Gas Pool Heater Pros And Cons

Villa with swimming pool

Charlie Hardcastle

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Natural gas pool heaters for an in-ground swimming pool are amongst the most reliable and efficient heating options. It can ensure that the water in your pool remains hot all year round. 

During the winter, outdoor temperatures may not stay warm long enough to heat the water sufficiently, even during the day. If you live in such a place, investing in a gas pool heater is worth it. However, it is worth understanding the disadvantages of these heaters alongside their advantages. Make sure that you are comfortable with the potential tradeoffs when choosing a gas pool heater compared to others (Solar Heaters). 

If in doubt, consult a pool professional before buying a gas heater. A professional can help you determine what pool heater type and size will work best for your pool.


Installing a gas pool heater is a great way to extend the swimming season. These heaters will heat the water and save money on energy costs depending on where you live. The costs of installing one of these units vary based on climate and model. 

Solar heaters may only cost a few hundred dollars, while electric ones can cost upwards of $500. But if you want to enjoy your pool year-round, a gas heater is the way to go, especially if you live in a place where winter temperatures can reach sub-zero. 

If you have a natural gas pipeline, installing a gas heater is easier than installing an electrical unit. However, if you don’t have a natural gas line, you will need to invest in a propane tank and get it refilled. Propane tanks can be expensive to install, and there are regulations for burying them underground. Gas heaters are more expensive than electrical upfront, but they’re cheaper in the long run.

You can also expect to pay between $500 and $1,500 for installation.


There are a few factors that contribute to the reliability of gas pool heaters. First, improper installation or inadequate maintenance of a heater is the most likely cause of heater failure. 

Improper maintenance can significantly reduce the life of a heater. That’s why all maintenance should be carried out as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Most pool heaters have a life expectancy of around seven years. Some last up to 25 years. However, these numbers may vary depending on the model and type of maintenance performed. 

It is recommended to replace the integral components of your gas heater after every few years. Generally, a high-quality pool heater can last for more than ten years, offering pool owners an excellent return on their investment.

Environmental Impact

Although most Californian pools use gas pool heaters, environmental concerns are mounting. These appliances release massive CO2 gasses into the atmosphere, and their high operating costs mean that they are not for everyone. 

Additionally, on average, a gas pool heater has a shorter lifespan than heat pumps and other competing technologies. These costs may eventually outweigh the value of a new unit. Pool owners should consider the environmental impact of gas pool heaters before investing in a new system.

The other major con of a gas pool heater from an environmental standpoint is that it is not as energy efficient as other forms of pool heating. They are also the most expensive, making them less attractive for homeowners with limited budgets. However, these heaters are highly efficient for smaller pools with moderate heating demands. 

Moreover, gas-fired pool heaters are popular in warmer climates like Texas and California compared to New York state and Minnesota, where the weather can freeze over.


Proper maintenance is vital to keep a gas pool heater running efficiently. It has many parts and requires more frequent attention than heat pumps. This can eventually exceed the cost of buying a new unit. 

To maximize efficiency, pool owners need to schedule an annual tune-up. Professionals will generally follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when tuning up the pool heater or maintaining it.

Lifespan Of A Natural Gas Pool Heater

Natural gas heaters are, on the whole, durably built, but they wear out (as mentioned above) sooner than other types of pool heaters. On average, they can last for around five years but will require an annual service to prolong their service life.

The comparatively shorter lifespan of a gas pool heater means that they need to be frequently replaced. 

Heat pumps and electric heaters can generally last ten years, with solar heating units lasting around 15 to 20 years. So, the latter offers more value for money in the long-term and saner operating costs.

Finally, Gas Pool Heaters Will Be Replaced

The fact is that gas pool heaters are burning fossil fuels, i.e., natural gas, to generate heat. Like all things that burn and use fossil fuel, it is fast going out of fashion, if not becoming increasingly expensive to consider. 

The long-term viability of a gas pool heater no longer makes sense. Even if you buy the best quality one, one that will last over a decade, it will cost you possibly twice as much to operate five years from now, owing to higher gas prices. 

So, the focus should be on finding a pool heater that offers long-term viability. Not only should the pool heater you invest in be durable but also cheaper to operate. So, make sure to do your research before deciding on buying one over the other, even if you choose to replace your gaining gas pool heater with another gas model.

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