Author: Maurice Savaryego, M.Sc.Eng. (Learn More)
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Compare Best Solar, Electric and Gas Pool Heaters: Smartpool vs. FibroPool vs. Pentair
An efficiently heated pool lets you extend your swim season and provides luxurious comfort that fits your lifestyle. Pool heaters run either on solar energy, electricity or gas. Those that run on electricity are also known as heat pumps. If you have decided to get a pool heater, you will first have to decide which type to get. To help you in your decision, we will present in this article three of the most popular and best rated pool heaters bought by Amazon customers, one of each of the three types.
This article will compare the following popular pool heaters bought by Amazon custimers:
SMARTPOOL S601P SunHeater
The panels can be installed on the ground, on the roof of your home as long as it is not too far from the pool, on a rack, or even on the surrounding fence.
Warning (for those who want to install the panels on a roof): Unless you are familiar with working on roofs and have the proper ladders and safety equipment for such work, you should hire someone with the necessary experience to do the installation. Failure to observe safe practices on a roof or other elevated structure may result in falling, leading to serious injury to you.
When properly installed with the correct number of collector panels required by your pool's size, you can raise the water temperature about 6-10°F (4-6°C). Note that the tough polypropylene material of the panels won’t rust, corrode or scale. In addition, the collector panels are reversible extending considerably their use.
As mentioned, the sun rays collecting panels are installed to work with the existing pump of your pool, and once installed, the pump allows the pool water to flow through the individual tubes of the solar panels, where it is heated by the sun and returned to the pool. This is illustrated by the following picture:
You can place the collecting panels anywhere you get at least 6 hours of full sun during the day. The longer the collectors are in full sun, the better they will work. If you are mounting them on an angle (like on a roof or a rack), the collectors should face a southerly direction.
Though some connection hardware is included in the purchase, it's recommended to purchase the SK21 System Kit to complete your installation as it contains some important mounting and plumbing hardware (for a detailed content of the kit see below). A single System Kit can be used to install up to 4 boxes of S601P. An installation manual is included so you can do the installation yourself.
SMARTPOOL S601P SunHeater solar panels can raise the water temperature of your inground pool 6-10°F by direct absorption of the sun's UV rays as long as you have installed a sufficient number of panels required by the size of your pool. Please see the following chart for the number of S601P boxes (with 2 panels in each box) recommended to heat your size of inground pool:
FibroPool FH 055 Electric Pool Heater
The way it works is that the heat pump of the unit absorbs heat from the air and transfers it into the pool water, but it needs to use your pool pump for water circulation. It is therefore installed in line, after the pool pump and after the filter, but before the chlorinator/salt system (if your pool has one). It must be hard wired (20 amp & 220 volt required).
The following pictures illustrate where the heater unit should be installed and provides the operational characteristics of the heater:
Here are some of the main features:
- It uses a Copeland high-pressure differential rotary compressor and a 100% titanium heat exchanger which makes it completely corrosion-proof. You can use it both on salt water and fresh water pools. All-metal, enamel coated case will last year after year and withstand the elements.
- Quick installation takes less than 30 minutes with 1 1/2” compression fittings.
- Easy set digital display and controller allows for quick adjustments from the unit.
- It comes with a life time warranty for the titanium heat exchanger coils, 10 years for the compressor and 3 years for electronic components.
- For an average-sized pool with cover (whether solar, plastic or liquid pool cover), it will cost roughly 20 dollars a month to keep the water around 82 degrees F. You should see an increase of about 5-20 degrees per day, with the heater running on daylight hours only (the exact numbers will depend on the pool size and the weather).
- Recognized as an Energy Efficient System by the US Department of Energy.
Pentair MasterTemp Natural Gas Pool and Spa Heater
When properly installed, this heater works fast and efficiently without taking away from your pool's aesthetics.
It requires no pilot flame, and it is easy to operate thanks to the digital controls and the user-friendly indicator lights. The compact design and quiet operation won’t intrude on your swimming and poolside enjoyment.
Gas pool heaters burn the fuel within a combustion chamber. The pool water that enters the heater, runs through heated copper coils rasing the water temperature, and returns to the pool warm.
The following picture shows where this type of heater should be placed with respect to your pool's pump and filter for proper functioning (note that it is necessary for safety that the unit be installed by a professional familiar with pool heater and gas line installation):
Here are some of the important features of these heaters:
- They feature a cupronickel exchanger that is highly resistant to corrosion and that can stand up to the harshest of applications, like low pH, high flow or heavy use.
- They have a tough, rust-proof composite exterior that handles heat and weathers the elements.
- They are equipped with a rotating digital display that allows easy viewing.
- Safe operation is ensured through a series of switches:
- the water pressure switch that senses that the pump is running,
- the high limit switch which opens if the heat exchanger outlet temperature goes above 135° F,
- the automatic gas shut-off switch which opens if the heat exchanger outlet temperature goes above 140° F,
- the stack flue sensor which shuts down the heater if the flue gas temperature reaches 480° F.
- They meet strict air quality standards and they are certified for low NOx (nitrogen oxides) emissions as well as best-in-class energy efficiency.
- They come with 2 inch PVC slip connectors and operates at either 120 or 240 volts.
- They measures 23.0”W x 32.6”D x 28.2”H inches.
Selected Pool Heaters on Amazon
Clearly, costwise, the solar option is the cheapest. Not only does the heater costs less than the other heaters considered here, but also solar energy comes free (but keep in mind that the system uses the pool's water pump for water circulation, meaning that there will still be some electricity cost associated with running the pump).
On the othe hand, the electrical and gas heaters are equipped with digital controls that make running the unit much easier.
Please click the Amazon US link image below for the pool heater of your choice to see exact price information or to purchase.
Please Note: For non-US customers, when you click the links below, you will be provided with the Amazon links for your country (such as Canada or UK), if the product is available in your country.
Smartpool S601P SunHeater
SmartPool SK21 SunHeater
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Global Amazon Search
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