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How do electric heat pumps, gas heaters and solar pool heating compare?

The three most common methods of heating a swimming pool are solar pool heaters, gas heaters and electric heat pumps. When deciding on the right heating method for your pool, it’s important to compare the options. The right option can extend your swim season depending on location and climate, or save you more money in the long term compared to the other methods. What are the main differences and advantages to each? Here is everything you need to know when comparing electric heating pumps, gas heaters and solar pool heating for your Brisbane swimming pool.

What is involved with electric heat pumping

Electric heat pumping uses electricity to suck the sun-warmed air from the external atmosphere, removing the heat contained in the air, and then as the pool pump circulates the swimming pool water, it becomes heated, returning back into the pool. An electric heat pump works in a similar fashion to a reverse cycle air conditioner, and because it captures solar energy from the air, the output and efficiency can vary with the temperature of the air. Though higher performance is possible in areas that experience milder weather, heat pumps will maintain pool temperatures positively across most areas of Australia. This makes electric heat pumping ideal for people that want to swim majority of the year round.

The advantages of electric heat pumps

  • They are energy efficient and have relatively low running costs, however, not as low as solar pool heating.
  • These units heat water quickly, though not as fast as a gas heater.
  • Electric heat pumps can be connected to off peak or time-of-use electricity pricing.

The disadvantages of electric heaters

  • Electric heat pumps can be expensive to purchase

What is involved with gas heating

Used commonly in pools and spas, gas heating uses either natural gas or liquid propane gas, to heat pool water that is pumped along copper piping before it flows back into the swimming pool. Gas is ideal for home owners that live in cooler climates or those that want the pool heated up quickly, and works really well in conjunction with solar pool heating or with pools that don’t have to be heated often.

The advantages of gas heating

  • It is extremely fast, reliable, and operates efficiently even in winter.

The disadvantages of gas heating

  • Gas Heating can be inefficient when it comes to energy consumption and running costs compared to other pool heating methods.

What is involved with solar heating

Solar pool heating for Brisbane home owners has become a very popular choice because it uses free energy from the sun to heat your swimming pool. Using solar panels on your roof to absorb the heat, the pool water is circulated through the collector (solar panels) in tubes, before being pumped back into your swimming pool. The temperature of your pool can then be controlled by a digital controller. To get the most out of your solar pool heating, the size of your collector must be in relation to the size of your swimming pool. The general rule is that solar panels or collectors, should be equal to 80% – 100% of the pool area. Solar pool heating is also less expensive to install and has very low operating costs. Solar pool heating does rely on regular exposure to the sun and positive weather conditions to provide consistent temperature throughout the cooler months. Not only is solar good for the environment, it also pays for itself after a few years.

The advantages of solar pool heating

  • It uses free energy and costs almost nothing to run.

The disadvantages of solar pool heating

  • Can be slower to heat up compared to electric and gas.
  • Is weather and sunlight dependent. You need to take these into account, however, solar pool heating is a great option for sunny places like Brisbane.

Your swimming pool heating is a big investment, so if you’re not sure if a heat pump, gas heating, or solar pool heating is right for your Brisbane home, click here to learn more or discuss your options.



Sunlover Heating have installed in excess of 65,000 solar pool heating systems and built a reputation of happy customers for more than 25 years.

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