pool heater vs. heat pump

So you have decided to get an in-ground pool.  When most people choose to get a pool, they already know ahead of time if they want to be able to heat it or not.  Believe it or not, there are some folks that decide to let nature do its thing as far as heating the pool.  Some people just allow the warm weather and sunlight heat the pool.  Others feel that since they spent the money to get the pool, they will want to get the most out of it.  To do that, you will want to install an alternate heat source.  If you live in Indiana, or areas like Indiana where you have really warm days and cool nights, you will soon realize that those cool nights can cause the water temperature in your pool to drop rather quickly.  Therefore, I would recommend utilizing some type of heat source other than the sun to heat your water.  If not, you may find yourself quoting George Castanza, and nobody wants that.

You may be wondering what types of heat sources are available.  The most common are heat pumps, and gas heaters, which can run off of natural gas as well as liquid propane.  There are important differences between the two that you may want to consider before you buy either one.  Below, I will outline the benefits of both to give a better idea of which would work best for you.

Heat Pumps                                                                  Gas Heaters
Initial cost is typically higher                                        Initial cost is typically lower
Over all cheaper to operate                                        Cost of operation can fluctuate with the cost of the gas
Cheaper to install – only requires electrical                  Requires both electrical and gas lines
Slower to heat the water (Could take days to heat)     Heats the water quickly (in a matter of hours)
More electrical components that could fail                  Less electrical components
Require warm ambient temperatures to heat               Low ambient temperatures will not affect the heating
Some models have a built in cooling system                Only able to heat the pool water (Not cool it)
Maintains the desired temperature                              Must be shut off

These are some things that you might want to consider when choosing a heating system for your pool.  Look at every aspect of what you want out of your heating system.  Will you be wanting to swim in the colder months?  Will you be able to afford the higher gas bills each month?  Will you only be using the pool on the weekends and don’t need it to be warm during the week?  Will you be wanting to cool the water?  Looking at these pros and cons of gas heaters and heat pumps, I would be more inclined to get a heat pump for my pool simply due to the lower cost of operation.  I feel as though over time that would make up for the higher cost of the initial installation.  Also, I am not the type of person that would be all that interested in swimming during the colder months of the year, so I would have no need to heat the pool and a heat pump would work fine for me.  As for the fact that it is slower to heat the water, I would not have a problem with that either, because I would not be in a hurry to swim after the water starts heating.  I would also not feel the need to cool the water.  If I wanted to cool the water, I would just turn the heat pump off for a few days and let the cool night time air lower the temperature.  I know that in other areas of the country the temperature doesn’t drop that much over night during the summer, and folks might want to have the ability to cool their pools.  These are things that must be considered.

I know that sometimes people will think that they want the water to heat as fast as possible so they get a gas heater.  Then, suddenly at the end of the month they change their minds when they see there gas bill.  So, it is really up to you as the consumer.  You will have to weigh out the pros and cons and decide what works best for you.  If you have the means and want fast results, then you will want to go with the gas heater.  If you are more like me and are a bit more frugal with your spending and don’t mind waiting for the water to reach the desired temp, then maybe you should get the heat pump.  Both types of heating systems work well and they do exactly what they are supposed to do.  As always, do your research and make sure you understand what you are getting into before you commit.

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