The 6 Best Natural Gas Pool Heaters
6. Raypak Digital
5. Hayward H100
4. Pentair MasterTemp
3. Jandy Pro Series
2. Sta-Rite SR333NA
1. Hayward H400
Come On In; The Water’s Fine
It’s one of the tensest moments of any summer’s day. You’ve slapped on a bathing suit (beach body or not), and you’ve brought yourself to the edge of a swimming pool. Inside the pool, you know there’s a deep sense of refreshment waiting, as well as an opportunity for some excellent cardiovascular exercise. And yet, you’re frozen there, paralyzed by the fear of that first split second when the frigid water will stun you into momentary misery. Finally, you jump.
If you were to take this literal leap of faith into a pool that turned out to be heated, you’d be in for one of the most pleasant surprises imaginable. Not only do heated pools get rid of that first shock that accompanies the plunge into an unheated pool, they also keep the water at just the right temperature to still provide relief on a hot summer day.
When you swim in a heated pool, you actually have a better chance at getting a superior workout. This starts psychologically, as even the internal struggle to will yourself into cold water can sap some of the energy you’d otherwise spend swimming. Once you’re in the water, the cold can be demoralizing. Physically, things look even worse, as lower temperatures inhibit muscle contraction, making the swimming experience more difficult. If the water is too cold, you may find that it takes your body much longer to acclimate to it, and that you’ll want to get out of the water sooner.
None of these problems plague you when you swim in a heated pool. You’ll have no problem diving in and getting straight to work (or fun), your muscles will feel looser and more capable, and you’ll be able to stay in the pool comfortably for much longer stretches of time.
Regardless of its physical or psychological impact, however, there’s a wonderful, economical reason to heat your pool water. After all, a pool is a big investment, and nothing is more tragic that a picturesque backyard in-ground pool that nobody uses. With a heated pool, not only will people be likely to swim more often, they’ll also have the opportunity to swim earlier and later in the year than they otherwise would. Even in Southern California, pool water gets uncomfortably cold from about November through to May, due mostly to the cooling effect of evaporation. With a heated pool, in a climate like that, you could swim pretty much all year round.
Why Go With Natural Gas?
There are a few types of pool heaters on the market that you can choose from, and many of them will do a good job making your pool water much more comfortable. There are a few good reasons to go with Natural gas over some other models, however.
Perhaps most importantly, gas pool heaters in general (whether natural gas or propane), tend to be much more powerful and effective. If you have a particularly large pool, or if you know that your pool will only get sporadic use (perhaps you’re a frequent traveler), then gas is the smart choice. It can heat up a large body of water much more quickly than its electrical counterparts can. Gas pool heaters can also often attain a higher temperature than electrical models, and they can be more exacting when it comes to hitting a specific temperature and holding it.
From a financial standpoint, natural gas is often less expensive to burn than your electricity is to use. In the case of a pool heater, this effect is even more evident, since most owners keep their pools heated for long stretches of time, and because the superior heating speed of a gas pool heater requires the unit to run less often.
From an environmental standpoint, the burning of natural gas is cleaner than the coal that fires the vast majority of electrical power in the United States. How much cleaner? Well, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, despite natural gas being a band-aid on the gaping wound that is climate change, it does emit about 50 percent less carbon dioxide than coal when responsibly burned.
If you really want to get the most bang for your buck, while also protecting the environment from additional pollutants, you should combine your natural gas pool heater with some form of solar pool covering. The solar effect is minimal, to be honest, barely affecting the water’s temperature by more than a degree or so, but the units’ ability to prevent heat loss through evaporation will help keep your pool water warmer for longer periods, so you won’t have to run your heater as often.
A Brief History Of Swimming Pools
While the modern home swimming pool is something of a recent phenomenon, human beings, like most animals, have gravitated towards water since prehistoric times. It wasn’t until the ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro that we find evidence of humans intentionally digging a place for aquatic recreation. Later, the Romans tamed mass quantities of water for use by their elite. One notable difference between our supremely sanitized swimming environments and the Roman example is that the Roman emperors often kept fish in their pools, rendering their pools little more than enormous aquariums in which they, too, would enjoy a dip.
Pools remained a luxury item only available to the super rich until large community pool clubs began to crop up in England in the 1800s. This remained the model for recreational swimming until after the second world war, when the baby boomers in America began buying up property and building affordable houses with large backyards.
Over the course of the next 50 years, pool ownership exploded, with in-ground and above ground varieties fit for nearly any living space. In the 1970s, engineers began competing to find the most economical way to heat a swimming pool, making it more comfortable for longer periods of the year. The result is the litany of options currently flooding the market, though nothing has come close to the economy and efficiency of the modern natural gas pool heater.