To heat or not to heat?

ny2nc

Bronze Supporter
Dec 19, 2016
107
Raleigh, NC
#1
I am about to start our pool build on the 13th and I had not planned on putting in a pool heater. This warm weather in NC has me itching to get in the pool as soon as it is completed! I'm trying not to hastily scratch the "itch" of getting a heated pool, but it is proving incredibly difficult to talk myself out of it! If all goes well the pool should be done in approximately 4 weeks (so mid April).

Should I suck it up and do one season without the heater to get a true sense of things or should I bite the bullet if I have the money in our budget and put it in now?

Our PB suggested a gas heater vs. a pump. The ones they offer and the prices are below (listing gas ones only):

Heater Pentair Master Temp 250,000 BTU $2,600.00
Heater Pentair Master Temp 400,000 BTU $3,300.00

Here is a link to the details on our actual pool in case that makes a difference: http://www.tallmanpools.com/fiberglass-pool/1565/freeform/key-west

If anyone has advice as far as cost will be to actually RUN it that would be wonderful (I do understand there are about 100 variables in that equation)!

Any and all advice is welcome!!! :cool:

Edited to add, the cost per Therm on our last utility bill was $ 0.953890.
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
#2
I will mostly address the funds and say if you think you will use it much at all, and have the money for it on this end, do it now. It will hurt if you wish you had, and add the cost on later. Its a nice option to have. Long term, its not that bad unless you run one of these on Propane.

PS: The 400K BTU is overkill, but it would get you there quicker. In the warm months it take many hours to raise my pool 10-12 degrees with one. About that many hours actually, in the best conditions.
 

atttech-2

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 24, 2015
1,176
Central Valley CA
#3
We waited and are planing on going with solar. I don't know how warm pools in your area can get but one thing to consider is a heat pump or Solar can also be used to cool the pool should it become uncomfortably warm at the peak of the season you won't have that option with gas.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
24,993
DFW, TX
#4
I would get a solar cover for day one. It can add 5-8 degrees to the water temp. Get the thinnest, cheapest one. I use an 8mil clear cover. You can also make one of these to help, DIY Solar Cover Roller. That may be all you need to ramp up quicker in the spring and swim longer in the fall. We use it for about a month in spring and fall and it is put away the rest of the year.

Then consider solar panels. It is free heat if you've got a south or west facing roof nearby. There are pics in my pool thread, link in sig.

We like to swim and we like warm water! We now have solar panels, solar cover and a heat pump. :)

I agree that 250k btu is plenty.
 

blbncsu

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2012
70
Cary, NC (Raleigh)
#5
I can speak for the area I guess. When we got our pool installed we paid a bit extra to get it "pre-wired" for a pool heater. At the time its not much cost since they are build it anyways and running electrical.
From there we used the pool for the first season just to get a feel for what it was like and the temps, sun impacts, spring/summer/fall temps.
We did go with a heat-pump the 2nd year. Just to help in the late spring or early fall to help bump the temps up a bit - in conjunction with using a solar cover. Even on those rare summer cool nights it will kick on in the morning and help get it up to temp faster by swimming time in the afternoon. It does help I think.
However in the summer the vast majority of time with the heat and good amount of sun we have water can easily get into the 90's some days. I store the solar cover in the summer months and often will just turn off the heater.
My advice....get it setup to accept a heater but try it out for a year or so to see if you really need one.
 

yankeelawyer

Bronze Supporter
Jun 21, 2016
118
Virginia
#6
I recommend including the heater with the initial build if you can. It likely will be less expensive to do it that way and you may be able to get better warranties by bundling your equipment and having a new build. Also, unless your PB will install it later, you may find it is very difficult to get a company to come out just to install a heater because they view it as a small project.

We just completed our build and after initially only "pre-wiring" for a heater, we decided to go ahead and install it so that we can open the pool early. Fortunately, our PB is able to do the install.
 
OP
OP
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ny2nc

Bronze Supporter
Dec 19, 2016
107
Raleigh, NC
#7
Thank you everyone for the advice! Do any of you have an opinion on the brand of gas heaters offered? Pentair Mastertemp is the only gas heater that our PB sells. I know people usually only post their negative experiences online, but I see several for Pentair. Is there any validity to that? I see Hayward is a popular brand as well. Any others I should check out?

Also, once having the gas line run...has anyone installed the heater themselves? My husband and his buddy are engineers and seem to think they can install it...I'm weary...not because I don't have confidence in them, but because a pool is an expensive thing to screw up! Thoughts?
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
#8
There are warranty and code issues to consider with an install. Better get those checked out before they do. If they are handy at all I wouldnt worry about that part, but the other could get you in trouble down the line.

Rheem and Raypak are the same and generally don't get any negative reviews, but I think the guys here who install heaters like the Pentair ones as well, or nearly so. I've had the Raypak going on four seasons and no complaints at all.