While there are a number of options on the market, gas pool heaters reign supreme when it comes to rapid pool heating. But that isn’t all they have to offer. Purchasing a pool heater requires a significant investment, so you’ll want to make sure you pick the right one. If you aren’t quite sure if a gas heater is a right choice for you, we’ve outlined the basics to help make your decision-making process a little bit easier.
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How Do Gas Pool Heaters Work?
Contrary to popular belief, a gas swimming pool heater doesn’t actually use gasoline to heat your pool. They use either propane or natural gas. Both fuel sources utilize the same basic operational components: a pool pump, a combustion chamber, and metal tubing. As the pool pump circulates the pool water, it is drawn from the pool into the filter and then passes through the heater. The fuel source (propane or natural gas) creates heat as it is burned in the heater’s combustion chamber. Generally, metal tubing will sit against the combustion chamber, which warms the pool water as it is pumped through the system. After its warmed, the water flows back into the pool, and any exhaust created in the combustion chamber is able to escape through the flue.
Although most gas pool heaters work in a similar way, not all of them will be suited for every pool. You should make your selection based on a number of factors, including pool surface area, the average difference between air and pool temperature, wind exposure, humidity, and evening temperatures. For instance, if your pool is in a location with low humidity, high wind exposure, and cool nights, you’ll likely require a larger heater than the same pool in a different area.
Swimming pool heaters are sized according to their British Thermal Unit (BTU) per hour. To put this into context, one BTU raises one pound of water by 1°F. By this same calculation, 8.43 BTUs increase the water temperature of one gallon of water by 1°F. Gas pool heaters with higher BTU ratings will heat up your pool faster than those with lower ratings. Although heaters with lower BTU ratings are less expensive, selecting an undersized heater will end up costing you more in operating costs. So it’s very important to select the proper size.
While we always recommend enlisting the help of a professional to perform a sizing analysis, it is possible to do it yourself. First, you’ll need to determine your desired pool temperature and the average temperature for the coldest month of pool use. Then, to calculate the required temperature rise you’ll need to subtract the average temperature on the coldest month from your desired pool temperature. You’ll also need to determine the surface area of your pool.
Once you have these figures you can calculate the required BTU(British Thermal Unit)/hour for your pool heater using the following formula: Pool Area x Temperature Rise x 12.
The Benefits of a Gas Swimming Pool Heater
Without a doubt, the biggest advantage of installing a gas pool heater is how quickly it can heat your pool. While other heaters can take as long as a day to increase pool temperatures by a mere three degrees, gas heaters can perform the same task in one hour. Once your desired pool temperature is reached, gas pool heaters will also maintain it, regardless of weather conditions, as they operate independently of the air temperature.
Gas pool heaters provide the most benefit when air temperatures are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means they can extend your swim season beyond other pool heaters on the market. Another major benefit is their affordability, as they tend to cost less than many other types of pool heaters. So, if you’re looking for on-demand heat without the massive price tag, gas just might be the right choice for you.
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How Much Do Gas Pool Heaters Cost?
The average gas pool heater can cost anywhere from $1200 to $3500, plus installation fees. As with any pool heater, it’s important to consider operating costs in addition to your initial investment. An average 400,000 BTU heater will burn four gallons of propane per hour, which will cost between $18.00 and $20.00 depending on fluctuating prices. In comparison, the average natural gas pool heater will cost around $7.00 per hour of operation. When considering these costs, it’s important to keep in mind how quickly gas pool heaters will heat your pool. Although running other heaters may cost less per hour, you’ll likely have to run them for longer periods of time.
Choose the Right Heater For You
If you’ve decided that a gas pool heater is for you, the next step is to pick the best brand and model for your pool. While there are a number of excellent choices on the market, we stand behind the following choices:
Hayward Universal H-Series Gas Pool Heater
This affordable heater boasts an 83% thermal efficiency rating and low NOx emissions, making it both efficient and environmentally friendly. Plus, its revolutionary heating technology and hydraulic design quickly and efficiently heat your pool while minimizing pump run time. The Hayward Universal H-Series model is also resistant to corrosion, which makes it suitable for both saltwater and chlorinated systems. It’s an easy-to-use, reliable gas pump for homeowners with smaller pools.
Pentair MasterTemp Low Gas Heater
The Pentair MasterTemp Low Gas Heater is eco-friendly without compromising on performance. In fact, it is best in its class for energy efficiency, reliability, and convenience. It holds a certification for low NOx emissions and outperforms industry standards. It is capable of heating your pool extremely fast. Plus, its compact design, easy-to-read controls, pre-set temperatures, and quiet operation mean it won’t interfere with your poolside relaxation.
Let Us Take Care of You
When it comes to optimizing the efficiency of your gas pool heater, proper installation and maintenance are key. At GPS Pools, we take pride in every single installation and repair that we do. Every technician we work with is up to date on the latest technologies and you can relax knowing that your pool is in the hands of industry experts. Call us at one of our locations in New Tampa, Lutz, or Land O’ Lakes, and let us help take the guesswork out of selecting and installing the best option with our pool heating services.