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The type of heater you choose is pivotal in keeping your swimming pool or spa at a comfortable temperature. Among various options available, gas heaters, particularly gas pool heaters, have been popular for many due to their rapid heating capabilities. 

These heaters, whether they use natural gas or propane, offer the ability to quickly increase the water temperature, making them an excellent choice for those spontaneous dips in the pool or relaxing spa sessions.

Gas heaters come in different types and brands, and the choice between them usually depends on your individual needs, preferences, and the specific features of your pool or spa. The two primary types we will focus on are natural gas and propane gas heaters, both known for their efficiency and reliability.

In this guide, we will delve deeper into the world of pool and spa gas heaters, discussing the major brands, functionality, and importance of these heaters. 

We will also explore frequently asked questions, maintenance aspects, and the environmental impact of using gas heaters. 

Our aim is to provide you with comprehensive knowledge that will help you understand these heaters better and make an informed decision about buying or maintaining one.

Importance of Pool and Spa Heaters

Importance of Pool and Spa Heaters

The importance of in-ground spa heaters, as well as pool heaters, cannot be overstated. They play a vital role in maintaining a comfortable swimming environment throughout the year, regardless of the outdoor weather conditions.

  • Extended Swimming Season

You can extend your swimming season into the colder months with pool and spa heaters. For instance, gas pool heaters quickly raise the water temperature, allowing you to enjoy your pool even when the weather gets chilly. Similarly, natural gas spa heaters ensure your spa is ready for a relaxing dip anytime, providing a year-round oasis of warmth and relaxation.

  • Comfortable Swimming Environment

The primary function of a heater is to maintain a comfortable water temperature. This makes your pool or spa enjoyable and can contribute to safety by preventing hypothermia in colder climates.

  • Increased Property Value

A heated pool or spa can increase the value of your property. Potential homebuyers often see a heated pool or spa as desirable, enhancing your property's appeal if you decide to sell.

  • Versatility

Heaters offer versatility, accommodating different needs and preferences. For instance, if you have a pool that's mainly in the shade, a heater can ensure the water is warm enough for a comfortable swim. 

Or if you have a hot tub or spa, a heater like the Hayward electric spa heaters or Jandy spa heaters can quickly warm up the water for a spontaneous soak.

  • Energy-Efficient

Modern gas heaters, including propane gas heaters and natural gas spa heaters, are designed with energy efficiency in mind. High-efficiency models reduce the amount of gas used, saving you money on energy bills and making them an eco-friendly choice.

In conclusion, pool and spa heaters, whether gas or electric, provide comfort, convenience, and luxury, transforming your pool or spa into a year-round retreat.

Types of Gas Heaters

Types of Gas Heaters

When considering pool and spa heaters, it's essential to understand the different types available, especially in the context of gas heaters. Generally, gas heaters can be categorized into two types: propane gas heaters and natural gas spa heaters.

1. Propane Gas Heaters

As mentioned before, propane gas heaters are popular due to their portability and ease of use.


  • They don't require a natural gas line and are ideal in places where natural gas is unavailable.

  • Propane gas heaters provide rapid heating and are known for efficiently maintaining the water temperature comfortably.


  • Propane heaters require propane gas tanks that must be refilled or replaced periodically.

  • The cost of propane varies depending on the area and can be higher than natural gas, making it essential to consider ongoing fuel costs.

2. Natural Gas Spa Heaters

Natural gas spa heaters are more common for fixed locations where a natural gas line is available.


  • Natural gas is usually more cost-effective to operate than propane, assuming natural gas availability.

  • These heaters are known for their consistent performance and are typically quieter and more energy-efficient.


  • Natural gas heaters require a professionally installed gas line, which could be an added expense and a limitation in specific locations.

  • While natural gas is typically cheaper than propane, prices can fluctuate depending on your region and market conditions.

3. Millivolt Gas Heaters

Another category of gas heater to consider is the Millivolt gas heater. This type of gas water heater uses a standing pilot light and does not require electricity.


  • Millivolt heaters can be used even during power outages, making them a reliable choice for many pool owners.

  • These heaters are typically less complex than electric ignition heaters, potentially lowering maintenance costs.


  • The standing pilot light in millivolt heaters uses a small amount of gas even when the heater is not actively heating the pool or spa, which can slightly increase operating costs.

  • Millivolt heaters generally aren't as energy-efficient as electronic ignition heaters.

4. Electronic Ignition Gas Heaters

Electronic ignition heaters, which are often the standard for many natural spa heaters gas and propane gas heaters, ignite the burner with an electric spark.


  • They are generally more energy-efficient than millivolt heaters because they don't have a standing pilot light that uses gas continuously.

  • These heaters typically start faster and heat water more quickly.


  • Electronic ignition heaters require an electrical connection, which can be a limitation in some locations.

  • They tend to be more complex and potentially have higher repair costs than simpler millivolt models.

Considering the pros and cons of each type will help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs, the nature of your pool or spa, and the conditions in your area.

Major Brands

Major Brands

When it comes to pool and spa gas heaters, there are several reputable brands that you might consider. Here we will focus on some of the major brands in the industry, including Jandy, Hayward, Pentair, Waterway, and Jacuzzi. These brands offer a range of models with varied features to cater to different needs and preferences.

1. Jandy Spa Heaters

Jandy is a respected brand known for its high-quality pool and spa products. Jandy spa heaters, whether gas or electric, are renowned for their durability, energy efficiency, and advanced features. 

Jandy's Pro Series JXi pool heater is an excellent example, offering a compact design, easy installation, and an impressive energy-efficiency rating.

2. Hayward Electric Spa Heaters

Hayward is another industry-leading brand known for its wide range of pool and spa products. While we are discussing gas heaters, it's worth noting that Hayward electric spa heaters, such as the Hayward HeatPro series, are very popular due to their efficiency and reliability. 

But their gas heaters also stand out with models like the Hayward Universal H-Series, which offers high energy efficiency and a low NOx emission rating.

3. Pentair Gas Heaters

Pentair is a trusted brand in the pool and spa industry, offering a variety of high-quality heaters. Pentair's MasterTemp High-Performance Heater is known for its fast heating, compact design, and energy-efficient operation. The MasterTemp series also boasts eco-friendly features, such as low NOx emission.

4. Waterway Gas Heaters

While maybe not as widely known as some other brands, Waterway offers reliable and efficient heating solutions. Their heaters are developed for durability, with features like corrosion-resistant housing and efficient fuel consumption.

5. Jacuzzi Gas Heaters

Jacuzzi is a well-recognized name in the spa industry, offering a range of products, including gas heaters. Jacuzzi gas heaters are designed to provide reliable performance and easy operation, helping to ensure your spa is always ready for use. They also focus on energy-efficient designs to help reduce operational costs.

Each brand has its strengths, and your choice may depend on your specific needs, budget, and the particular features you're looking for in a heater. 

It's recommended to compare different models from these brands, considering factors such as energy efficiency, durability, ease of use, and maintenance requirements.

Function and Features of Gas Heaters

Pool and spa gas heaters, whether propane gas heaters or natural gas spa heaters, play a crucial role in maintaining the desired water temperature, especially in cooler climates or during off-peak swimming months. Let's dive into the functioning and key features of these heaters.

Functioning of Gas Heaters

A gas pool heater burns gas in a combustion chamber, which heats up a series of coils known as a heat exchanger. Water from the pool or spa is then pumped through this heat exchanger. As the water flows through the coils of the heat exchanger, it absorbs the heat and is then returned to the pool or spa.

Propane gas heaters and natural gas spa heaters function similarly, but they use different fuel sources. The type of heater you choose would depend on the availability of the fuel (propane or natural gas), cost, and your specific requirements.

Key Features to Look For

When choosing a gas heater, there are several important features to consider:

  1. BTU Rating: The British Thermal Unit (BTU) rating of a heater determines its heating capability. Heaters with a higher BTU rating can heat water faster. However, a larger-than-required BTU rating may lead to unnecessary energy consumption and higher operational costs.

  2. Efficiency: The efficiency of a heater indicates how much of the consumed fuel is converted into heat. High-efficiency models can save you money in the long run, even if they are more expensive upfront. The best gas pool and natural spa heaters gas offer an 80-95% efficiency.

  3. Size: It's essential to choose the right size heater for your pool or spa. The size of the heater needed depends on the size of the pool or spa, the temperature you want to maintain, and how quickly you want the water to heat up. A professional can help you determine the right size for your needs.

  4. Durability: Look for a heater made from high-quality, corrosion-resistant materials to ensure it can withstand the elements and last a long time. The heater should be able to handle the constant heat, water exposure, and chemical balance of the pool or spa water.

  5. Digital Controls and Automation Compatibility: A heater with easy-to-use digital controls and compatibility with automation systems can make it much easier to control and monitor your pool or spa's temperature.

Remember, selecting the right heater involves a balance of these features based on your specific needs and budget. A professional can provide tailored advice based on your pool or spa's specifications and personal preferences.

Maintenance of Gas Heaters

Maintenance of Gas Heaters

Maintaining your pool or spa gas heater is crucial to ensure its efficiency, longevity, and safe operation. Both propane and natural gas spa heaters require regular checks and maintenance. Here are some general maintenance tips:

Regular Cleaning

Over time, dirt and debris can accumulate in the burner orifices and the pilot of your gas heater. Regularly clean these parts to ensure efficient operation. Also, if your heater is outdoors, make sure to clear any leaves or debris from the heater's top and sides.

Inspection for Corrosion and Leaks

Inspect the heater's exterior and the heat exchanger for any signs of corrosion or leaks. If you find any rust or signs of wear, it's essential to address the problem quickly to prevent further damage.

Professional Inspection

Having a professional perform an annual inspection can help spot potential problems before they become major issues. The inspector can check the gas connections, valves, and safety switches to ensure everything works correctly.

Maintaining Proper Water Chemistry

Maintaining the right chemical balance in your pool or spa is essential for the longevity of your heater. Improper water chemistry can cause corrosion and scale build-up, reducing the efficiency of your heater.

Timely Repairs

If you notice any changes in the performance of your heater, such as longer heating times or unusual noises, it's important to address these issues promptly. Ignoring small problems can lead to more significant issues in the future, resulting in costly repairs or replacements.

Remember, each brand and model of heater may have specific maintenance requirements, whether they are Jandy spa heaters, Hayward electric spa heaters, or Pentair gas heaters. Always refer to your heater's manual for specific maintenance instructions and safety precautions.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section will address some of the most frequently asked questions about pool and spa gas heaters. We aim to demystify the subject and provide clear, helpful answers to help you make the most informed decisions about your heating needs.

1. What's the difference between propane gas heaters and natural gas spa heaters?

Propane and natural gas heaters work in fundamentally the same way, but they use different fuel sources. Propane gas heaters use liquefied propane stored in tanks, whereas natural gas heaters use gas supplied through a utility line. The choice between the two often comes down to which type of fuel is more readily available and cost-effective in your area.

2. How do I choose between a gas heater and an electric heater for my spa?

The choice between gas spa heaters and electric spa heaters (like the Hayward electric spa heaters) depends on several factors, including the size of your spa, your heating needs, availability of natural gas or propane, and operational costs. Gas heaters usually heat water faster but may have higher operating costs, depending on local gas prices. Electric heaters may be cheaper to operate but typically take longer to heat the water.

3. Are gas heaters suitable for both pools and spas?

Yes, gas heaters are suitable for both pools and spas. They're effective in heating larger volumes of water, making them ideal for swimming pools, and can also provide the quick, intense heat often preferred for spas.

4. What's the lifespan of a pool or spa gas heater?

With proper maintenance, pool, and spa gas heaters can last several years. On average, a well-maintained heater can last 5 to 10 years, though some high-quality models, like the Jandy spa heaters, may last even longer. Regular servicing and timely repairs are key to maximizing the lifespan of your heater.

5. How energy-efficient are gas pool heaters and spa heaters?

Modern gas heaters are designed to be energy-efficient. Some models boast up to 95% efficiencies, meaning that 95% of their fuel is converted into heat. High-efficiency models can save you money on operating costs and are a more environmentally friendly choice.

Remember, every pool and spa setup is unique, so what works for one may not work for another. It's essential to consider your specific needs, and when in doubt, consult with a pool and spa heating professional.


Choosing the right pool and spa heater enhances your swimming experience, offering comfort and extended use. Whether natural gas or electric spa heaters, options are plentiful to suit your needs and budget. Notable brands like Jandy, Hayward, Pentair, Waterway, and Jacuzzi provide high-quality, efficient heaters to meet diverse requirements.

Maintaining your heater—through regular cleaning, professional checks, and prompt repairs—ensures its longevity and efficiency. Given the various factors influencing the choice of the heater, it's beneficial to seek professional advice for the best decision.

We hope this guide aids you in navigating the pool and spa gas heaters landscape, helping you enjoy a perfectly heated pool or spa.

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