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did someone say chiller?

Most larger heat pumps have a chiller feature option available, this is possible from the manufacturer installing an additional valve inside that reverses the freon.

heat pump cons

  • Requires electricity (220V outlet).
  • Doesn’t work as well in colder temperatures.
  • Cost more to buy up front.
  • Heats the pool water slowly.

solar pros

  • Good for heating a pool in our warm climate.
  • Eco-Friendly: No air pollution.
  • Higher energy savings.
  • Uses a free source of energy. Cheap to operate.
  • Lasts about 15 to 20 years.

heat pump -vs- gas -vs- solar

We found this great video discussing the 3.

heat pump

Water from your pool passes through your heat pump, just like a gas or solar heater. The heat is created by a fan that takes the outside air and directs it over an evaporator coil. There is liquid refrigerant inside the coil that absorbs the heat from the air and turns into a gas.

The warm gas heads over to a compressor which increases the heat, then make its way through a condenser. The condenser is what takes that hot gas and adds it to your pool water.

As the hot gas passes back through the condenser, it transforms back into a liquid and heads back to the evaporator to start the whole process again. Pretty cool, eh?

gas heater

Gas pool heaters use natural gas or propane. Water passes through while a combustion chamber burns and warms the water before returning to the pool. In other words, the water passes through a burning hot tube then back to your pool.

gas heat pros

  • Heats the water fast and in any outside temperature.
  • Low emissions.
  • Cheaper up front to buy.

solar cons

  • You need to have a lot of direct sunlight. Otherwise, you’ll need a backup gas heater or heat pump.
  • Costs a lot up front. Repayment can take years.
  • Only works when the sun is out and it heats the water very slowly.
  • Takes up a lot of room on your roof and doesn’t look all that attractive.

solar heater

Solar pool heaters work by pumping the water from your swimming pool to your filter, and partially diverting it through a group of solar collectors that warms the water before it goes back into the pool.

heat pump pros

  • Eco-friendly: renewable energy source.
  • No emissions.
  • A good alternative in areas that won’t work well with a solar heater.
  • Cheap to run.
  • 20-Year Lifespan.

gas heat cons

  • Uses gas.
  • Costs a lot to operate.
  • Might have an ugly propane tank in your yard if you don’t have Natural Gas.
  • Not Eco-friendly.
  • Short lifespan (about 5 years on average).

millivolt or electronic ignition

Millivolt means you have a small amount of gas that keeps a pilot light lit so that it’s always available to fire up while an electronic ignition lights the burners with a spark just like a gas grill.

We recommend going with an electric ignition so you don’t risk a gas leak and you end up using less fuel.


natural gas or propane

The type of fuel you use will depend on the availability and the price of fuel in your area. The good news is both types of heaters are the same price.

If your home has Natural Gas you can also use it to heat your pool. If you don’t, you will have to buy a large, ugly propane tank and install in your backyard, which will need to be filled up regularly. On the other hand, propane is 2 1/2 times more expensive than natural gas, depending on supply and demand.


There are 3 different types of pool heaters, Heat Pumps, Gas, and Solar.  Pool heaters are sized using BTUs, which stands for British thermal unit. A BTU is the measured amount of heat created by a pool heater. Outputs range from 75,000 Btu to 500,000 Btu.