Heating Source For Pool: Propane Or Natural Gas
Q: I'm going to install a small pool and a firepit in the back yard, and I am thinking of using a natural gas / propane heater. I can fuel this in one of three ways, and I would appreciate hearing from others who have experience with these options. My options are: 1) Install a standalone propane tank and use propane to fuel both the pool and the fire pit. 2) Install a standalone natural gas tank, and then install some kind of natural gas refilling station off our natural gas heating line to the home, moving over natural gas tanks to the pool area as needed. 3) Extend the natural gas line for the home through the backyard to the pool heater. Option 1) seems to be hassle free, but I gather the downside will be the cost? How much more is propane through a propane reseller like Suburban Propane going to cost me than natural gas through a typical West Coast utility? Option 2) has the cost of installing a natural gas resupply station and the hassle of manually needing to move tanks over from time to time. I do get lower usage costs on the gas, so I make back the fixed up front costs eventually. Option 3) is low cost and low hassle to use, but I have a feeling that the cost to install a natural gas line extension is going to be large, and probably the permitting process for that is a huge hassle. How would costs of electrical through a utility compare against propane? I simply want to pursue the most cost effective strategy for the application.
A: initial cost? operating cost? life cycle cost? Pool size? Pool or more like a spa? In ground? Above ground? Heat year 'round? Or just extend season? Total BTU's burned per season? How long would the pipe to the heater need to be? Depending on locale & sun exposure, in ground pools can be reasonable to heat or amazing energy hogs; esp if you're going for year 'round usage. Propane is a VERY expensive fuel compared to available piped natural gas. Compressed natural gas would be a lot of hassle & extra equipment. Just run a gas line, its your cheapest solution but consider solar with an additional gas heater. I had an above ground hot tub / spa....... about 8'x8'. In SoCa,l even in winter, the electric heater could take the spa from "rest temp" (heater off) to usable temp in a couple hours. Heating an in ground pool with electricity would be a very expensive effort. agree, a heat pump is the way to go. They are fairly common for pools these days and in your location I would expect them to be pretty efficient. If you really want to go fossil fuel then you need to run the gas line out there. Propane is way more expensive that piped in natural gas.
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