How to Choose an Effective Pool Heater

Unless you live in an area where the mercury constantly hovers around 90°, you will likely find the water in your pool a tad on the cool side when you jump in. If you want to keep your temperature steady at a degree of your choosing, you need a pool heater. There are plenty to choose from so keep the following in mind when heading out to the pool supply store:

Pool size

The first step is to calculate the surface area of your pool. This way you will not be purchasing one that is too small. If the heater is too small it will not effectively warm the water to your desired temperature. You will not have to worry about choosing one that is too large; the bigger the heater, the quicker it will raise the water temperature and it will need to run less. Here is a handy chart to help you out:

Pool Size

Gas Heater Size Heat Pump Size
15′ Round 100,000 – 130,000 BTU 50,000 – 70,000 BTU
18′ Round 100,000 – 130,000 BTU 50,000 – 70,000 BTU
21′ Round 100,000 – 130,000 BTU 50,000 – 85,000 BTU
24′ Round 100,0u00 – 150,000 BTU 50,000 – 110,000 BTU
27′ Round 175,000 – 250,000 BTU 100,000 – 120,000 BTU
30′ Round 250,000 – 300,000 BTU 110,000 – 140,000 BTU
12′ x 24′ 100,000 – 150,000 BTU 70,000 – 85,000 BTU
14′ x 28′ 150,000 – 200,000 BTU 70,000 – 85,000 BTU
16′ x 32′ 200,000 – 250,000 BTU 110,000 – 120,000 BTU
18′ x 36′ 250,000 – 300,000 BTU 110,000 – 120,000 BTU
20′ x 40′ 300,000 – 400,000 BTU 120,000 – 140,000 BTU

Heater types

  • Propane: Propane is one of the fastest sources of quick heat. They are extremely reliable and are relatively inexpensive to buy. The downfall to propane is that it is less environmentally friendly than other options, and there is a significant cost to having them installed.
  • Electric: This type of heater is generally used in smaller pools. Once plugged in, the electric current heats a resistor which then raises the water temperature. They are cheap to buy and are environmentally friendly, but they will dramatically raise your electric bill.
  • Natural Gas: Along with costing less than other models, natural gas quickly heats the water in your pool. The downside is the air pollutants they emit, recently making them a less popular choice among buyers.
  • Heat Pumps: Heat pumps are gaining in popularity. They work on the same principle as an air conditioner, only in reverse. They are very environmentally friendly but the purchase price is on the high end of the scale. Operating costs are relatively low but it takes longer to get up to your desired temperature and they may not work effectively on cloudy days.
  • Solar: Once installed there are zero operating costs to solar heaters. While they may be expensive to purchase, their longevity makes the price more than fair. As with heat pumps, they can be slower to heat pool water and do not work well when it is cloudy.

If you are still unsure, talk to the experts at your local pool store. They will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Happy swimming!

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