Swimming Pool Heater/Chiller Units: What You Need to Know

What is a Swimming Pool Heater/Chiller Unit?

A swimming pool heater/chiller unit is a device that uses a heat exchanger to regulate the temperature of the water in a swimming pool, either heating or cooling it depending on the current need. It heats the pool water for comfortable swimming in cooler weather or cools the water during hot summer months. These units work by transferring heat energy from the air or the water into the pool water, or by the use of internal cooling fan units that chill the pool water as it circulates through the pump, depending on whether the heater/chiller is being used for heating or cooling.

Heat pump units and pool fan chillers are often used by pool owners for the same purposes, although such standalone devices can only warm the water, or cool it— not both. In regions where the seasonal air temperature runs consistently either cold or hot, such single-purpose units are adequate. But a combination heater/chiller unit is ideal for those who live in regions where the temperature fluctuates widely throughout the year.

Swimming pool heater/chiller units are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners who want to extend their swimming season and save money on heating costs. They are an efficient and effective way to regulate the temperature of your swimming pool, but like any other mechanical temperature control system, they have their pros and cons. Below we explore the pros and cons of swimming pool heater/chillers, so you can make an informed decision when choosing a temperature regulation system for your swimming pool.


Energy Efficient: Once installed, swimming pool heater/chiller units are an energy-efficient way to regulate the water temperature of your pool. Unlike traditional gas heaters, which require a constant supply of fuel, heater/chillers only require electricity to operate. This means that they are significantly cheaper to run than gas-fueled pool heating units.

Long Lifespan: Swimming pool heater/chillers have a long lifespan compared to other heating or cooling systems. They are designed to last up to 20 years or more, and with proper maintenance, they can operate efficiently for a long time. They are also durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions, making them a great investment for your pool.

Environmentally Friendly: Swimming pool heater/chillers are environmentally friendly and don’t produce any harmful emissions. They use a natural refrigerant that doesn’t damage the ozone layer or contribute to global warming. This makes them a great choice for homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the environment.

Easy to Use: Swimming pool heater/chiller units are very easy to use. Once installed, all you have to do is set the desired temperature, and the device itself will do the rest. You do not have to worry about constant monitoring or maintenance, as they are designed to operate automatically.

Consistent Temperature: Heater/chillers provide a consistent temperature for your pool, which means that you can swim comfortably regardless of the weather outside. They can maintain a constant temperature, even on really hot days or during very cold nights, enabling greater pool usage and extending your swimming season by months in either direction.


Initial Cost: One of the biggest drawbacks of swimming pool heater/chiller combination units is their initial cost. They are more expensive than traditional gas heaters or standalone heat pumps, and the installation process can be complicated. However, the initial investment can be offset by energy savings over time.

In today’s market, you can reasonably expect to purchase a new pool heater/chiller combo for between $6,100 to $6,500. However, the size of your pool, the manufacturer, and the unit type may also contribute to the final cost. The larger your pool is, the larger your heater/chiller will need to be to effectively control the temperature of your pool water, and the more expensive it may be.

Dependence on Electricity: Swimming pool heater/chiller units are entirely dependent on electricity to operate, which can be a problem in areas with frequent power outages. If your pool is in an area with a seriously unreliable power supply, you may want to consider other (gas-powered) heating options.

Lower Heat Output: Swimming pool heater/chiller units have a lower overall heat output compared to traditional gas heaters, which means they may take longer to heat your pool to the desired temperature. This can be a problem if you need to heat your pool quickly, such as when you have unexpected guests.

Maintenance: Although swimming pool heater/chillers require less maintenance than traditional gas heaters, they still require regular maintenance to ensure their efficiency. Filters need to be cleaned or replaced, and the outdoor unit needs to be kept free of debris. The internal fans of the chilling component may need to be replaced or serviced over time. This can be a hassle for some homeowners who do not want to spend time maintaining their pool temperature control system.


Is a Swimming Pool Heater/Chiller Unit Worth It?

Swimming pool heater/chiller units are a great investment for homeowners who want an efficient and environmentally friendly way to heat their pool. They are energy-efficient, have a long lifespan, and are easy to use. However, they do have their drawbacks, such as their initial cost and dependence on electricity. They are also slower to reach optimal temperatures in cold climate conditions and require regular maintenance to ensure their efficiency. Despite these drawbacks, a swimming pool heater/chiller unit can be a wonderful addition to your swimming pool setup, extending your swimming season and greatly increasing your overall enjoyment of your pool.

Timers and Automated System Controls

An additional option that can really enhance the overall usefulness of a swimming pool heater/chiller unit is the inclusion of automated timer controls. Most models are available with built-in thermostats and temperature regulators, but many also come equipped with programmable timer units to turn the unit on or off at predetermined intervals throughout the day or week. This not only saves the pool owner money over the long run by reducing energy costs to heat or chill the pool water if the pool isn’t in use, but it also adds the benefit of allowing the pool owner to control the pool temperature with pin-point accuracy, pre-setting the heater/chiller to activate at specific times during the day to ensure the pool is at the desired temperature when the owner is ready to use it.

Such timer units can also be incorporated into the heater/chiller externally, added by tapping directly into the internal electric feed to provide the same functionality. Even the latest modern smart controls can be added to the system.

Wouldn’t it be nice to set the timer so that when you come home from work or want your pool ready for the weekend, the water will be at the perfect temperature and ready for a swim? That level of control can be quite an attractive option!

As detailed above, swimming pool temperature control solutions are readily available, and the combination heater/chiller can be the superior choice. The use of one can help you transform your pool area into the perfect space for relaxing, entertaining, and swimming, for many more months out of the year.

Happy swimming!

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