Who says pool season has to exclusively exist during the summer? There are plenty of beautiful, sunny days during the cooler months that make you crave a dip in the pool, but unless you like polar plunges, you’ll need a pool heater. Luckily, there are several options to keep your pool nice and warm, so you can enjoy a swim all year long.

Gas Pool Heater

Gas-fired pool heaters have been, and remain, the most popular heating system for swimming pools. Unlike older models, new gas-fired heaters have advanced on the technological front, however depending on your climate and pool use, these may not be the most energy-efficient option.

How They Work

As your pool pump circulates the pool’s water, water will be drawn from the pool to pass through a filter, then to the heater. Powered either by natural gas or propane, the gas burns in the heater’s combustion chamber, generating heat to warm up the water that’s then returned to the pool.

Gas pool heaters are a great option for efficiently heating pools for short periods of time. Not to mention, they’re ideal for heating a pool quickly and can maintain any desired temperature regardless of the outdoor weather. If don’t plan on heating your pool on a regular basis, a gas pool heater could be for you.

Heat Pump Pool Heater

Unlike gas heaters which generate its own heat, a heat pump uses electricity to capture heat and move it from one place to another.

How They Work

Water is drawn from the pool, passing through a filter and on to the heat pump heater. The heater has a fan that draws in the outside air and directs it over the evaporator coil where liquid refrigerant absorbs the heat from the outside air, turning into a gas. The gas in the coil passes through the compressor, creating a very hot gas that then passes through the condenser where the heat from the gas is transferred to the cooler pool water. The hot gas, as it flows through the condenser coil, returns to liquid form and back to the evaporator, where the whole process begins again.

A heat pump heater is more efficient compared to a gas pool heater, however they can only work well if the outside temperature remains above 45°F – 50°F. Since they rely on the outside air, the colder it is, the more energy they use. So if you want the option of swimming when it’s below 45°F, a heat pump may not be the most cost-effective option.

Solar Pool Heater

For the most energy-efficient and cost-effective option, consider a solar pool heater. With very low annual operating costs, this is a great option for those looking to go green while enjoying a winter-time swim.

First, you should know most solar pool heating systems include the following:

  • Solar Collector: the device through which pool water is circulated to be heated by the sun
  • Filter: responsible for removing debris before water is pumped through the collector
  • Pump: circulates water through the filter and collector and back to the pool
  • Flow Control Valve: automatic or manual device that diverts pool water through the solar collector.

How They Work

Pool water is pumped through the filter and then through the solar collector, where it’s heated before returning to the pool. In hot climates, the collector can also be used to cool the pool during peak summer months by circulating the water through the collector at night.

Solar pool collectors can either be glazed or unglazed. Depending on your climate and how you intend to use your collector, one may be better than the other. Let’s explore.


If you’ll only be using your pool when temperatures are above freezing, then you’ll probably only need an unglazed collector system. Generally made of heavy-duty rubber or plastic treated with an ultraviolet (UV) light inhibitor to extend the life of the panels, unglazed collectors are usually less expensive than glazed collectors.


Glazed collector systems, on the other hand, are generally made of copper tubing on an aluminum plate with an iron-tempered glass covering, which increases their cost. In colder weather, glazed collector systems, with heat exchangers and transfer fluids, capture solar heat more efficiently than unglazed systems. Therefore, they can be used year-round in many climates. Whether you choose glazed or unglazed, it’s wise to seek a system with freeze protection since you’ll be using in the colder months.

There’s nothing better than slipping into a heated pool when the air outside is cool and crisp, but without the right heating system, you better have a wet suit. Make your pool a source of enjoyment all year long by installing a heat system that works for you and your budget. Sunny pool days aren’t just for summer, call Kelly’s Pool Care & Renovation today.


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