The current options for pool and spa heating are more efficient and effective than they were decades ago. And now more than ever, pool and spa owners are not just looking for efficiency, but also they are interested in ways of reducing the costs associated with the heating, reducing carbon emission, and the use of fossil fuels for heating. To this effect, there is a myriad of choices for the pool owners to go for, and all that is required is a good understanding of the preferred system, its specific benefits as well as the cons you would expect out of using it.
Whether you choose to go for solar blankets, a complete solar pool heating systems, or you stick to the traditional electric and gas heaters, you need to be informed before you venture out so that you will be in a good position to make a good choice. In this piece, we look at the most popular pool and spa heating options currently, delving deep into their pros and cons, and why one option may be ideal in certain circumstances.
Electric Pool and Spa Heaters
Electric pool heaters are also known as heat pumps, and they are one of the most popular heating options currently being used. With these kinds of heaters, cold water is brought into a tank where it is then heated to the desired temperature before being released back to the pool in cycles. It means that the heating process will be continuous, and irrespective of the temperature outside, the pool or the spa will remain perfectly heated.
Pros of an electric pool and spa heaters
Here is a brief look at some of the pros and cons of an electric pool and spa heaters-:
Low initial cost
The initial cost of buying and installing an electric heater is lower compared to gas pool heaters. However, in the long run, using electric heaters in your pool and spa may prove to be more expensive compared other options.
One admirable feature about the electric pool and spa heaters is that they are ranked as the most effective heaters currently on the market today. Gas heaters can always be affected by extreme temperatures, while solar heaters rely on the availability of the sun to get the job done. Electric heaters, however, don’t face any of these challenges, and you can use them throughout the year irrespective of what the weather is like.
Electric pool heaters are versatile in the sense that some models have features to allow you to cool the water and this is extremely ideal during extremely hot weathers. This is not possible with gas heaters and will be very difficult to achieve with solar heaters.
Cons of electric heaters
The high cost of operation
Though the cost of purchasing and installing an electric pool heater is relatively low compared to other options, the burden comes in the operational costs. These heaters are most expensive to run when they are needed the most. This is because they work by extracting heat from the air, which is relatively easy during the warm months, but when winter comes calling, there will be no heat in the air to be extracted, and a lot of electricity will have to be used to keep the pool warm.
Takes long to heat the pool
Electric pool and spa heaters usually only heat the water a few degrees every hour, and if you are in a hurry to use the pool, you may have to wait a couple of hours for the temperatures to rise, or you may have to turn on the pump several hours before you take a plunge to the pool. Even if you had the money to spend, it doesn’t make sense to leave the pump overnight so that you can swim midday the following day.
Gas Pool and Spa Heaters
A gas heater is another efficient and economical way you could consider for your spa and pool heating needs. It is ideal for cooler climates and for owners who don’t have the time to wait for many hours for their pools to heat up. Though gas heaters seem to be a favorite for many homeowners, here is a look at their pros and cons so that you are well informed when making your purchase decision.
Pros of the gas pool and spa heaters
Since most homes have access to natural gas lines, gas heaters are a safe and convenient way to solve all your pool and spa heating needs. The natural gas lines normally come in a permanently fixed line and there is always a lot of it available at rates not so high like electricity.
If you desire quick heating, then you will not find a faster pool and spa heater than the gas heaters. Gas burns quickly, and as a result, it also heats up the water faster. If you don’t use your pool on a regular basis, but you need efficiency in heating whenever you want to use it, then you have every reason to consider gas pool heaters over solar and electric heaters.
Easy to maintain
Since gas heaters warm up the pool in a short time, the heaters don’t have to be running for a long time. This will mean that you will have fewer wear and tear problems leading to a few maintenance and repairs.
Though the initial cost of purchasing and installation may be high, the maintenance cost of a gas pool and spa heater is relatively low, owing to the fact that you will be operating it for just a short time.
The high cost of purchase and installation
As alluded to earlier, it is relatively costly to purchase and install gas pool heaters. Other than buying and installing the unit, you may incur additional costs in running an underground pipe to supply gas to the heater’s furnace. The costs will be even higher if the location of the pool is not close to a natural gas line.
Fluctuating fuel prices
The prices of oil and gas keep going up and down all the time, and this will have a direct impact on the cost of heating your pools and spas. For example, you can expect the costs to go up in the colder months since these are also the times when the prices of oil and gas also go up.
Repair and replacement
If the pool water is unbalanced, gas pool heaters will be susceptible to corrosion. Such corrosion are usually costly and this means that you must invest in constant monitoring of your pool water to ensure that it is balanced. This is another associated cost in owning a gas heater.
The bottom line
Whether or not you go for gas or an electric pool and spa heater may be entirely dependent on your unique preferences. However, if you are looking forward to faster pool heating, and you also want to keep the maintenance cost down, then a gas heater would be your best bet. However, don’t be blind to the cons and think that it is the absolute option for every situation. Carefully analyze your needs and choose the heater that will serve you the best.
Another consideration of which heating system to use may be access to the energy source. While every home is capable of heating with electric, gas may not be as easily accessible in some areas. In rural areas where gas companies do not have gas lines a tank may need to be added to use a gas heating system adding to the installation cost as well as being less convenient.
Talk over your options with your local pool builder on which system is best for your application and area. Let’s not forget, there is also the option of using solar pool heating to keep the costs of electric or gas heating minimized.