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Blog | Gas Fired Pool Heaters vs. Heat Pumps

Gas Heaters:
The most popular way to heat swimming pools historically has been with gas fired heaters. These heaters can be purchased to run on natural gas or propane. Due to changes in heat, exchanger technology and the introduction of Low-nox heaters they are more efficient than they use to be. Although gas heater efficiency has increase over the last 10 to 15 years there still is a great deal of energy wasted when they are used.  Gas fired heating efficiency has increase to around 89% or more with a high quality heater. The efficiency is based on a ratio of usable output to energy used. If your heater is 84% efficient then you are getting .84 cents of heat for every $1.00 spent on energy. So in effect you are burning money into the atmosphere at he rate of .16 cent for every dollar spent.

Heat Pumps: 
A heat pump differs from a gas fired heater in that it is run on electricity vs. fossil fuel and it does not make any heat. It draws heat in from outdoors and moves it to where you want the heat to be. In the case of a pool of course you are moving it into the pool water. Due to the fact that heat pumps use is dependent on the outside temperature being warm and that is when you want to swim they are very efficient to use. Heat pumps are good for use in the spring, summer and fall. The one downside is they will not work at all if the outside temperature is around 48 degrees or below. The reason is there is not of enough heat present for them to work. 

Heat pumps efficiency is measured by Coefficient of Performance (COP). Just like other appliances they can have low or high efficiencies. The range in COP can be from 3.0 to as high as 6.0 the higher the number the better. How these numbers translate is that for every unit of electricity that you use to run the unit you will get 3 to 6 times the units in heat. This means that for every dollar you spend on electricity you get $3.00 to $6.00 dollars in heat. 

Also consider the Heat / Chiller option when purchasing a heat pump. These units can in effect run in reverse and take heat out of the swimming pool and disperse it into the atmosphere. If any of you have ever swam in a pool in August and thought "wow this is not refreshing at all". This is what you need. It can lower the pool water to a more comfortable temperature.

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