Difference Between Pool Heat Pumps and Pool Heaters

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Swimming season is a time a lot of us look forward to each year. Some of us are lucky enough to live in areas where the climate rarely changes, while others only get a set amount of time to enjoy the beautiful water in a swimming pool. Pool heat pumps and heaters are the best way for a swimmer to prolong their good times in a pool. Even though both devices draw heat, they complete the task in two different ways. There is a pretty big difference between pool heat pumps and pool heaters. Let’s examine each type more closely.

Pool Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are starting to be a more common choice for pool owners. They are easier to install than pool heaters and they work good for the milder climate areas. Instead of using gas or propane, heat pumps use air from the environment surrounding the unit to create heat for the pool.

How Heat Pumps Work

The environmental air that the heat pump takes in passes over an evaporator coil that has heated refrigerant in order to heat water heading back into the pool. Heat pumps tend to be more expensive than pool heaters, but ultimately, you use less utility resources and get a lower bill. Heat pumps typically cost $.63 per hour to run, which is only a small fraction of the costs for running natural gas or propane. The problem with using heat pumps begins in locations where the outside temperatures get lower than 50 degrees. At under 50 degrees, the surrounding temperature has gotten too cold for a heat pump to effectively heat the pool water. For more info on how heat pumps work, check out this link here.

Choosing A Heat Pump

Swimmers who have decided to use a heat pump to extend their summer should check out this list of best pool heat pumps (https://poolhomeschool.com/best-pool-heat-pump-reviews/). This list compares the best pool heat pumps and analyzes features such as BTU output, heating capacity, and design. It takes a deeper look into the pros and cons of each pump and gives a quick overview of how to get best product for your dollar, based on your individual needs.

Pool Heaters

For a long time, swimming pool heaters have been the most popular choice for heating pools. The most common heaters use propane, natural gas, or electricity to heat the water that goes back into the pool. They are great because they heat your pool quickly in any type of weather and they are easy to install into home lines. They don’t cost much upfront and you can get started heating the pool right away. Some pool owners might opt to purchase a solar powered heater, which can be more expensive than a gas heater depending on the area of solar collectors that are needed.

The problem with using solar power is that these heaters do not offer the heating power that you would get from either a gas heater or even a heat pump. Solar heaters are also heavily dependent on weather conditions. Days with overcast will not yield the same effort as the sunnier days. Also, the collectors have to be facing south with no trees or other blockages, and it could still take days before the solar heater is available to completely raise the temperature level on the pool. This is something that happens within hours with other types of heaters.

How Pool Heaters Work

Even though the majority of pool heaters are less expensive than heat pumps, they can raise your utility bill quite a bit. Depending on which utility source you are using and where your pool is located, the bill can be from $3.00 up to $9.00 per hour to get the pool heated. Here’s a quick comparison of a few different types of heaters:

  • Natural Gas: This type of heater will usually cost less per hour than a propane heater. Highly based on where you live, natural gas is typically about 84% less than the cost of propane gas. This article explains more.
  • Electric: This type of heater is a good choice if natural gas or propane are not an option. You can definitely expect a higher utility cost, but this type of heater is reliable enough to heat a big commercial pool as well as a small residential pool without a problem.
  • Solar Pool Heater: This heater uses the sun’s energy to heat the pool at no cost to the owner. Some of it’s advantages are kits can be purchased and installed by the pool owner, barely any maintenance is needed, and it will last a very long time. Pool owners should note the bigger the pool is the more solar collectors will be needed to heat it.

Choosing A Pool Heater

When you begin to think about how to choose the best pool heater you will need to factor in a few things including your pool size, how often you’ll be heating the pool, temperature goals, pool location, and whether or not your pool will be covered. Understanding all of these factors before hand will help you when it’s time to make a purchase because pool heaters vary in heating capacity. To get the most out of your pool heater, you’ll always want to aim to get a little larger size than the one you need in order to place the least amount of strain on your heater.

Deciding Between A Pool Heat Pump And A Pool Heater

Heat pumps and pool heaters are nice investments for pool owners who often need warmer water to swim in. The main factor when choosing between the two will be the pool owner’s budget, needs, and location. People who live in colder climates and just want a longer pool season would probably aim to get a heater. However, those who live in warmer climates and don’t have to worry about the temperature dropping below 50 degrees would do well with a heat pump. Buying a heat pump is also the best way to save money over time, if you can manage the upfront price.

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