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What to look for in a new pool heater

A good quality swimming pool heater not only keeps your pool comfortable during the summertime, but also allows you to start backyard swim season early or extend it into the fall. When you consider how short Canadian pool season can be in many parts of the country, having the ability to extend it can really help you make the most of your investment.

Even if you’ve owned a pool for years, there’s a good chance that you still need to do a bit of research when it comes time to replace your pool’s heater. Your choice of heating method will not only impact how quickly and how well your pool is heated, but also the cost of heating it.

Time to purchase a new swimming pool heater? Here is a look at the available options.

Solar Heaters

Solar heaters cycle filtered pool water through a solar collector to be warmed, and then return it to the pool. The effectiveness of a solar heating system can be further optimized through the use of a solar blanket or pool cover, to help maintain the water’s temperature.

Since you only pay for the initial cost of acquiring the equipment, solar is a natural, cost-effective means of keeping a pool warm. Unfortunately, this type of heater won’t work effectively for every pool on its own.

A solar heater is best for smaller pools that receive a lot of direct sunlight. If your pool is large or resides in a shaded area on the property, solar may not be an effective means of heat.


Electric heaters are fast at getting your pool’s water up to the desired temperature and also very effective at maintaining an even temperature. However, since they work off of your home’s existing electrical system, they can be expensive to operate.

Electric heaters are best suited to portable spas and smaller above ground pools.

Propane and Gas Heaters

Gas and propane heaters are a good option for larger residential swimming pools. They heat the pool quickly, consistently, and are good for colder climates. This in an ideal heating method for households that don’t use their pool on a daily basis or only during a specific time of the year, since the quick heating allows you to warm the water as needed.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are most effective in warmer climates, since they use the heat in the air to heat the water in your pool. They are known for being energy efficient and are good at maintaining a consistent pool temperature.

Combining Systems

Many pool owners use a combination of heaters to reduce heating costs while keeping their pools comfortably heated. Two common combinations are solar with gas heater, and gas heater with heat pump.

The combination of systems allows you to rely on something like solar during the prime summer season, when you’re the solar collectors may receive an optimal amount of solar energy. The same can be said of the heat pump. Then, when warm air or sunlight may not be as plentiful, the gas heater can take over to maintain the pool’s temperature.

Lead image courtesy of Solar Wave

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