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Pool Heaters

Pool Heaters

Whether you have an above ground or inground pool, if your water temperature is keeping you from enjoying it throughout the entire season then you may want to consider installing a pool heater. When purchasing a pool heater there are a number of factors to consider, including the size of your pool, BTUs needed to heat your pool, cost to purchase and operate, energy efficiency and installation.

Having a heated swimming pool not only increases the length of your family's swimming season, it also increases the value of your pool, especially in Canada! With a great selection of gas, electric and solar heaters for every shape and size pool, your sure to find the most effective and efficient heating option for you.

Gas Pool Heaters

The gas heater comes in either natural gas or propane models and is available for both above ground and inground pools. Gas pool heaters come in electronic or millivolt (standing pilot) versions.

Millivolt models are a traditional technology which uses a permanent pilot light which is slightly less efficient than the electronic version, but does not require electrical service. The millivolt style has a constant burning flame pilot which may occasionally need to be re-lit and which can be trying on a windy day.

Electronic versions are like a modern gas boiler and feature electronic spark ignition and micro processor controls, giving you complete control of your pool temperature at the push of a button. An electronic start allows the pool owner to use a push start to light the pilot in much the same way a gas BBQ is lit. Many people enjoy the convenience and reliability of an electronic start heater, not to mention it provides more efficiency than a burning pilot heater. If current trends predict the future, we will see the extinction of millivolt style pool heaters one day.

Low NOx heaters have more advanced technology and produce lower emissions than traditional heaters which make them more efficient to run in terms of heat transfer allowing the pool water to warm more quickly as well as operating in a more environmentally friendly fashion. These types of heaters are becoming increasingly popular as people change over to more environmentally friendly options, which translates into operational savings. Low NOx heaters are equipped to handle oxygen levels at altitudes over 2000 feet, unlike traditional pool heaters.

Pros of Gas Pool Heaters:

  • Produces heat quickly
  • Affordable to purchase
  • Reliable technology that should last about 10 years

Cons of Gas Pool Heaters:

  • More expensive to run depending on the price of propane or gas in your area, which will fluctuate based on a number of factors like season and demand
  • Not as energy efficient or environmentally friendly as other options
  • You'll need a certified gas fitter to install your gas or propane heater

Heat Pumps (Energy Efficient Electric Pool Heaters)

Heat pumps are energy efficient electric pool heaters that work by transferring heat from the surrounding air into the pool water, rather than generating heat themselves. In terms of energy used to heat, they typically are more efficient then a gas powered heater. These units require outside air temperatures above 12 degrees celsius to perform efficiently.

Pros of Heat Pumps:

  • Low running costs
  • Energy efficient
  • Operating savings of 80% compared to propane, and 50 - 70% compared to natural gas
  • Reliable technology that should last up to 20 years

Cons of Heat Pumps:

  • Higher upfront costs
  • Not effective below 50 degrees/10 Celsius
  • You will need a licensed electrician to install your heat pump

Electric Pool Heaters

An electric resistance heater is designed for a small above ground pool or spa. Electric pool heaters create heat in your pool by applying an electrical current to a heating element. The electric heater passes water over the element, heats it, and then moves the warm water through the assembly housing back into the pool until the desired temperature is reached.

Pros of Electric Heaters:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Energy efficient
  • Can be less expensive to operate (depending on your local hydro costs and operating conditions)

Cons of Electric Heaters:

  • Heats slower then gas heaters
  • You will need a licensed electrician to install your electric pool heater

Solar Pool Heaters

Solar heater systems are installed alongside the pool, directly on a fence or on top of a roof. The pool water is pumped through solar collectors which are designed to trap solar energy. The water is heated through the system and returned back to the pool.

Pros of Solar Heaters:

  • No operating costs associated with solar pool heaters
  • Installation is easy and can be done by the home owner
  • The most energy efficient and environmentally friendly pool heater option

Cons of Solar Heaters:

  • Least responsive in terms of heating on demand
  • Dependant on the weather
  • Heats slowly

What Size of Pool Heater Do I Need?

Pool Size Gas Heater Size Heat Pump Size Electric Heater Size
15' Round 100,000 - 150,000 BTU 50,000 - 70,000 BTU 11KW
18' Round 100,000 - 200,000 BTU 50,000 - 70,000 BTU 18KW
21' Round 100,000 - 200,000 BTU 70,000 - 85,000 BTU 18KW
24' Round 150,000 - 250,000 BTU 85,000 - 110,000 BTU 18KW
27' Round 200,000 - 300,000 BTU 110,000 - 140,000 BTU 30KW
30' Round 250,000 - 350,000 BTU 140,000 BTU 30KW
12' x 24' 100,000 - 200,000 BTU 70,000 - 85,000 BTU 18KW
14' x 28' 150,000 - 250,000 BTU 85,000 - 100,000 BTU 24KW
16' x 32' 150,000 - 250,000 BTU 100,000 - 140,000 BTU 24KW
18' x 36' 200,000 - 300,000 BTU 110,000 - 140,000 BTU 24KW
20' x 40' 250,000 - 350,000 BTU 140,000 BTU 24KW

Note: All figures are approximate and based on a constant depth of 48" and a desired temperature increase of 10 degrees. Use only as a guideline, add a solar blanket to your pool for best results.

Installing Your Pool Heater

Pool heaters must be installed by a properly licensed technician because they can be dangerous due to the fuels and electrical parts involved. In the case of propane and natural gas you will require a licensed gas fitter and in the case of an electric heater or heat pump a licensed electrician. In addition the manufactures warranty on the unit will be void if found to be improperly installed by an unqualified service professional.

Where Are Pool Heaters Installed?

Pool heaters can be installed outside or inside of pool sheds and in outdoor enclosures as long as they are correctly vented to allow for necessary air flow around the unit. Each heater on our website has a chart indicating the matching vents which are available for purchase. Never install a heater inside of a residential dwelling unless the unit is specifically designed for residential use indoors. Heat pumps cannot be installed indoors.

Most residential pool heaters are not designed for use in lived in dwellings. Never try to install a pool heater indoors unless it is specifically designed for indoor usage.

Pool Service

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