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Come On In, the Water’s Fine!

Increase your pool enjoyment with a natural gas heater

If your outdoor living space includes an inground pool, do you suffer from pool withdrawal after Georgia’s summer draws to a close each year? Does March find you staring out the window at that pool, longing for warmer days that allow you to take a swim after a hard day’s work?

Unfortunately, if your pool is unheated, longing is all you’re likely to do until sometime in May. But there’s a cure for that, says a local pool builder.

Investing in a natural gas pool heater can easily extend outdoor “swim season” in northern Georgia, allowing comfortable swimming eight months out of the year, says Bill White, owner of Southern Splash Pools in Athens. 

Using a pool heater allows north Georgia water lovers to jump in
usually by late March and continue swimming well into the fall season.

Using a pool heater allows north Georgia water lovers to jump in usually by late March and continue swimming well into the fall season, says White.

“A heater allows you to swim longer, and if you swim longer you can get more use and pleasure out of your pool,” he adds.

White has been installing pools and spas in northern Georgia for 20 years. In all those years, natural gas has always been king as the fuel choice for pool heaters.

“Ninety-five percent of the time it’s gas,” he said, explaining that Georgia homeowners prefer gas-fired heaters because they are the quickest, most efficient way to take the chill off of pool water.

The Popular Choice

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that gas-fired pool heaters are the most popular system for heating swimming pools across the nation. Their popularity is tied closely to cost and efficiency.

“Gas heaters are less expensive to purchase and install, driving many homeowners to opt for gas,” according to information at energy.gov.

Gas-fueled heaters are up to 97 percent energy-efficient
and warm the water twice as fast as non-gas options.

Gas-fueled heaters are up to 97 percent energy-efficient and warm the water twice as fast as non-gas options, states the American Gas Association. Natural gas heaters do the job by pumping pool water through the heater, which warms it before it is pumped back into the pool.

Athens-based custom homebuilder Rodney Jones and his family are among those who enjoy an extended swim season thanks to a natural gas pool heater.

“On the weekends, we turn it [the heater] on in the morning and by midday the pool water is warm,” he said. “In colder months, we will run the heater from Friday through Sunday night, and it costs about $30. It’s worth it for the extra time we get to use our pool.”

Plan Ahead

If your new home construction includes space for a pool, planning ahead can save on heater costs.

Jones urges factoring in a pool heater as part of the initial construction — even if you aren’t sure you’ll want one. Go ahead and reserve a space for the heater as you lay out your equipment pad and plan for natural gas service lines. This advance planning will make it easier and less expensive to add a heater later.

“If we’re building an outdoor living space that includes a pool — or even space for a future pool — we always extend a gas line to hook up a pool heater,” Jones said, adding that the majority of homeowners he works with do end up choosing to add a heater.

Regardless of when you decide to install a pool heater, always have a qualified natural gas contractor do the work, reminds Pete Ervin, a Walton Gas customer representative. Locate a qualified professional for installation or call (800) 599-3770 for assistance. 

Speaking from personal experience, Jones has one simple piece of advice for those considering investing in a natural gas pool heater: “You won’t regret it.”

LEARN MORE: The U.S. Department of Energy provides detailed information about how to plan for and select the best gas-fired heater to serve your needs. 

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