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Solar Pool Heater versus Gas Pool Heater

Solar Pool Heater versus Gas Pool Heater

Choosing between solar and gas pool heaters can be a challenging decision for pool owners, as each option comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let's explore the key features of both types to help you determine which pool heater best suits your needs.

Solar Pool Heaters

Overview: Solar pool heating has gained popularity as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective option. These systems utilize sunlight to warm the water through roof-mounted solar collectors.


  1. A solar collector, installed on the roof, uses sunlight to heat water.

  2. The collector is connected to a pump and filter.

  3. Pool water circulates through the collector pipes, where it warms through thermal conduction.

  4. The heated water is pumped back into the pool.


  • Environmentally friendly, utilizing renewable solar energy.

  • Low operating and maintenance costs.

  • Highly energy-efficient.

  • Long lifespan of 20-30 years.

  • Maintains a warm and comfortable pool temperature.


  • Initial investment can be expensive.

  • Ineffective in cold weather conditions.

  • Does not work in the evenings when there is no sun

Gas Pool Heaters

Overview: Gas-powered pool heaters offer a more traditional approach, using natural gas or propane to heat copper coils. The heated water is then circulated back into the pool.


  1. Natural gas or propane is burned to heat copper coils.
  2. Pool water passes through the coils, heating up.
  3. The heated water is returned to the pool.


  • Lower initial purchase cost compared to solar systems.
  • Can heat the pool quickly, even on cloudy days.
  • Effective for year-round pool heating above freezing temperatures


  • Not environmentally friendly, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Much higher operating costs compared to solar heaters.
  • Shorter lifespan compared to solar pool heaters (average 5 years)

Choosing the Right Heater for You


  • Environmental Impact: If environmental concerns are a priority, solar heaters are a greener option.
  • Cost: If upfront costs are a significant factor, gas heaters may be more budget friendly.
  • Heating Speed: Gas heaters excel in quickly heating the pool, making them suitable for year-round use.
  • Long-Term Investment: Solar heaters offer lower operating costs and a longer lifespan, making them a wise long-term investment. If your looking for the best ROI then solar pool heating is much better financial decision
  • Location: In locations with poor sunlight or no roof or extra space then a gas heater might be the only option
  • Availability of Gas: In rural locations gas may not be available or the cost to run a gas line may be cost prohibitive. Also, the more to ban gas heating is gaining in popularity and as such gas may not have a viable future in pool heating.

Alternatives: Be sure to also compare a pool heat pump when looking at your options. Heat pump made by Arctic Pool Heat Pumps can both heat and cool your pool and can work down to -20 C.

Conclusion: There's no definitive answer in the solar vs. gas pool heater debate; it depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Solar heating is environmentally friendly and cost-effective, while gas heating provides quick and efficient pool warming, especially in colder climates. Some pool owners may even consider a hybrid approach, combining both solar and gas heaters to enjoy the benefits of both systems based on weather conditions and preferences. Ultimately, the choice is yours, considering your priorities, budget, and desired pool heating experience.


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