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What is the difference between a heat pump and pool heater?

Heat pumps operate differently from pool heaters by using electricity to capture heat and move it from one place to another and do not generate heat like a gas or propane heater.

Gas and Propane pool heaters will use more energy than pool heat pumps because they are required to create heat, rather than transfer it. However, if you live in a location with colder climates, a heat pump would need to use more energy since it needs to draw in heat from the outside air. Heat pumps may be ideal for those who use their pool in warmer weather and do not live in a location with cooler climate.

Gas Pool Heaters vs. Electric Pool Heat Pumps

Heat Pumps

Pool heat pumps are an efficient, environmentally friendly way to heat a pool. Heat pumps can save pool owners money in the long run as they typically have a much lower annual operating costs than gas heaters and with proper maintenance, can last up to 10 years or more.

This method of heating is environmentally friendly as they use less energy than other heating methods. They operate by extracting heat from the outside air, increasing the heat with a compressor, delivering the heat to the water, and ejecting the cold air out the top of the unit.

For a heat pump to operate effectively, the ambient air outside should be 45* or higher. This method of pool heating may be ideal for pool owners who use their pool in warmer weather or who live in warmer climates during the colder seasons.

Recommended Applications: Swim Season

Pool Type: In-Ground, Above Ground

Pros: Low operating Costs, Environmentally friendly.

Cons: Requires warmer ambient temperatures, higher initial cost.

Cost Estimate: System unit cost range: $2400 - $4600. Installation cost (approx): $350 - $950

Pool Heaters

Swimming pool heaters are most efficient when they are used for short periods of time. They are good for heating a pool quickly and will heat water faster than other heating methods. Natural gas or propane gas heaters are able to maintain a constant water temperature in any weather conditions.

If you live in a climate that has an average temperature below 55 degrees and only need to heat your water for short periods of time then this option is ideal.

If you do not want to heat your pool for the entire swim season, and you do not use your pool frequently; only on weekends or several times per week then you will only need to turn on the heater as you use the pool, making gas heaters the most efficient heating method for your application.

If you decide on a pool heater, you will need to choose between running the heater on natural gas or liquid propane. Therefore you will need to consider the availability and cost of gas and whether or not a gas line is already installed. Gas heaters also require to be refilled and hooked up to a propane tank. The type of fuel you use should be based on the availability and price of gas and propane in your area.

Consider the following: What is the price of fuel compared to electricity in your area? Is there already a gas line installed?

Recommended Applications: All Conditions

Pros: Heat Pool Quickly, Lower initial cost

Cons: High Operating Costs, Require Regular Maintenance

Cost Estimate: System unit cost range: $875 - $5400. Installation cost: $350 - $850

Which heating method is right for my pool?

The first step to deciding on which type of heater you need is to consider the following factors:

  1. How many days per week would you want the pool water heated?
  2. How many gallons is the pool or spa?
  3. Is the time it takes to heat the pool water important?
  4. What are the weather conditions in your location?
  5. What are the costs of gas compared to electricity in your area?
  6. Is there already a gas line installed?
  7. How much are you willing to invest to heat your pool water?
  8. Reputation of the manufacturer and the length of time they have been in business.

Once you answer these questions you can make an informed decision on the best heater for your pool. If you are unsure, a pool heating professional can assist you in choosing.

Need help Choosing?

For assistance, contact our pool heating professionals at 1 800-741-9956.  To estimate and compare costs for heat pumps vs gas pool heaters, our experts can help you.  We can provide a customized pool analysis and estimate pool heating costs for your specific application. Get a free pool analysis today!