With winter in the midst of ending many of us in these colder climates are excited at the prospect of getting back in the pool. Yet even with the snow gone, for the most of us, the temperature outside is still cold enough to warrant the use of a pool heater. The costs of installing and operating these types of things isn’t exactly trivial, so knowing which heater to purchase is a very important question. The choices vary from solar, electric, and gas and each unit has its specific advantages and disadvantages. In this article I want to discuss with you what these pros and cons are, in an effort to assist you in your purchase.
Solar energy is an area with rapid growth in the last couple of years. It’s easy to understand why people would want to use solar as it lowers operating cost to basically nothing (discounting the energy required to operate the pool pump) for those that live in the right areas. Most people would agree that you would need to live in an area with consistent 80 degree temperatures for solar heating to be a reliable main heating source. Still even though northerners can’t rely on solar for all their heating needs it can be used in conjunction with another heating source to lower operating costs. Still, this heating source is really only an option for a select few of us and in those situations, it’s highly recommended as a primary heating source based on operating costs alone. Solar heating units can vary in cost from $1,000 to $4,800 and the installation costs can range from $400 – $2,500. These costs are relatively low in comparison to the other types of units and when you add in the fact that solar panels will typically last about 20 years you get a fairly healthy cost benefit for solar.
Gas heaters are great for people who want to be able to swim in any weather no matter what. Gas heaters can quickly heat large bodies of water even if snow is touching ground around the pool deck. The cost of operation for gas pumps is unsurprisingly high and it’s all due to their low efficiency. Most units are fed about $1.20 and churn out about $1.00 worth of efficiency. IF you live in very cold areas, I would highly recommend this form of pool heating. The cost of a gas heating unit can vary from $875 to $5,400 with the installation costing about $350 – $850. When compared to all three forms of heating the price is slightly more reasonable. Again this is the pool heater you need in places like Alaska or Michigan because it will work all year round. The negatives to a gas based heater are efficiency and lifespan, which sits around 5 years on average.
Electric pool heaters are great for those of us that live in areas where the temperature doesn’t drop much below about 45 degrees. When the temperature is 45 degrees electric heaters can heat a pool to 80 degrees or a warm 90 degrees. Electric heaters are highly efficient and typically result in you putting in about $0.25 and getting about a $1.00 worth of heat in return. This high efficiency makes the cost of operation very low. Electric heaters also last a fairly long time with the average life span at about 15 years. The cost of an electric pool heater can range from $2,400 to $4,600 with installation at about $350 to $950.
As I stated early on each unit has advantages and disadvantages. For the most part the gas based pool heaters are the ones most of us would like to avoid but for some of us that’s simply not a possibility. I, personally, would shoot for a solar pool heater as it works in varied climates, doesn’t cost too much to run, and heats the pool well. If you do live in a slightly colder climate, combining solar with electric may be a more cost effective solution.
Now get out there and buy your pool heater so you can enjoy that beautiful pool year long!
This article was written by David Holly. David is a Florida native who has grown up in the year round sunshine. He is more than familiar with the power of solar energy and all of its benefits. He uses his experience as a professional writer for BobHeinmillerSolar.com. You can view more of his work on his Google+.