the size needed for this system is achieved by subtracting the coldest temperature from the average temperature and then factoring the size of the pool.  While gas pools are measured in units of BTU's(British Thermal Units), electric units are measured in BTU's and HP (horse power)

Solar Pool Heater

The most cost efficient pool heating system is the solar system.  Though initial costs are competitive to its 2 counter parts the over all annual operating expenses are second to none.

A pump will pull the water from the pool, sending it through a filter and then directly to the solar collector. This solar collector is absorbing direct solar and diffuse solar radiation. Once the collector has warmed up the water to its set temperature it will then pump it back into the pool.

Solar collectors are sold under 2 main categories: Glazed and Unglazed.

An unglazed system is made of rubber and works well when a consistent amount of sun is available or when the pool may not be needed year round. This is the lowest cost option.

A Glazed system is made of copper and is designed to work better when inconsistent sun is an issue and should be considered for all year pool use.


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