Gas heaters are the quickest form of heaters to use. They are also the best at heating up a pool and keeping it at the desired temperature even if the air temperature is cold. Obviously the colder it is, the more the heater has to work, and therefore the more gas that is needed. You really have to be in a coldish state to justify the price of a gas heater, and the price of recurring gas.
There are 2 main fuel types for gas heaters, there is natural gas, and also propane. You can even have your heater converted from one type to the other. But don’t try to do this yourself as you could poison everyone with carbon monoxide and also damage your heater if you screw this up.
Heaters have to be installed correctly and that includes everything from using the correct pipes and gas fittings, and making sure you have the correct flow rate and your gas pipes can handled the correct load your heater requires. You also have to make sure you have proper ventilation and also install a carbon monoxide detector close to the heater.
Some heaters can also not be installed on raised surfaces. Heaters power outputs are measured in BTU’s per hour. This is a measurement of the heaters output and it is measured in British Thermal Units. The higher the number the more capacity the heater has to increase your pool waters temperature.
Btu ratings range from 75, 000 to 450, 000 btu. Heaters can also be up to 95% efficient. That means for every $100 that it costs in gas for the heater to use, it will only waste $5. So therefore only $5 of the gas will be lost in the energy production process the heater uses.
Pentair MasterTemp 400 Gas Heater
Energy efficiency has been raised by heaters that use a combustion chamber like the Pentair MasterTemp 400. If you are going to use a gas heater make sure it has a combustion chamber for maximum savings on gas.
Gas heaters are great for quickly heating up your pool, so they are good if you want a quick dip for an hour or 2. Once you are finished you can switch off the heater to save gas. Even though a gas heater maybe up up 95% efficient you still wouldn’t want to run one on a 15-20 000 gallon pool for 8 hours a day.
Whatever way you look at it you are just burning gas, and burning money. So gas heaters are more effective if you want to use the pool whenever you want, and switch it off when you are done. So they are great for quick spells in the pool, and then knocking off again when you are finished.
You can save even more money if you use a pool cover and a solar heater if the weather permits. There is no point in keeping a gas heater running for hours on end if you are not using the pool. When compared to heat pumps that run on electricity and use the outside air temperature, gas heaters will heat up your water about 5 times faster.
A heat pump needs a high outside temperature to work. It has to be above 104 degrees Farenheight. If not the heater will be power up it’s electric coils and use a surge of electricity. The cost of this will be higher than gas bills. But of course if you live in a warm state an electric heat pump will be more effective.
You also need to make sure your heater has the correct components to handle your water supply. If you live near the coast, or even hard water is an issue you need a machine with a CU (cupro nickel) heat exchanger. It is also advised that your heater has a CU exchanger as this protects against chemical damage, and can better hold up to a chlorine leak.
Leading Manufactures Of Gas Heaters
Pentair, Raypak and Hayward are the leading brands when it comes to gas heaters. They are the tried and tested brands and you can read reviews all over supplier’s sites on the internet.
How A Gas Heater Works
Water is fed into the gas heater via an inlet pipe. A heater exchanger burns inside the heater and heats up the water. This water is then fed back onto your pool. Heaters are rated in btu’s which stands for British Thermal Units. Heaters can range from between 75 000 to 450 000. For larger pools you need a heater with a higher btu.
If not you will burn a lot of gas trying to heat up a large pool.
Gas heaters initially cost less than heat pumps, but their operating costs (i.e. the cost of gas for fuel) is higher than that of a heat pump, well unless the ambient air temperature is extremely cold (below 50 degrees F). The bonus of using a gas heater is that it will get the job done irrespective of the climate.
One problem with gas heaters is that they have a lot more parts than a heat pump. You really need to take care of your heater by making sure you set your chlorine mix right and no leakages backsiphon into the heater.
Thankfully today’s heaters can be bought with auto shut off sensors and also they can cope with salt water. But if you do not have the correct chemistry set in your pool you will over time damage your gas heater and it’s components. Replacing the heat exchanger can cost up to $500.
You need to regularly service your heater and also protect it during the winter by draining all the pipes and then using a winter cover to protect it from frost.