How to Choose the Right Heater or Heat Pump for Your Swimming Pool

There are a few different methods for heating your swimming pool. And the most popular of those methods here in Miami are the use of an Electric Heat Pump or a Gas Heater. Both of these methods come with different advantages such as price, cost of operation, heating speed and environmental cleanliness and both of these methods offer a great way to extend your swimming season and take full advantage of your pool year round.

What is the best type of heater for your pool?

Hayward HeatPro 140K BTU Electric Swimming Pool Heat Pump
Hayward HeatPro 140K BTU Heat Pump

Electric Swimming Pool Heat Pumps

With a lower operating cost and no exhaust emissions compared to natural gas and propane heaters, heat pumps are the most common choice for homeowners in Miami and South Florida looking to control their pool’s water temperature. Heat pumps are easier to install and do a great job at maintaining your pool’s temperature in an energy efficient fashion. They also cost less to operate than a gas heater and have a longer life span. Installed and operated correctly, a quality heat pump will last between 12 and 20 years.

When it comes to price, the upfront cost of a new heat pump is greater than a gas heater, running between $2,500 and $4,500. Heat pumps are also slower to heat your pool water than gas heaters. A properly sized heat pump will typically heat a pool by 10ºF in about twelve hours and can heat up a spa up to 20ºF in forty-five to sixty minutes. 

Pentair Mastertemp 140K BTU Natural Gas Swimming Pool Heater
Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU Natural Gas Heater

Natural and Propane Gas Pool Heaters

Natural and Propane Heaters are less common in South Florida, but tend to be the popular choice among pool owners whose homes already receive natural gas to their homes. Many times a natural gas line is already installed near the pool equipment pad or there is a propane tank already located on the property. One of the best benefits to having a gas heater installed in your pool is how fast and efficiently it can heat your water. The upfront cost of a gas heater is also less, at around $2,000 to $2,800.

There are a few cons to gas heaters. Gas pool heaters tend to have a much shorter lifespan than heat pumps, the typical lifespan being 7 to 10 years . Installation of gas heaters are also more complicated, sometimes even requiring the assistance of a gas company. This in turn will cost you more in installation costs if you need a certified natural gas technician to install the line. The amount of gas that these heaters consume can also be significant depending how often you use it. This can really rack up your gas bill and make the operation and carbon footprint of the heater much greater than a heat pump. Propane gas heaters can also be a hassle as they require a large propane tank on your property.

How to choose the right size heater or heat pump

Pool heaters are measured by BTU, British Thermal Unit. Each BTU is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Below is a chart outlining the recommended BTU based on the pool size.
  How to choose the right size swimming pool heater or heat pump based on size and BTU
As a general rule, you want to oversize your heater or heat pump to ensure that it will heat your water efficiently and in a timely manner. For pools with a jacuzzi attached, I always recommend going for the 400K BTU heater or 140K BTU heat pump . This way you can heat up your spa from 80º F to 102º F in less than an hour.
Swimming pool heaters and swimming pool heat pumps from Pentair, Hayward, Jandy, Rheem, and Raypak
Some great brands that you want to look for when looking for a pool heater or heat pump are Hayward, Pentair, Jandy, Rheem and Raypak. Choosing the right one for you depends on several factors, including: budget, physical space available, warranty preference, and efficiency. Some heat pumps, like the Hayward Heatpro, actually run quieter then some others. Other brands offer the ability to cool your water as well as heat it.

Like your swimming pool, buying a pool heater or heat pump can also be a big investment. That’s why it’s important to gain as much knowledge as possible before taking the leap. If you have any questions, feel free to send us an email at

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