Gas vs Electric Pool Heater

Gas vs Electric Pool Heater

When it comes to keeping your pool water comfortably warm for an enjoyable swimming experience, you have two popular options: gas pool heaters and electric pool heaters. Choosing the right one can impact your pool heating efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In this blog, we will compare gas pool heaters and electric pool heaters to help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs. So, let’s dive in!

How Gas Pool Heaters Work:

Gas pool heaters are commonly powered by either natural gas or propane. They burn the fuel to generate heat, which is transferred to the pool water through a heat exchanger. This process allows gas heaters to rapidly raise the water temperature, making them ideal for pools that need quick heating, especially in colder climates.

Pros of Gas Pool Heaters:

  • Rapid heating: Gas heaters can quickly raise the pool temperature, providing instant comfort for swimmers, even on chilly days.
  • Cost-effective for large pools: Gas heaters are often more affordable than electric heaters for heating larger pools or spas.
  • Reliable in colder climates: Gas heaters perform efficiently in colder regions where electric heaters may struggle to maintain desired temperatures.

Cons of Gas Pool Heaters:

  • Higher operating costs: Gas heaters can be more expensive due to the ongoing fuel cost, especially if gas prices are high in your area.
  • Environmental impact: Gas heaters emit greenhouse gases, contributing to environmental pollution and global warming.
  • Regular maintenance: Gas heaters require periodic maintenance to ensure safe and efficient operation.

How Electric Pool Heaters Work:

As the name suggests, electric pool heaters rely on electricity to generate heat. They use electric currents to warm up the water passing through them, maintaining a consistent temperature for prolonged periods. Electric pool heaters are often preferred for smaller pools or spas.

Pros of Electric Pool Heaters:

  • Energy efficiency: Electric heaters are generally more energy-efficient than gas heaters, potentially lowering operating costs.
  • Environmentally friendly: Electric heaters produce zero emissions at the point of use, making them a greener option than gas heaters.
  • Low upfront cost: Electric pool heaters are often more affordable to purchase and install than gas heaters.

Cons of Electric Pool Heaters:

  • Slower heating: Electric heaters may take longer to heat the pool water, which can be a drawback if you need quick warmth.
  • Limited efficiency in cold climates: Electric heaters might need help maintaining desired water temperatures in colder regions, leading to increased energy consumption.
  • Higher long-term costs: Electric heaters have lower upfront costs, but their long-term operational expenses might surpass those of gas heaters.

Factors to Consider When Choosing:

Pool Size and Usage:

Consider the size of your pool and how frequently you use it. Gas pool heaters might be more suitable for larger pools or pools that require frequent heating due to their faster heating capability. Conversely, electric pool heaters could be a cost-effective choice if you have a smaller pool and don’t need rapid heating.


Your local Climate plays a crucial role in determining the effectiveness of the pool heater. In colder climates, gas heaters are generally better at providing the required warmth, while electric heaters may struggle to maintain optimal temperatures.

Operating Costs:

Evaluate the long-term operating costs associated with each type of heater. Gas heaters tend to have higher ongoing expenses due to fuel costs, whereas electric heaters can be more energy-efficient, resulting in lower monthly bills.

Environmental Impact:

If environmental concerns are important to you, electric pool heaters are the more eco-friendly, as they produce no direct emissions. Gas heaters, on the other hand, release greenhouse gases during operation.

Upfront Investment:

Consider your budget for the initial investment. Electric pool heaters are generally cheaper to purchase and install, making them a more affordable option if you have budget constraints.

Maintenance and Safety:

Both gas and electric pool heaters require regular maintenance to ensure their safety and longevity. Gas heaters need periodic checks for gas leaks and carbon monoxide emissions, while electric heaters should be inspected for proper electrical connections and heating element functioning.

Gas Pool Heaters: A Closer Look

Efficiency and Heating Speed:

Gas pool heaters are known for their quick heating capabilities, making them ideal for pool owners who want to enjoy their pools on short notice or during colder months. The combustion process of gas heaters allows them to produce higher BTUs (British Thermal Units) than electric heaters, resulting in faster heating times. If you frequently host pool parties or have spontaneous swimming plans, a gas pool heater may be better.

Operational Costs:

While gas heaters excel in heating speed, their operational costs can be higher than electric pool heaters. The fluctuating natural gas or propane prices can impact your monthly expenses, especially during peak usage periods or price surges. Additionally, gas heaters require a constant supply of fuel, which can contribute to more frequent refills and increased maintenance costs.

Environmental Considerations:

One significant downside of gas pool heaters is their environmental impact. The combustion of natural gas or propane releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming and air pollution. If sustainability and environmental consciousness are crucial factors, you should explore alternative options.

Electric Pool Heaters: A Closer Look

Energy Efficiency:

Electric pool heaters are lauded for energy efficiency, lowering operational costs. They use electricity to directly generate heat, with almost no energy loss during heating. This efficiency can lead to considerable savings on your utility bills, especially if you live in areas where electricity is relatively inexpensive.

Ideal for Smaller Pools:

Electric pool heaters are particularly well-suited for smaller pools or spas. Their slower heating speed may be fine if you have a smaller water volume to warm up. Additionally, these heaters maintain a consistent temperature once the desired warmth is achieved, ensuring a comfortable swimming experience for extended periods.

Limitations in Cold Climates:

Electric pool heaters may face challenges in colder climates, where maintaining a comfortable pool temperature can be more demanding. Electric heaters may struggle to provide sufficient warmth as the outside temperature drops, leading to higher energy consumption. If you live in an area with harsh winters, consider alternative heating solutions or combine an electric pool heater with a pool cover to retain heat.

Combining Solar Heating with Electric Heaters

Combining a solar heating system with an electric pool heater can be an excellent choice for environmentally-conscious pool owners seeking a greener solution. Solar heating harnesses the sun’s energy to warm the pool water, significantly reducing reliance on electric or gas pool heaters. While solar heating alone may not be sufficient in colder climates or during overcast days, combining it with an electric pool heater can ensure a consistent and energy-efficient heating solution.

In conclusion, choosing between gas pool heaters and electric pool heaters requires careful consideration of various factors. Gas heaters offer rapid heating and are better suited for larger pools and colder climates. However, they come with higher operational costs and contribute to environmental pollution. On the other hand, electric pool heaters are energy-efficient, eco-friendly, and more cost-effective upfront, making them an attractive option for smaller pools and warmer regions.

When deciding on the best pool heater for your needs, assess your pool’s size, usage patterns, and local Climate. Consider your budget, environmental preferences, and willingness to compromise on heating speed. If sustainability is vital to you, explore the possibility of combining solar heating with an electric pool heater.

Ultimately, making an informed decision will ensure you select a pool heater that aligns with your unique requirements and brings countless hours of warm and enjoyable swimming experiences for you and your loved ones. Happy swimming!

Published: August 7, 2023
Author: Gas Service Center
Categories : Uncategorized