Pros and Cons of Electric Pool Heaters

pool temperature

You are thinking of getting an electric pool heater, also known as a heat pump, so you can enjoy the cooler months. Well I can’t blame you and many other pool owners for wanting their pool water to be warmer. Electric pool pumps bring water into a heating tank, then the pump circulates the warm water back into the pool water. This constant circulation of cold and warm water keep your pool at a comfortable temperature, even if the weather is cold.

Advantages of Electric Pool Heaters

Initial Cost. Electric pool pumps are much less expensive than a gas heater or solar heater, when it comes to the unit and installation cost. The ongoing cost of a electric pool heater will cost more than other heating options, so it may be smart to monitor the usage of the electric heater to save money.

Reliability. The most reliable pool heater you can have is a electric heater. Other options include solar heaters which are dependent on the amount of sun they receive and gas heaters can be affected by extreme weather. Electric heat pumps remain consistent year-around, no matter the conditions.

Versatility. Most electric heat pumps allow you to also cool down the water, which can be a valuable feature during the hot days, where the sun often heats the pool past your desired temperature.

Disadvantages of Electric Pool Heaters

Operation Costs. Some manufacturer’s may advertise the “dollar a day” cost to heat your pool, don’t be fooled as they usually state in their fine print that temperatures at that cost are not nearly warm enough for most people. So $1 to run a heat pump for a day might seem like a great cost, but that could easily be the cost for one hour during the cold season. This is because the electric pumps take heat from the air, when it’s extremely cold, there isn’t a lot of heat for the pumps to find. When it comes to using any type of heaters during the winter, the electric heaters cost the most to run.

Efficiency. Electric heaters can take up to several hours to heat up your pool and usually is only capable of heating up your pool water by a few degrees per hour. If you only run it during the day, it will have to reheat the water back to the temperature it was the previous day. If you want your pool to stay at a constant temperature, you will have to be willing to have your electric heater run overnight, which most of the time will not make sense due to the increased cost.

What Size Pool Heater Do I Need?

When you are looking to get an electric heat pump for your swimming pool, you will need to consider several factors. You will need to match the heater BTU output to the size of your swimming pool in gallons. The more BTU the pool heater has, the faster it will warm up your pool water.

Pool heaters with less BTU will be slower when heating the pool and will have to work much harder, which will result in higher operational costs. If you pool is an area that experiences seasonality, or you don’t have a pool cover, consider getting an oversize pool heater.

Another thing you will have to consider whether you have an above-ground or in-ground pool is the size of the heater. Above ground heat pumps will be in the 50-75K BTU range, while in-ground heat pumps will be in the 100-150K BTU range.

Are Electric Heaters Better Than Gas Heaters?

Both gas and electric swimming pool heaters are effective tools to warm the water in your pool. The main difference between the two is how they run. The gas heaters run on gas and the electric heaters use electricity.

Gas pool heaters either use gas or propane, depending on the type of gas heater. The gas heaters that runs off natural gas have to be hooked up to a gas line, meanwhile a gas heater that runs off propane requires propane tanks. These are great for heating up the water quickly. Gas heaters can require an upfront cost between $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the model and size.

In comparison, electric pool heaters are better for longer use. They can keep the pool at a constant temperature between 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, as long as the outside temperature is above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the downside of electric pool pumps is the length of time is takes to heat up the pool water compared to gas pool heaters. Electric heaters typically run anywhere from $2,500 to $4,500, depending on the model and size. On the upside, they cost much less to operate than gas heaters and are more environment friendly.

How Much Electricity Does a Pool Heater Use?

A 100,000 BTU electric pool heater uses around 5,000 watts or 5 kilowatts per hour. The national average for Electricity runs $.13 cents per kilowatt hour. Electricity can vary widely state by state so checkout this website that keeps the Electricity Cost for all 50 States updated. With our example, 1 hour on a electric pool heater would cost $.65 cents. 

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