Gas vs. Electric Pool Heaters for your Facility

pool heating

What’s the Difference Between a Gas-Fired Pool Heater and an Electric Pool Heat Pump?

As spring rolls around and winter comes to a close, it’s time to begin opening pools or having new pools installed. Although the cool temperatures of the pool water are enjoyable compared to the hot temperatures, pool heaters are typically a “must have” for all climates. Regardless of your location, at some point you’ll probably consider heating when making decisions for your pool.

When it comes to selecting a pool heater, there are many factors to consider to ensure you find the best option. The size of the pool, location/climate, frequency of use, efficiency, and cost are all variables that should impact the buying decision. You have two main choices: a gas-fired pool heater or an electric pool heat pump.

Gas-fired pool heater

Gas-fired heaters do the job by pumping the water through the heater and using gas heat to warm the water before it is pumped back into the pool. These are the most common types of heater in the industry and a primary reason for this is cost. Gas heaters are less expensive to purchase and install than heat pumps, driving many homeowners to opt for gas. They are most efficient when used to heat smaller pools for short periods of time or for meeting light heating demands. For this reason, gas-fired heaters are also more common in warmer climates, where heating the water is needed less frequently.

Electric pool heat pump

Electric heaters (also referred to as heat pumps) heat the pool water by cycling it through a pump which takes the outside air and transfers the heat into the water via the refrigeration cycle. The warm water is then pumped back into the pool to meet desired water temperatures. This process allows heat pumps to use less energy and operate more efficiently than their gas counterpart.

While homeowners can expect pay more upfront and at installation with an electric heat pump, they can also probably expect lower utility bills than they might receive with a gas-fired heater.

Another benefit of electric powered heaters is the ability to efficiently meet large heating demands. Pool owners in cooler climates and/or with large pools could benefit greatly from the higher efficiency of the heat pump option.

Even after researching the pros and cons of each type of heater, determining which technology to use is often not easy. There are several factors to consider when selecting the heating method; predicting the heating demand and usage of the pool may be difficult. Concerns about upfront cost and long-term costs will weigh heavily on the decision making process, so it’s important to consider location and size of the pool to ensure expectations are met.


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6 thoughts on “Gas vs. Electric Pool Heaters for your Facility

  1. I live in southern Wisconsin which type of heater would you recommend. I am looking to heat pool to 85 for 3 months of the summer

  2. Could you please tell me if either the gas or electric option produces more heat and heats the pool to a warmer degree than the other?

  3. Hello. We live in Northern NJ and getting a pool installed. The installer, which is an old school type of guy, swears by the gas heater. My husband and I have read differently on the internet. Should we go with our gut and get the electric heat pump or follow the professional’s suggestion with gas? Thanks

    • Typically gas heaters are used in northern climate whiles heat pump pool heaters are used in the southern US. The difference is that most people use a heat pump pool heater to “maintain” a comfortable temperature. The largest heat pump pool heater typically produces 30% of the heat that the smallest gas heater produces. (65kBtu’s vs 250kBtu’s respectively)

  4. Do you know if its possible to house an electric pool heater in a pool shed? I’m getting conflicting answers. We currently have an electric heater and I am told I need a gas heater if I want to put the appliance indoors.

    • Both electric and gas pool heaters should have proper ventilation if they are housed indoors. Gas pool heaters emit carbon monoxide, which could be deadly without the ventilation needed. However, electric heat pumps also require proper ventilation, since heat pumps take the surrounding air to heat the pool. Without proper ventilation, the heat pump will re-circulate the same air. Therefore, proper ventilation is important in order to help the electric heat pump run more efficiently. In summary, either is possible to house indoors, but it is not advised unless the proper safety measures are taken to do so. They are both designed to withstand the outdoor environment.

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