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What Kind Of Pool Heater Should I Get

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Pool Insulation To Reduce Heat Loss:

POOL HEATERS: What’s The Best Pool Heater To Buy? | Swim University

When planning a pool, think insulation. All pool designs, including a Natural pool or swimming pond, can benefit by incorporating;some rigid panel insulation under and around the structure of a pool to save energy and costs in the long run. Regardless of where you are in the USA or Canada the ambient temperature of the ground is pretty constant, and its usually colder than the ideal temperature for enjoying a swim in the pool, so putting some insulation outside the thermal mass of the water retaining structure is a great first step in reducing the costs associated with heating a pool over the long term.

Pool Color Effects The Amount Of Solar Gain

Black gets hot where white stays cool.;Ever noticed that the color of your car effects how hot it gets when parked up in summer under a blazingly blue sky? It’s exactly the same with swimming pools… If located in a year round hot climate zone like;New Mexico, Texas, Southern California or Florida then choosing the pool color shouldn’t just be about aesthetics. Neither should choosing a darker colored pool be ignored if in Quebec, Ontario, BC, Montana, New York or Illinois and serious about enjoying a backyard pool for as much of the year as possible without the pool heating costing the Earth. Literally.; ;;;

Heating A Small Indoor Pool

You actually have a few different choices here.

For indoor pools that are less than 10,000 gallons, you may want to consider using an electric swimming pool heater. They are very safe for indoor use. This is because they have no flame and do not emit harmful fumes. All electric heaters also have a built-in high limit cutoff switch which shuts them down if a dangerous amount of heat is detected inside of them. When hooked up using a GFI breaker, it greatly eliminates any possible shock hazard too.

You can also hook up a gas heater to use on your indoor pool. This might be the preferred way to go if you have a large indoor pool. If you decide to go this route, it is highly recommended that you set up your new gas pool heater outside of your home. That way it is not as much of a fire hazard and you eliminate the possibility of dangerous gas emissions if your heater is not vented properly or for some reason that venting ductwork gets plugged up.

Read Also: What Are Pool Cages Made Of

Natural & Propane Gas Heaters

How they work

Gas heaters can operate on natural gas or propanefuels. The way gas heaters work is pretty simple as the pumped water from the pool passes through a filter, it arrives at the heater. In the combustion chamber, the heater burns gas generating heat. Then this heat transfers to the water and the heated water is returned to the pool.

Pros and cons

Gas heaters used to be the most popular type but in recent years their popularity on the market slightly dropped. Why did this happen? Lets consider all the pros and cons of this type of heater.


Heats water in any weather condition. Unlike heat pumps or solar heaters, a gas heater is not dependent on the weather. It will heat the water in any season. In this way, the gas heater can maximally prolong your swimming season.

Heats water extremely quickly. Gas heaters are the quickest to heat the water. It will raise the water temperature 2 times faster than any heat pump. A gas heater increases the water temperature by 3-4ºF per hour which is impressive.

Low initial costs. The gas heater is the cheapest to buy and install among other heaters. Its cost starts at $1,000 which is low if compared to heat pumps and solar heaters .


Not eco-friendly. The gas heater is the least eco-friendly among other types of heaters. It uses gas to heat the water and produces emissions. To reduce emissions, it is better to install a gas heater which produces low emissions.

Heat Pump Pool Heaters

What Size Pool Heater Should I Get?

Heat pumps may be the greenest approach to heaters for pools available in the market behind solar heaters. They are easy to install and use while being a lot cheaper for operation.;

A heat pump is extracting heat from the surrounding warm air, compresses the heated refrigerant inside with a compressor, and then heating the water with the hot compressed refrigerant while throwing the cold air out the top of the appliance.

These heaters last a little longer to heat the water than others, especially when compared to gas heaters. However, in the long run, they could become a lot more efficient and useful, especially in warm to hot environments. The minimum temperature needed to use a heat pump heater is 45 degrees Fahrenheit, anything lower than that will make this type of the heating device, inefficient.

At first, heat pumps can be more expensive than other heaters, as they heat water differently. However, the operation costs of these heaters is little to not existent. And whats even better, they can last up to 20 years without breaking.

The less powerful heat pump heaters may cost as little as $1,800, but can go up to $5,000 in the biggest and most effective ones.


Recommended models to buy

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How To Find The Right Size Pool Heat Pump

Just like a gas heater, heat pump pool heaters are rated by BTU output. However, theyre also rated by horsepower . Standard sizes include 3.5 hp/75,000 BTU, 5 hp/100,000 BTU, and 6 hp/125,000 BTU.

To calculate an approximate heater size for an outdoor swimming pool, follow the same steps as above for finding a gas heater size.

Electric Spa & Hot Tub Heaters

Electric element heaters are also known as tank-less heaters. They are less expensive initially, but cost up to 5 or 6 times more than a heat pump to heat a swimming pool, making them good options for spas and hot tubs because they don’t take up much space and can be put indoors.

For small pools or spas that get continuous use, electric heaters can have a lower operating cost, but would costs too much to run and heat a swimming pool.

To get the most savings, you may consider using an electric heater during the winter in cold weather states, and a heat pump in the warmer months.

Recommended Applications: Spas/Hot Tubs, Indoor UsePros: Lower Initial Costs, Lower operating cost for spas or indoor useCons: The most expensive option for pool heating.

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How Much Does A Truckload Of Pool Water Cost

How much does it cost for pool water delivery? On average, a professional water delivery service will charge anywhere from $175 to $380 per truckload., and the average truck will hold 6,000 gallons. With this formula, you may need three to six truckloads to fill your pool, effectively paying $525 to $2,000 total.

More Exercise Months With A Heated Pool

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Another great advantage of having a heated pool is more exercise months!

Many people use their swimming pools as an exercise space. With the COVID pandemic in 2020, many homeowners looked at how they can make best use of their homes for workouts and fitness routines.;

And a swimming pool can be a great place to get in better shape. And even better, with a heated swimming pool youll have an extra 2-3 months per year for exercise in your pool! There are many home workouts at and fitness routines that will get you on the right path to better shape. And workouts in your pool are one of the very best workouts you can do.

Its great for cardio, strength building, and endurance. And its a lot of fun too!

Also Check: How To Heat Above Ground Pool Fast

Hot Splash The Worlds Smallest Pool Heat Pump

The Hot Splash is the Worlds smallest pool heat pump.

It is designed for small above ground pools with a water volume of up to 10m3

The Hot Splash heat pump outputs; 3.3kw of pool heat for only 0.6kw of electricity used

The Hot Splash is incredibly easy to install and is a plug and play heat pump

Please click Hereto see more details on the Hot Splash pool heat pumps

The Best Solar Pool Heater

With just 80 square feet of solar panels, this pool heater system can be mounted on a roof. The polypropylene heat collector raises pool water temperature by 6°F to 10°F . This energy-efficient system requires an installation kit, which is sold separately.

Real quick, if you need even more help with taking care of your pool, we offer a full video course teaching you everything you need to know about pool maintenance.;

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What Causes Heat Loss In Pool Water

According to the National Swimming Pool Foundation, the main reasons; pool water loses heat are: evaporation, convection, thermal radiation, and conduction.

Water at the surface is continually converted to water vapor by the sun and the heat of the environment — evaporation is one of the primary causes of heat and energy loss. This is why we often recommend pool covers, to help prevent evaporation and maintain warmer water.

Convection losses happen when heat from the surface of the water dissipates into the surrounding air. Thermal radiation happens when the warmer pool water radiates heat to the cooler surrounding air.

Conduction losses happen when movement of heat through an inground pool’s structural components cool down the pool water — this is why pools with water features like pool waterfalls or pool fountains are often used in hotter climates, as their water-circulating functions can lower the temperature of an overly-warm pool.

The Cheapest Way To Heat A Pool

The 3 Best Above Ground Pool Heaters You Should Consider ...

Speaking of the cheapest way to heat a poolalthough they have an expensive upfront cost, youll earn your money back and save more after installing a solar pool heater. Solar panels are all the rage for household electrical energy, but theyve been warming outdoor swimming pools since the 70s using thermal energy. This is why theyre the cheapest way to heat a pool you have virtually no net losses if you dont need to convert thermal energy into electrical energy; all the heat you get, you get to keep! If you live in an area with lots of sunny days, solar pool heater panels are the best decision you can make. While theyre certainly not fast, swimming pool solar heaters can extend your swim season up to two whole months depending on home sun exposure. More importantly, the operating cost for solar pool heaters is nothing at all after your payback period, on average 2-2.5 years. Thats right. Zero dollars! When you consider the yearly cost of a gas heater can sometimes reach $3,000thats a big difference. For northern pools, you might want a backup electric or gas heater so you can use your pool in cooler weather, but youll still save a pretty penny. ;

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The Best Water Heater

The type of unit that is best for you will depend on things such as your family size, water usage, and individual needs. Keep in mind that switching from one type to another will involve conversions costs that need to be calculated into the initial expense, a factor that could make it prohibitively expensive to switch to another type.

In many situations, combining tanked and tankless water heating systems will provide you with the most consistent and efficient delivery.

;Check out Best Water Heaters for Residential Use to see what specific models we recommend.;

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The Best Propane Pool Heater

Providing 400,000 BTUs of heating power, this Hayward pool heater can heat just about any pool of any size. The system is designed for very low emissions and energy-efficient running so while your gas bills may go up, theyll still be lower compared to other heating systems.

This gas heater has a standard cupronickel heat exchanger for superior efficiency. Its patented polymer header and bypass valve are designed for hydraulic reliability. Its environmentally responsible low NOx emissions meet or exceed air quality emission standards in all Low NOx regions.

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Using A Solar Bubble Cover To Heat Your Pool

Some people are misled into believing that a solar bubble cover will actually help heat up their swimming pool. While this is somewhat true, the heat bubble covers in pools only impacts the first few inches of surface water, and it does not add a significant amount of heat. Are we against people buying these covers? Absolutely not. They do have their good uses. For one, they will help your swimming pool retain the heat that your pools heating system puts into it. They also cut down significantly on water loss due to vapors of the warmer pool water being emitted into the air.

Electric Heat Pump Pros And Cons

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Now that you have a rough idea of how electric heat pump pool heaters work and how much they cost, lets dive deeper into a broader range of benefits and drawbacks to owning an electric pool heat pump…

Pros of electric pool heat pumps:

  • Energy efficient
  • More environmentally friendly than gas heaters
  • Long lifespan
  • Lower monthly costs than gas heaters
  • Can extend swim season by several weeks

The fact that electric heat pumps rely on the warmth of the surrounding air makes them more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than gas heaters. This upside isn’t without its drawbacks, as we’ll explain in just a moment.

Electric pool heat pumps also have long lifespans, ranging from about 10 to 20 years and guarantee relatively low monthly operating costs. Like other pool heaters, they can extend the swimming season by several weeks to several months, depending on the area.

Cons of electric heat pumps:

  • Expensive to purchase and install
  • May heat pool water slowly
  • Typically can’t work in outside temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit

Electric heat pumps can be a costly addition to your backyard oasis, and they can also take longer to heat your swimming pool water than gas heaters. Electric heat pumps tend to not work when the air temperature dips below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which means they won’t typically operate effectively in colder weather.

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Millivolt Or Electronic Ignition Pool Heating Systems

Millivolt means you have a small amount of gas that maintains a pilot light lit so that its continuously available to fire up while an electronic ignition lights the burners with a spark, just like a gas grill.

We recommend going with electric ignition, so you use less fuel and dont risk a gas seepage.

Apply This Formula To Calculate The Btu/hour Output Rating Of The Pool Heater Needed:

Pool Area x Temperature Rise x 12 = Btu/h

This formula is based on 1º to 1-1/4ºF temperature rise per hour and a 3-1/2 mile per hour average wind at the pool surface. For a 1-1/2ºF rise multiply by 1.5. For a 2ºF rise multiply by 2.0.

Conclusion? It means its best to buy the highest COP-rated unit in your budget while ensuring the model selected has the heating capacity, or BTUh, to meet the calculated heating demand needed. Find out how hot water;heat pumps work and why you should get one here.

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What Are The Different Types Of Solar Pool Heaters

All solar pool heaters follow the same principle of water being pushed out of the pool for it to flow through the system pre-heated by the sun and then circulated back into the pool. Still, there are different types of solar pool heaters based on how they operate.

  • Evacuated Tube Collectors this is considered as one of the most effective solar pool heaters, although more expensive than the thermal solar collectors. With a higher price tag comes higher reliability at the collection of heat even in colder areas. This type of solar pool heater uses a system of small glass tubes enclosed in larger glass tubes, so a vacuum is created between the two. As the sunlight warms the glass, the heat is confined within the vacuum and then transferred to a heat exchanger connected to the water box. The water is then warmed and heated in the heat exchanger before it flows back to the pool at a higher temperature.

Some would prefer ETCs because they are proven and tested to be more reliable. They can provide you optimum performance and output even if the temperature is freezing. Initial set up and installation for this kind of solar pool heater though, might be a little complicated.

The advantages of solar thermal absorbers are they are cost-efficient and easy to install. You also have a lot of choices, and it can be mounted on the ground near the pool. A downside though for this type of solar pool heaters is that some units may not be advisable for bigger pools.

The Good The Bad And The Toasty

Should I Get a Pool or Hot Tub For My Home?

They also use a lot of electricity to get the job done, so youre going to notice a jump in your electric bill when you use it. Depending upon your climate, you may not have many other options to heat your pool. The advantage of a pure electric heater is that they work in all temperatures.;

Electric pool heaters are typically ideal for spa owners since there is less water to heat. However, if youre not worried about your utility bill and you want warm water fast, these can be a good option.

When choosing one for your pool, youll want to pay close attention to the wattage they use. They can cost anywhere between $3-$10 per hour to run.;


  • Cheaper initial expense than other options
  • Ideal for spas, rather than pools
  • They work in all temperatures


  • Use more electricity, causing higher utility bills over time
  • Less energy-efficient overall
  • Have lots of component parts, may need frequent repair

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