Gas pool heaters do not use gasoline to heat your pool. Gas pool heaters may use natural gas or propane. How does a gas pool heater work? Regardless of its fuel source, it brings the gas into a combustion chamber. As the gas burns, heat is produced. Metal tubing that sits against the combustion chamber carries that heat to the water. The heated water is pumped to the pool. A water intake port well away from the discharge point brings in cool water to a filter before being sent on to be heated by the combustion chamber. A mixer brings in air from outside the pump, carrying it to a blower that pushes air into the combustion chamber. After combustion, the air flows out through the exhaust pipe.
One of the greatest benefits of a gas pool heater is how quickly they can heat up a swimming pool. Other benefits include not requiring you to put anything up on your roof or altering your swimming pool cover and letting you heat the pool even if the power is out, assuming you have a generator for the pool pump. Another benefit is the fact you can use them in areas that don’t get a lot of solar energy, can’t get permission from the HOA to put solar collectors on the roof or don’t have the southern exposure that lets you use solar energy for pool heating in the first place. For someone living in Texas or Virginia, a solar pool heater will extend swimming pool season by about two months gas pool heater will add at least that much time while keeping the water comfortable throughout the season.
In contrast, a solar pool heating system would take hours to heat up the water, leaving you unable to use the pool in the morning on all but the hottest days. Another reason to buy a gas powered pool heater is that they can maintain the pool at the same temperature regardless of air temperatures and weather conditions; in contrast, solar pool heaters can’t warm up the pool well if the weather is overcast.
Modern gas pool heaters are much more efficient than their predecessors. When shopping for a gas pool heater, you should compare their size and efficiency. Smaller units cost less but then take longer to heat up a pool. Larger units can heat up a pool faster but cost more. The higher the BTU rating, the faster it will heat up your pool.
You also pay more for more efficient units the same way you pay more for more efficient air conditioners. On the flip side, the benefit of a more efficient unit is that it doesn’t have to run as long or as hard in order to heat up your pool, so it is less likely to break down and probably going to last longer. More efficient and larger units overall will be necessary to heat up a pool in freezing climates; a small, inefficient unit won’t be able to do more than warm a pool on a summer morning.
Before you can install a gas powered pool heater, you have to have a gas connection to the home and a pipe installed to take gas to the pool heater. The economics of gas pool heaters depend in part on gas prices, which is why gas pool heaters tend to be installed in spas, indoor pools and small pools, not large pools exposed to the open air.