Natural Gas Pool & Spa Heaters
Swim Outdoors, Even When It's Cool
Natural gas provides reliable, cost-effective pool and spa heating to help homeowners extend the usable season.
One of the biggest questions that confronts homeowners is, should I heat my pool? The answer is yes, if you want to enjoy comfortable swimming at your own convenience. One of the reasons for owning a pool is being able to swim when you want to. After all, a swimming pool is a sizeable investment. Why not take maximum advantage of it by extending the usable season?
Heating your pool economically is best done by using an efficient natural gas pool heater. Listed below are some suggestions for even more economical heating.
- Keep a thermometer in your pool. It will pinpoint accurately the temperature most comfortable for you. The temperature recommended for recreational and competitive sports swimming by the American Red Cross is 78 to 82 degrees. This comfort level coincides with good energy conservation practice too. However, young children, elderly and others often need water 80 degrees or warmer, and hydrotherapy calls for warmer water as well. Although 78 to 80 degrees is a good general rule for pool temperature, how warm you keep your pool depends on your personal preference.
- Keep your thermostat at the lowest comfortable setting. Each additional degree of heat could add to your monthly fuel cost and use more energy than necessary. Mark the “comfort setting” on the thermostat dial. This will prevent accidental overheating and the waste of energy.
- Lower the thermostat to 70 degrees when the pool is to be unused for three or four days. For longer periods, shut the heater off. You will save money on fuel consumption and help conserve energy. Less energy is required to reheat a pool for a weekend or special occasion as opposed to maintaining a constant temperature all week. For weekend swimming, turn your thermostat up to the “comfort setting” on Friday night and back down to 70 degrees on Sunday evening.
- Shield your pool from wind. Winds above three to five miles per hour can lower the pool temperature significantly. A hedge, cabana or a decorative fence can provide an effective windbreak.
- Use a pool cover when the pool is not in use. A good bubble pack or dual filament pool cover can reduce heat loss by 70 to 90 percent. Using a pool cover helps prevent evaporation. Every gallon of water that evaporates from a pool takes heat with it. A typical uncovered pool loses 1 to 1.5 inches of water a week through evaporation. For a 20 by 40- foot pool, an inch of water amounts to 500 gallons.
- A larger-sized heater will increase the energy savings you can obtain when you plan to use the pool. A heater that is too small will allow significant loss during the heat-up period.
- Get a maintenance check-up annually. The cost is minimal, and the service will keep your heater working efficiently for many years to come.
Choosing the right heater for your spa or hot tub is as important as which spa or hot tub you select. Affordable natural gas spa heaters offer the most economical method for heating your new or existing spa or hot tub, whether it’s a portable or permanent in-ground installation.
Below are some facts and suggestions about spas and hot tubs and how to heat them.
- The heater size you choose depends on how quickly you want to heat your spa or hot tub. Many spa owners want their heaters to be capable of raising the water to the desired temperature in about an hour. The simple fact of the matter is that fast heating costs no more than slow heating. A larger heater can actually cost less to operate than a smaller heater because the shorter warm-up time minimizes heat loss to the air.
- Obviously, the larger the heater, the faster you can bring your spa or hot tub to the desired temperature. For example, a 125,000 BTU/hour heater will heat a 400-gallon spa to 100 degrees in 63 minutes from a standby temperature of 70 degrees. A 175,000 BTU/hour heater will achieve the same result in 45 minutes.
- Always use a cover while the spa is not in use or while it’s heating up. Your spa or hot tub will reach the desired temperature and retain heat longer with a cover.
- Always use a thermometer to determine water temperature. Most physicians generally recommend water above 104 degrees only in cases where specific needs or medical considerations require it.
- To overcome the buildup of damaging salts and calcium, drain your spa or hot tub regularly – but always according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- To conserve energy, simply be sensible. If you use your spa or hot tub daily, use a cover and only turn the heater up when you’re ready to use it. Otherwise, keep the heater turned off.
- Get a maintenance check-up annually. The cost is minimal and the service will keep your heater working efficiently for many years to come.
Calculating operating costs
Due to the complexity of calculating heat loss of a pool or spa, it is extremely difficult to calculate the cost of operation. Still, the cost can be approximated using the following formula:
Cost of gas per therm x Input of heater = Cost per hour
A 250,000 BTU heater with a gas cost of 0.86 per therm
(1 therm = 100,000 BTU)
0.86 per therm x 2.5 therm per hour = $2.15 per hour
Meter Locations & Line Rerouting
As is the case with any project that requires digging, please make sure that your pool installer calls the notification center in your area to have all underground utilities located at least 48 hours before digging at 1-800-252-1166. If you find that the natural gas service line needs to be rerouted or the meter relocated, call CenterPoint Energy at 612-342-5123. A representative will be able to quote the charge and the procedures to follow.