Gas is sort of the middle choice when it comes to above ground pool heaters: electricity is the standard yet expensive option, while solar energy is a bit ‘out there’ but free once you get things going. Gas heating does offer a compromise, but it’s not always the best one.
Some people prefer minimizing their exposure to gas, and rightly so. They find it a dangerous resource, and using it too much and too often can make them feel paranoid about things blowing up. The majority of gas heaters are perfectly safe, but if you feel one might make you uncomfortable during your time of leisure, don’t be afraid to go for another option.
Heating your above ground pool with gas used to be the top choice, but as technology progressed and electrical appliances became better and more efficient, gas heating has fallen out of favor.
The pros and cons of the old-fashioned method
Part of why gas used to be so popular for heating pools was the quickness: the fire from the gas quickly heats up a bunch of coils that will, in turn, heat up any water that passes through. You don’t need to wait, nor are you forced to depend on outside factors.
Indeed, the latter is another thing that allowed gas pool heaters to survive into present day. Solar panels and even some types of electrical heat pumps depend on the sun or the air temperature (respectively) for heating, forcing people to use another power source during cloudy or cold weather. With gas heaters, as with resistor-based electric ones, you’ll be able to heat your pool regardless of the weather outside – warm water will be available night and day, provided you have enough gas to go around.
Now might be a good time to list some bad sides. While gas pool heaters might be the cheapest to set up – sometimes costing under $2,000 – they’re not that cheap to run. Gas prices are on the rise, and they were never that cheap to begin with. Your monthly cost of running a gas pool heater might end up being as high as running a more efficient electrical one, although you’ll generally be able to bring it to down to about half of that.
There’s also the issue of breakdowns: gas heaters have been known to falter way before their time. Since gas is not something you want to mess with, even if you’ve got a knack for repairs, your heater will tend to be out of commission until you can have someone certified take a look.
The issue of environmental pollution is a divisive one: some couldn’t care less as it doesn’t affect them directly or immediately and are therefore happy to pollute away. Others are so bothered by it that they refuse to do anything that assaults the environment, even if it inconveniences them. Considering some people get electric cars to protect the environment, getting a polluting pool heater might seem crazy, so think about what’s important to you.
Polluting or not, there’s no denying gas pool heaters get the job done and do it quickly, so they’ll always be a worthwhile option to those for whom efficiency comes first and saving money comes right after.