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Solar Pool Heater vs. Electric Heat Pump: Which is Best in Florida?

Let’s cut to the chase. You’ve got a pool and need that bad boy heated so you can enjoy the pool more year round.

Let’s cut to the chase. You’ve got a pool and need that bad boy heated so you can enjoy the pool more year round.

So which pool heater is right for you? We’ll compare electric heat pump pool heaters to solar pool heaters by showing you the pros and cons.

Electric heat pump pool heater

An electric heat pump pool heater uses electricity to move heat from the air to your pool; it does not create heat by burning gas like a gas pump does.

Pros:

  • Works efficiently at maintaining temperature of your pool as long as the outside temperature remains above the 45ºF–50ºF range (perfect for Southwest Florida)
  • Less expensive than solar pool heaters.
  • Heats the pool very quickly--useful for those who don’t use the pool regularly

Cons:

  • Higher operating costs than the solar heat pump: About $900 annually without using a pool cover and $200 if you do use a pool cover.
  • Lasts only 10 years--half as long as a solar pool heater.

Solar pool heater

Solar pool heaters use your existing pool pump to move the water through a filter and then through a solar collector  (which is mounted on any location that's exposed to the sun).

The warmed collector heats the water, which is then returned to the pool.

Pros:

  • Uses a free energy source--the sun! So it costs you almost nothing to use.
  • Very low maintenance costs
  • Lives twice as long as an electric heat pump pool heater (20+ years)
  • Most environmentally friendly since it does not use gas or electricity

Cons:

So which pool heater is best for Southwest Florida?

According to Energy.gov, “Solar pool heaters are more popular and cost-effective in sunny states like Florida, Arizona, and California.”

It’s the option we also recommend as heating and cooling experts. We believe it will save you the most money if you’re looking for a pool-heating option. (Although if you want to be able to swim year-round, you could actually need both.)

While solar pool heaters may have a higher initial cost, they easily pay themselves back over the years since they cost less to use and maintain, and are replaced far less often than electric heat pump pool heaters.

To learn more about solar pool heaters in the Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa and Port Charlotte area, talk to one of our experts for help.

To do more research on your own, read Energy.gov’s article on solar pool heaters.