Three Factors to Consider When Choosing a Propane Pool Heater

Posted: May 3, 2017

Backyard swimming pool

In our last blog, we talked about some of the great benefits and advantages of having a propane pool heater. In this post we’ll talk about three factors you’ll need to consider when choosing a heating unit for your dream pool or spa: size, efficiency, and installation/maintenance cost.

  1. Size – Just like any other appliance, a pool heater should be sized to do the job it is expected to do without being too large or too small. Propane pool heaters are rated by their Btu output, with sizes ranging from 75,000 Btu to 450,000 Btu. The heating load of your pool determines how large a pool heater you will need.

    Calculating heating load can be challenging, since factors that influence it range from the surface area of the pool to the amount of sun and wind exposure your pool will get. However, you can get a rough idea of the size of heater you’ll need by following these instructions (we can help you make a more precise calculation when you contact us for a FREE estimate):

    • Choose a temperature you would like your pool water to be.
    • Find the average temperature for the area where you live during the coldest month you intend to use your pool.
    • Subtract that average temperature from your desired pool temperature to determine the rise in temperature your heater will need to accomplish.
    • Calculate the surface area of your pool in square feet.
    • Use this following formula to determine the Btu per hour output requirement of the heater*:

    Pool Area x Temperature Rise x 12

  2. Efficiency – Efficiency measures how much energy an appliance consumes vs. how much energy is actually applied to the job it is trying to do (in this case heat a pool). For example, a heater with an 80 percent efficiency rating uses $80 of every $100 spent on propane gas to heat water – the rest is lost in transfer. Today’s propane pool heaters can have efficiencies well into the 90s, with costs rising as efficiency improves.
  3. Installation and maintenance costs – Proper installation and maintenance of your propane pool heater will help it run as efficiently as possible. As with any home comfort service, you get what you pay for when installing a pool heater – be sure to choose a reputable contractor with expert technicians if you want to get the most pool-heating bang for your buck. With proper installation and maintenance, your propane pool heaters last at least five years, helping extend your swimming season by a month or more in each one.

Dreaming about a warm dip on a cool Maine evening – or a late season swim as the leaves change color in September? Take the plunge with a propane pool heater! Contact us for a FREE estimate!

*Based on 1-1.25 degree temperature rise per hour and a 3.5 mph average wind at the surface of the pool.