If you're installing a pool and trying to decide between a heat pump and a gas heater, or if you’re looking at upgrading, replacing or installing a new heater for your pool, there are important points to consider.
Consider the cost as three separate points:
- Initial expense: what does the heater cost to buy “off the shelf”? Though the size of the pool heater has an impact on the price, gas heaters are typically cheaper than their electric-powered heat pump counterparts.
- Monthly charges: what is the ongoing cost of running the heater? While the amount of energy required to heat your pool to the standard 78° varies with your location and the weather, according to energy.gov, a heat pump will cost less to run each month than a gas-powered heater.
- Maintenance costs: maintenance costs for either type of pool heater are much the same – the only real advantage for either type of heater being that a heat pump is easier to service yourself.
One of the biggest differentiating factors between gas in-ground pool heaters and heat pumps is that a heat pump can effectively generate more power than it consumes. There's an obvious advantage to having a gas-powered heater in colder climates, where a heat pump would have to work much harder to boost the temperature of the water. A gas heater is great for pools that are used less often, because it can heat up the pool quickly and doesn’t need to run for a long time to be efficient. While solar pool heaters are the most environmentally friendly, they are also the least flexible – relying on ambient temperature and sunlight to provide adequate heat.
With professional installation and proper pool maintenance, gas-powered in-ground heaters will typically last for at least five years. A heat pump will last a decade or more. Some of the keys to maximizing the lifespan of your in-ground pool's heater are:
- Appropriate sizing: a heater that's correctly sized for your pool functions more efficiently
- Regular maintenance: follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to extend the life of your heater
- Installing a cover: a cover can provide insulation, keeping your heater from working overtime in the cooler months
If you're curious to learn more about the different heaters, reach out to Latham Pool's team of experts today. We have five-plus decades of experience helping people realize their vision for a backyard pool, and we’re happy to help you create the most efficient pool possible.