Introduction to Propane Pool Heater
Swimming pools are very useful in the summer but what if you want to continue enjoying the pool during spring and other colder seasons? What if you want to enjoy a soothing swim in the evening when it is slightly cold? What if you live in one of those areas where it’s cold almost throughout the year yet you still want to put your pool into good use?
This is where pool heaters come in. Heaters are designed to warm your pool water to safe temperatures where you can enjoy a good swim even when the weather is chilly. There are four main types of pool heaters in the market: Solar, Electric, Electric Pool Heat Pump and Natural or Propane Gas Pool Heaters. In this review, we will be looking at Propane pool heaters to determine how effective they are.
Propane Pool Heater Overview
Propane Pool Heaters were a sweetheart years ago before gas prices went off the roof. Propane Pool Heaters use Propane gas to heat your water. On installing this system, your pool water will be passing through the filter before it goes to the heater. As the gas burns in the heating chamber, the energy produced is transferred to the water raising its temperature before it flows back to the pool.
One of the reasons behind the popularity of this heating option is how affordable they are to set up. Of all the four propane pool heaters in the market, propane gas pool heater is the cheapest when it comes to the initial cost of installation. Additionally, these heaters are a lot easier to install compared to the alternatives. Propane pool heaters are also designed with heavy duty material making them one of the most durable and reliable heaters in the market.
Unfortunately, maintaining and using these heaters becomes more expensive compared to the other options. This is because you will always need to buy the gas and as you know, gas prices are continually going up.
Due to the high running costs of propane gas pool heaters, we usually recommend the heaters to people who are not planning on using them too frequently.
Choosing a Propane Pool Heater
Propane pool heaters were so popular in the past, and this increased their production significantly. We also have new propane heaters with advanced features some of which claim to be more energy efficient in helping to reduce the running costs. Choosing a propane pool heater from the many options can, therefore, be quite hectic. The following summarizes the key factors that you will need to consider when choosing a heater.
Propane pool heaters are rated depending on their Btu output. The higher the output, the bigger the size of a pool that heater can warm. Usually, Propane heaters are rated from 75,000 to 450,000 Btu. You will have to calculate the heating load of your pool to determine the appropriate size of the heater to use.
Calculating the heating load of your pool can be very tricky. This is because you have to consider various factors that influence the temperatures of your pool. You’ll, for instance, need to take into account the average coldest temperature of where you live, the surface area of the pool, your desired warm temperature among others. As you can see, the math here can get complicated, but the good news is that there are enough websites online that can help get this calculation done for free. You can also consult the manufacturers of the propane pool heaters to help you with getting your pool’s heating load.
To get the best out of any heater, you have to make sure that it is installed appropriately. Setting up the heater wrongly can also lead to malfunctions which could ruin your entire heater. It’s always advisable to go for reputable contractors with experience in installation of heaters. Other than improving the performance of your pool, proper installation will boost the heater’s lifespan helping you to enjoy its services for over five years.
Efficiency is very crucial especially considering how expensive gas is at the moment. The good thing is that most of the recently made propane pool heaters have high efficiency helping to prevent wastage of energy thus saving the amount of money you spend on keeping the heater running. Always try to go for heaters with at least 90% energy efficiency. The higher the efficiency, the costlier a heater usually is. In the long run, however, spending a few extra bucks on an energy efficient heater will save you more cash than buying one with low efficiency.
- Maintenance Costs
As we had already pointed out, running these propane pool heaters is usually expensive. It is easy to be tempted to go for heaters that are cheap to run and maintain, but this can easily lead to poorly made heaters that will break down in no time. You, therefore, have to find a balance between an affordable heater and one that is affordable in terms of maintenance. We usually urge pool owners to go for heaters from reputable brands. These may cost more, but you will spend less money maintaining them.
The Best Propane Pool Heaters
If after going through the above guide you still find it hard to land on one particular heater, then we’ve got you covered. The following are the top three Propane Pool Heaters of 2018. These heaters are the most efficient, easy to use and they come at very reasonable prices.
Sta-Rite SR400LP Max-E-Therm Pool and Spa Propane Heater (400,000 Btu)
This Sta-Rite Pool and Spa Propane Heater is made of dura glass and rust and weatherproof materials safeguarding its interior components. This will keep the heater running efficiently for years without any breakdown issues.
At 84%, the heater is the most energy efficient propane heater in the market. This makes sure that your valuable gas is put into good use with limited wastage.
It also comes with cup nickel heat exchangers that make the heater extremely versatile. Thanks to these heat exchangers you’ll be able to use the heater in almost all pool conditions.
- It’s extremely quiet
- Its lightweight and hence can fit in small spaces without any inconveniences
- Comes with an LED screen from which you can read and monitor the pool’s temperatures
- Works with both spas and pools
- You must hire a professional to install the unit otherwise your warranty will be invalidated
Hayward H150FDP Universal H-Series Pool and Spa Propane Heater (150,000 BTU)
Hayward is a reputable company that prides itself on being the market leaders in the production of high-quality swimming pool accessories. This particular item is perhaps the best propane heater they have ever made. The heater comes in six different BTU sizes ranging from 150,000 all the way to 400,00. Pool owners can, therefore, get a heater that matches their pool’s capacity accurately for efficient performance.
The heater is made of durable rust resistant materials giving it a very long lifespan. It also features Cupro-nickel heat exchanger that will keep the heater working regardless of the water conditions it is used in.
- It’s easy to get the right size from the six options
- Replacing any parts is a lot easier compared to other heaters
- You can convert this heater to a natural gas one in case you want to move from the use of propane
- A few customers have complained of receiving defective units
Pentair 460737 MasterTemp High-Performance Propane Pool Heater (400,00 BTU)
This unit is ideal for heating medium to huge swimming pools. It is a high-performance heater that works with speed to ensure that your water is heated to your desired temperature as fast as possible.
The Pentair 460737 propane gas heater is extremely efficient, and it is also a certified low NOx emission unit. The heater is made of premium rust-free materials that increase its lifespan significantly.
Sadly, at 400,000 Btu this heater is not a good option for small swimming pools.
- It works quietly
- It is straightforward to install
- You can make some adjustments to use it with natural gas
- It comes with a 3-year warranty which is only active if it is fixed by a certified professional
- The heater becomes really hot when it is being used. It is hence advisable to store it in a spot where it cannot be touched accidentally
Final Thoughts on Propane pool heater
Propane pool heaters work differently depending on the specifics of the pool they are going to be used in. It’s for this reason that we usually recommend owners to avoid buying a heater based on referrals alone without considering the size of their pools, the surrounding/environment around the pool and other factors. At the end of the day, however, the best heaters will remain the same, but with the details on your pool, you’ll be in a position to choose one that is uniquely suited for your specific pool.