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Different Types of Pool Heating Systems Available

Which Pool Heating System Is Best For Me?

This answer is based on personal preference, types and the cost of the fuel available, swimming pool temperature, the length of the season desired, pool location, wind, cover used etc. Below are some of the most common types of heating methods available to heat swimming pools.


Gas Heaters

Gas Hayward H-Series

Traditionally pool owners have relied on gas heating for years as a simple heating source for their pools and spas. In situations were you have natural gas available it is usually less expensive than propane but most of the time you don’t have a choice and if you must use only propane then you need to be prepared to spend a lot more every month in gas costs. Propane gas heating is an expensive alternative and there is also the regular refueling of your backyard propane tank to keep track of. We have seen some tanks go completely empty after a long cold weekend of pool heating.
The advantage of gas and even oil is that you will be heating up your pool faster than with solar panels or a heat pump. The disadvantage is that they could be very expensive to run and because the heat exchanger is not made out of titanium their life span can be cut short if the PH or chemicals in the pool are not exactly where they should be. We have seen gas heater heat exchangers ruined in a few months with bad PH in the pool and the warranty voided because of the pool chemistry. Also gas heaters can only heat With the intense hot summers that much of the country is experiencing lately a chiller option that only heat pumps can have might be needed as well during to prevent the pool turning into a hot bath tub that won’t refresh you.



Solar Panels

This is one of the most economically way to heat up your pool. You will not be spending a penny on heating (water pump electricity usage still applies) as it’s all free from the sun. Water circulates through a grid of tubes usually on a roof collecting the heat generated by the sun and it is then transferred to the pool. The advantage of this system is that there is almost no cost involved in heating except for the up front equipment investment. The disadvantage is that it will involve perforating your roof many times to secure the panels and will void most roof warranties. Also solar heating is not reliable as you have no control over the output as you are total dependent on the weather and for most locations it will not produce enough heat to extend your swimming season enough for the large investment and will disappoint you especially during the marginal days. They are almost useless if you have an attached spa too. Also in Hurricane States we have seen homes with panels lose their roofs because the wind catches the panels and rips up the roof where homes with no panels kept their roofs and stayed dry preventing water damage and personal loss.



Pool Heat Pump

Hydroroyal Unit Small
This is a newer technology. Swimming pool heat pumps have been built in the USA for the last 3 decades. The idea is that a heat pump will transfer the heat from the air to your swimming pool. On a 60 degree day there is enough heat that can be removed from the air to make your swimming pool reach a temperature in the 80’s if the heat pump is sized properly. There is no heating element, a small amount of electricity is only used to run the electrical components and the compressor. The advantage is that they are very reliable when it comes to getting the pool heating job done. We have them operating successfully from Canada to Norway. Their heat exchanger is made out of titanium; most with a lifetime warranty. Titanium means that nothing in a pool can damage them, giving your unit a life span of an average of 12 to 14 years. (Don’t let water freeze in it though) The cost of operating these units is minimal and they payback the initial investment quickly during the first few years with the savings compared to propane heaters. They are also available as heater/chiller combo with gives you the capacity to cool off your pool during the hottest days of the year. The disadvantage will be that they don’t elevate temperatures very fast. Their initial start up takes 2 or 3 days to get the temperature elevated were you want it to be. After that you don’t need to wait anymore as the heat pump will consistently cycle to maintain your desired temperature.



Hybrid System:


This is when you combine 2 systems together. An example is a gas heater with a heat pump or solar panel system. For us the best option is combining a heat pump with a solar system as a back up. It costs the least amount of money to operate and when the solar system can’t keep up with the pool heating then the heat pump will take over completing the heating cycle. They will work in sync and need to be professionally connected together. Some heat pumps already come with a digital controller that will digitally interact with your solar system to get the most efficiency and savings from the best of both worlds. 


You can also use the form below to receive a free pool heater sizing custom made report. courtesy of Hydro Royal™ swimming pool heat pumps. Your information is confidential and will not be shared with anybody. We will run the results through our pool heater sizing software and personally review them. Reports available in less than 12 hours, typically in less than 2 hours.

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