Heaters

Here are some of the different types of pool heaters available and their advantages and disadvantages.

Electric Resistance Heaters

Electric resistance heaters use electric currents to create heat. When a current is applied to the resistor located inside the unit, the resistor heats. Water then washes over the resistor and heats, causing the resistor to cool. Because electric resistance heaters require large amounts of electricity, they are primarily used to heat small, portable spas and small therapy pools.

Advantages of Electric Resistance Heaters

  • Inexpensive to purchase: many available for under $2,000
  • Operate independently of air temperature
  • Environmentally friendly: emit no air pollution

Disadvantages of Electric Resistance Heaters

  • Expensive to operate: monthly operating costs between $500 and $600
  • Expensive to install: require heavy-duty wiring and large-amperage circuit breakers
  • Not energy efficient: COP of 1.00

Gas Heaters

gasGas heaters burn either natural gas or propane to create heat. Gas burns inside a combustion chamber, which contains a series of copper coils. As the gas burns, water passes through the coils and heats. Gas heaters have historically been the most widely-used swimming pool heaters, though their popularity is decreasing due to high gas prices and the advent of and efficiency of heat pumps.

Advantages of Gas Heaters

  • Inexpensive to purchase: many available for under $1,500
  • Operate independently of air temperature
  • Heat pool water quickly

Disadvantages of Gas Heaters

  • Expensive to operate: monthly operating costs between $300 and $500
  • Not energy efficient: COP between 0.80 and 0.85
  • Lifespan of five years
  • Not environmentally friendly: emit air pollution

Heat Pumps

pumpHeat pumps use electricity to transfer heat to your swimming pool. Air-source heat pumps transfer heat from the air, and water-source (geothermal) heat pumps transfer heat from water. Because of their energy-efficiency, heat pumps have rapidly grown in popularity.

Advantages of Heat Pumps

  • Inexpensive to operate: monthly operating costs between $50 and $150
  • Energy efficient: COP between 5 and 6
  • Water-source heat pumps: operate independently of air temperature
  • Lifespan of ten to 20 years
  • Environmentally friendly: use renewable energy source and emit no air pollution

Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

  • Expensive to purchase: many available for between $2,000 and $4,000
  • Air-source heat pumps: dependent upon air temperature
  • Heat pool water slowly

Solar Heaters

solarSolar heaters use solar panels to transfer heat from the sun to your swimming pool. As solar panels sit in the sun, they collect heat. Then, the swimming pool pump pushes water through the circulation system and through the solar panels. As the water passes through the solar panels, it heats. Because of solar heaters’ reliance on the sun, many swimming pool owners use auxiliary heaters during nights and cloudy days.

Advantages of Solar Heaters

  • Inexpensive to operate: no additional monthly operating costs
  • Energy efficient: operate with your pool pump
  • Lifespan of 15 to 20 years
  • Environmentally friendly: use renewable energy source and emit no air pollution

Disadvantages of Solar Heaters

  • Expensive to purchase: many available for between $4,000 and $7,000
  • Dependent upon sun: cannot operate at night and operate less efficiently in cloudy weather
  • Heat pool water slowly
  • Unattractive installations on swimming pool owner’s roof or lawn