Swimming pool heaters are essential if you want to use your pool after the sun has set or if you want to enjoy a longer swimming season. There are many different types and models of pool heaters available to choose from and it’s important to have one that meets all of your needs. While the many available choices and the number of considerations that need to be taken into account may seem overwhelming when purchasing a pool heater, it doesn’t have to be that way. Simply by determining the answers to a few questions before you start shopping, you can greatly narrow down what you’re looking for and make your choice much easier.
Whether you’re in the market for a heater for an above ground swimming pool or an in-ground swimming pool, you will have a number of different types of heaters to choose from. To begin with, different models of pool heaters are powered by different energy sources. For example, swimming pool heaters can be powered by electricity, natural gas, propane or solar energy. The power source that will be right for you will depend upon what is available in your area as well as your preferences with respect to operation, efficiency, cost and environmental impact.
The specifications for swimming pool heaters will typically use BTUs, or British Thermal Units, to express the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of your pool by one degree Fahrenheit. Most models of pool heaters will fall somewhere in the range of 75,000 BTUs to 400,000 BTUs. The higher the BTU rating, the faster the unit will heat the pool water. Therefore, it’s not surprising that higher BTU ratings also come at a higher cost. The speed that you need your heater to warm up your pool at will depend upon your pool usage. For example, if you only want to heat your pool for weekend use, you might want faster results. However, if you are keeping your pool at a constant temperature throughout the swimming season, you might not mind if it takes a few days to raise the temperature of your pool at the beginning of the season.
In addition to considering the amount of energy required by a certain pool heater to raise the water temperature of your pool, it’s also important to consider efficiency. Fortunately, swimming pool heaters are given an efficiency rating so this factor is typically easy to determine. While most electric and gas heating units feature an efficiency rating of 80% to 83%, it’s possible to find models with a rating as high as 95%. Naturally, heaters with a higher efficiency rating require less energy to operate and therefore will also cost you less money to operate.
As a result of modern-day energy costs, electric heaters are generally the most expensive type of pool heater to operate. Propane heaters are next in line while heaters powered by natural gas tend to cost approximately half as much to operate as propane heaters. Solar heaters, on the other hand, are very inexpensive to run and are extremely efficient as they are powered by sunlight. In fact, solar swimming pool heaters involve extremely low or even zero energy costs. While solar pool heaters depend on sunny weather to heat pool water, they are a great option for regions that receive plenty of sunshine.
Another consideration to keep in mind when shopping for a new pool heater is the durability of the models that you’re looking at. Since your heater will be outdoors, it’s important to make sure that the model you choose is designed to withstand harsh weather and UV radiation. Many high quality units will come with weather resistant housing which protects the internal components of the heater and extends the lifespan of the unit significantly.
Some people like the peace of mind that often comes with purchasing products from trusted manufacturers with a long history of providing top-quality, long-lasting products. In the swimming pool equipment industry, there are several manufactures and brands that have been around for many years and that have a reputation for producing durable and high-performing pool heaters. If you’d like to go with a trusted brand name, you can either rely on word-of-mouth from other pool owners or conduct some simple research online to determine which manufacturers have the best reputation.
When considering the purchase of a new pool heater, you will also have to figure out the size of heater that your pool requires. This will depend upon the surface area of your pool and the thermal efficiency that you want. Pool equipment retailers will often provide equations or sizing charts that will allow you to easily determine the size you need. Last but not least, you will need to consider how much you are willing and able to spend so you can determine which swimming pool heaters will fit your budget.