pool and spa heating - what are the different types?

Solar vs Gas Heater vs Heat Pumps. Which is best for heating a pool or a spa? Hint: Gas is fastest.

Solar Pool Heating

Pros:  Relatively low-maintenance when new. Often comes with the cost of a pool

Cons: Solar companies don't give true outputs of heating capacity. When they leak, can cause damage to guttering or more. Birds can damage it. Output cannot be controlled. 

Very efficient mild heating. Comes with many benefits, until it leaks! Spas are too small to heat with solar matting. 

Gas Pool & Spa Heating

Common Outputs of Gas Heating:

The smallest is around 19kw and can go up to 125kW

Gas is absolutely the fastest way to heat a pool or spa. If you're only heating occasionally, it is by far the best way to heat. It is also twice as cheap to maintain heat over an Electric element. (like what is found in portable spas & swim spas).

For Speed of Heating, or for Occasional Use, or for Pure Convenience, Gas Pool & Spa Heating is definitely the king! 

Pros: FASTEST way to heat a pool or spa, by far. Heats regardless of ambient air temperature. Heat a pool or spa only when you need it.

Cons: Can be expensive to heat a pool year-round.

Pool & Spa Heat Pumps

Common Outputs of Heat Pump Heating: 

6kW to 57kW (heat pumps are far more expensize to buy for the equivalent output of a gas heater)

This is becoming crazy popular, but not nearly as fast as gas heating. The biggest heat pump you can afford, and fit, is the best choice. So much bad advice on these is rampant in the industry. Incorrect sizing, and installation is the biggest concern for heat pumps. There has also been a major influx of shoddy quality heat pumps being sold online.  

Heat pumps must be sized and installed correctly, otherwise you are burning the savings you may have otherwise gained over other heating methods. We assess every job with a list of questions, and possibly an on-site visit, to ensure your expectations are exceeded.  

Pros: Efficiency can be good. Smallish footprint. Absorbs ambient heat. No gas lines need to be run. (electricity might need to be upgraded).

Cons: Must be sized and installed correctly.  Pool shops often don't truly understand how they work. Output changes with ambient air temperature. Heat pumps may need to be run for long periods to heat.

Electric Pool & Spa Elements

Common Outputs of Electric Heating:

3-6kW of heating.

Electric element heating is most commonly found on spas, swimspas and small bodies of water. It is the slowest, and most expensive way to heat a body of water. It typically costs well over twice as much to heat over gas. We often install hybrid heating to almost any brand of spa or swimspa, where a gas heater, or heat pump is retro-fitted to the existing spa.

Pros: Very small footprint. Generally can operate for many years. Come built in to spa controllers

Cons: Expensive to run. Requires alot of electricity. Very slow to heat.


pool and spa heating information

Information about heating your spa or pool with gas.

Running or Converting your Spa, Swimspa, Pool to Gas Heating: 

The table above shows *only* the actual heater cost comparison. You actually save more than this. 

Benefits of Gas over Electric Elements & Heat Pumps:

  • Super Fast heat up times. We can fit a heater to heat from 15 to 38 in as little as 15 minutes! 
  • Save $$ on Heating Costs. Gas costs around half as much as electricity on its own, but you’re also saving more $ than we can calculate because you’re not running your pumps nearly as long.
  • Reduced chemical usage. Another $$ savings it’s difficult to calculate, but we know hot water needs more chemicals, and longer filtration times. Available in several sizes
  • Lower Carbon foot print. As you’re not heating your spa all day / every day, you may use MUCH less energy.
  •  You can leave your electric-heated spa turned down until you actually want to use it, saving even more money 

Hybrid Spa Heating

We can convert your existing electric heated spa to run on gas. In most cases, we can set it up so that the gas heater is still controlled by your existing spa touchpad!