Starting build - heater or no heater?

Ldymtrow

Member
Aug 2, 2019
5
Alexandria VA
Hi - We are getting ready to start our inground pool build and we are going back and forth between putting in a gas heater or not doing a heater. We live in Virginia so generally its very warm down here in the Summer, but i'd also like to extend our season April and October. Is the heater worth it? The plumbing company said our current gas meter doesn't have enough BTUs to support a heater so we'd have to add a new meter? Not sure how that works but it sounds expensive and a hassle so trying to figure out if overall its worth it. I'd love to hear from those who have a heater and can't live without it..or those who don't and don't miss it :) Thanks!
 

jtburf

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2015
440
Houston, TX
Heater, you only have to go through the meter upgrade 1 time, it is not all that bad. Without a heater you lose 6-8 months of swim time.

John
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,651
NY
Heaters are an awesome idea on paper. After the fact it may change. But you won’t know until you’ve had it for a while one way or the other. There are many people out there that get an extended swim season and it was the best decision they ever made. There are also many people who found that alothough they could still swim, they either didn’t want to or they were simply too busy. Once school started we were back to all the clubs and sports almost every night. And if we had an evening free, it was either cold or bad weather. So we did swim more than we would have, but not nearly enough to justify the costs. Same goes for hot tubs. Some people love them. Some people have had theirs winterized for years.

Regardless of which heater you choose (electric or gas), a solar cover is a must. You will be paying through the nose to heat the cold outside air in the early spring/ fall without one. You can also just try the solar cover as a cheaper experiment. Have the equipment pad set up with room for a future heater, and if you find yourself swimming like crazy in April and September with just the solar cover, then upgrade and get another month on either end. September was heavenly with just the solar cover. The water was 80 and the outside air was 70s and still warm enough to want to swim. By October when we would have actually needed the heater, we were walking around in sweatshirts and nobody felt like swimming. But that was just us. Again there are many people who still swim all the time.
 

JodieM

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2013
272
Brownsburg, IN
We love our pool heater! We live in Indiana. Summer nights can get down to 50’s or 60’s causing all the sun warmed pool water to dip in temp. I personally like 88 degree pool water and am hesitant to swim if it’s colder. Our heater kicks on through the night in the summer to keep the water temp stable. We do have an automatic pool cover that we close every night to keep the days heat in the pool unless the night temp stays above 80 which seems rare here. We lived in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina with pools before this and only used a solar cover in the spring to get the pool water warmed up in April and May, then we didn’t need it after that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ldymtrow

Ldymtrow

Member
Aug 2, 2019
5
Alexandria VA
We love our pool heater! We live in Indiana. Summer nights can get down to 50’s or 60’s causing all the sun warmed pool water to dip in temp. I personally like 88 degree pool water and am hesitant to swim if it’s colder. Our heater kicks on through the night in the summer to keep the water temp stable. We do have an automatic pool cover that we close every night to keep the days heat in the pool unless the night temp stays above 80 which seems rare here. We lived in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina with pools before this and only used a solar cover in the spring to get the pool water warmed up in April and May, then we didn’t need it after that.
Thank you! We are also getting the automatic pool cover because of our two little ones so that is good to know that it also helps keep heat in. Thanks for your feedback!
 
  • Like
Reactions: JodieM

JimMarshall

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 5, 2017
804
Oil City PA
Honestly, compared to the rest of the $$$$ that you're going to spend, the heater is a drop in the bucket that I suspect won't make or break your bank. For the relatively small increase in overall cost, I'd get the heater.
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,454
Chapel Hill, NC
We live in central NC and I would consider a heater essential. Not only does it extend the season, but if the weather cools off for a few days in the middle of summer, it makes all the difference for that important pool party! We have gas, didn't need to upgrade the meter, and it works out less expensive for us that the electric/heatpump option. If you want to keep the pool heated constantly, a heatpump may be cheaper in the long run.
 
  • Like
Reactions: darceync

thomasandanita

Well-known member
Mar 14, 2019
96
willis texas
i live in texas (hot) i am cheap! i have a heater, we heat the hot tub in about 20 minutes. so nice to relax in, i have not had the pool through a winter yet. not sure if i will ever heat the pool. but the heater has proved very nice to have for the hot tub. i know that my neighbors do heat their pool in the winter but not all of the time. they turn it on a day or so before they know that they will use it.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,651
NY
Basically your two options come down to usage. A gas heater can heat much faster and overcome Colder temps better. My electric heater uses less energy to maintain the temperature but needs to be run 24/7 to do so and it ends up costing as much or more. I didn’t have street gas so I would have had to put in a tank just for the pool. I didn’t want to have to conciousally know that I spent exactly X amount of gallons of gas just to heat the pool. I was hoping it would be less of a shock rolled into the monthly electric bill. It was still a shock. Once my pool gets colder, I’m done. It simply takes way too long to heat back up. With a gas heater you can just turn it on a day or two before you need the pool warm and turn it back off after the party. I wouldn’t have cared it took $100 to have a pool party in October. I did care it took $100 a week to keep it warm enough to get to October.

But then again there are many people who use the pool so much they don’t care about those costs because they are justified.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,803
Northern NJ
Pentair has a Heat pump Calculator for you to compare the costs of a gas heater with a heat pump ...

 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,651
NY
There is just something about the winter air temperature being in the 40s and your pool water being heated to 86 degrees that would still make me NOT WANT to get in the pool! YRMV

The first year we thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Once the newness wore off we became pool snobs who balked at swimming when it was cold. Heck i know people who refuse to swim if the water is less than 90 degrees. But the again there are people who swim/surf in the ocean in the winter. You wont know who you are until you've had the option for a while. I'm probably going be getting solar panels in the next few years. If i oversize the system it will absorb most or all of my heat pump costs. At that point it will completely change my outlook on running the heater. At the moment it is too expensive to run for what we get out of it.
 

SBall

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2017
249
Nashville, TN
I love my natural gas heater. I set it at 90 in early April and plan to turn it off in November. It cost about $200 for gas in April, around $100 in May, around $100 in June. No idea what July costs are yet, but dont really care. I like warm water and our pool is our happy place.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Newdude

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,474
Morris Cnty NJ
I have a gas heater and used it alot last season for spot use of the pool early and late season. I did solar panels this year and used the heater twice to get temps up. I dont even use a solar cover anymore past 2 months my water is upper 80s in the morn and 90s by end of day. Solar is worth its weight in gold to me
 

Sarducci

Member
Feb 2, 2019
19
Northeast Florida
I live in north Fl. We’re currently in the building process. We are getting a heat pump. Without question extends the swimming season. I just upgraded to a heat/cool unit. 90+ degrees doesn’t seem refreshing to me personally. Now is the time to do it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Newdude

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
650
Marrietta Ga
Heaters for sure, my kids have had several parties and i heat the whole pool to around 90 and they love it. Last time i think I figured it cost me $20 but worth every penny
Atlanta gas light mentioned my meter wasnt big enough but i never had any issues. Maybe is everything is going at the same time but heaters don't run 24x7
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
12,043
Evans, Georgia
Georgia Power offers one rate that is a set monthly rate for unlimited usage, which I think (?) is based on your past historical usage. Could be tempting for those who plan on using A LOT!