Before installing a swimming pool, you will need to decide which type of heater it will use. There are four basic types of pool heaters: solar, electric element, electric heat pump, and gas.

There are several considerations for selecting which heater is best for your needs and this information can help you choose the best one for your pool.

Solar Pool Heaters

If operating costs are one of your major concerns, then a solar heater is a good option for you. A solar pool heater works by circulating water through a collector, which is most often located on the roof of the house so it is fully exposed to the sun. When the water is cooler than the set temperature, it is automatically circulated through the collector to be heated.

After the installation, the only costs associated with a solar heater are a boost pump, which is usually recommended. Your pool’s temperature will be consistent in the summer and then more variable in the late spring and in the early part of the fall. Taking advantage of the sun’s energy allows your pool to be heated at virtually no cost.

Electric Element

Pool heaters with an electric element are a good low-cost option if you are concerned about the initial costs, but they are usually more expensive to operate than other types of pool heaters such as gas or solar heaters. An electric element heater is a direct heat transfer system in which the submerged element heats the water. Electric element heaters are small in size and ideal for use where a gas supply isn’t available and a heat pump cannot be used.

Electric Heat Pumps

An electric heat pump is another good choice if you need pool heating with low operational costs. The heat pump, often called a solar heat pump, removes the heat from the air and uses it to warm the water in your pool. This type of heater is best for people who want to be able to enjoy swimming all year long. They are also ideal for people who live in areas where there is off-peak or time-of-use electricity pricing since they are so energy efficient.

Gas Pool Heaters

The fourth option is a gas heater for your pool. This is a popular choice for both pools and spas because a gas heater offers a quicker heating ability than other types of heaters. In addition to being able to heat a pool quickly, they can usually heat cold water in a pool in as little as one day. The costs associated with gas heating are usually low because it is easier to maintain a consistent water temperature. A gas heater can be used in combination with a solar heater if you want to swim at night or during the cooler months of the year.

If you are installing a spa at your home, this same information can help you select a heater for it. Consider how much you will use your pool during the cooler months before choosing a heater.