Pool Heater Cost: Make an Informed Decision
To extend the use of your swimming pool, consider the value of investing in a pool heater. Pool heater cost could be a concern for some because there is such a wide range of options on the market, and each one can seem a bit complex. The cost of a pool heater is dependent on various factors, including the style, brand, and overall size capacity.
How much is a pool heater? Typically, pool heater costs range from $1,700 to $4,000, but they can be as low as $600 depending on what you are buying and what your needs are. An alternative is a solar pool heater, one that uses a solar panel to help with heating the pool using the sun’s UV rays. Solar pool heater costs range from $300 up to roughly $2,500 on average for a panel-based heater, depending on the number of solar panels in the system, and the brand of panel used.
Aside from size, numerous other factors play a role in the cost of pool heaters. This includes:
- The energy source. Solar pool heaters tend to be much more affordable than electric or gas heaters.
- The installation process. The amount of pre-work that needs to be done.
- The depth of the pool and type of pool. Inground pools that are deeper require more significantly powered systems to heat them.
As you consider the value of installing a pool heater, think about the financial considerations. Typically, these heaters are installed once and continue to work for years to come. Depending on the type, some may require more consistent maintenance. Some systems, like electric and gas, require access to fuel sources and ongoing energy costs associated with that process. Solar panel pool heaters don’t have the same energy requirements.
When choosing to install a pool heater, as well as whether or not the cost is affordable, be sure to think about the benefits. They include:
- Extending your swimming season longer into the fall
- Opening up your pool sooner in the spring
- Enjoying more of an even temperature throughout the year
- Reduce the risk of having that cold shock when first getting into the pool
- Enjoying the relaxation that the warm water offers, including soothing muscles, aches, and stiffness
A pool heater is a significant investment, but it comes with a lot of advantages for long-term use of your pool.
As a company dedicated to providing our clients with the best access to exceptional pool heaters and systems, Solar Pool Supply is your go-to provider for heaters. We make solar pool heating systems not only affordable but also easier to manage. We provide a free solar analysis to our clients, assisting with panel design, system sizing, plumbing diagrams, and much more. Our expert staff is here to assist with any questions you have to make your installation simple and hassle-free. Additionally, we only use the highest quality and best performing pool heaters in the industry.
Top 5 Best Pool Heaters Ranked by Cost
Because solar pool heaters tend to be the most sought after option, here’s our ranking of the best solar pool heaters available today by cost and functionality. These are worth your investment.
One of the best solar pool heaters on the market today. SwimJoy is also a competitively priced solar pool heater noted for its high wind security and strapless mounting design. This system is extremely durable and built to handle any climate’s weather conditions with ease. SwimJoy provides some of the best in freeze resistance, which makes it the ideal choice for those living in cold-weather climates. When installed in accordance with the installation manual, SwimJoy will last anywhere from 20 to 25+ years and will require extremely low annual maintenance, allowing you to enjoy your heated pool, worry-free. SwimJoy ticks all the boxes and receives among the highest level of customer praise from those who purchase it.
A reliable, well established model of solar swimming pool heater panel used across the country for decades. SwimEasy offers one of the lowest prices for a premium tier brand with solutions starting around $300 (SwimEasy Lite), and larger kits costing anywhere from around $1,500-$2,500 on average. These panels are fast and easy to set up and offer proven reliability with among the highest performing heating results available. SwimEasy solar panels typically last anywhere from 15 to 20 years and continue to be one of our best selling and highest rated models year after year. If you're looking for outstanding heating results fast, at an unbeatable price, the SwimEasy product line is a no-brainer.
SwimLux is a specially designed solar pool heating system for those who live in, or are installing solar panels in an area that does not receive an abundance of direct sunlight. Unglazed solar collectors will struggle to perform at optimal levels without adequate solar exposure. SwimLux’s semi-glazed design is purpose built for these conditions and delivers outstanding results in low sunlight/cloudy climates, coastal regions, and windy areas. Standard unglazed solar panels lose heat in windy climates as the air passing through the riser tubes strips away some of the heat from the collectors. SwimLux encapsulates its riser tubes inside a special glazing material which eliminates this source of heat loss, putting all that thermal energy back into your pool water where it belongs! This special glazing material also enables a greenhouse effect within the collector, significantly improving the performance of the system in climates lacking adequate direct solar exposure. If you live in a northern state, or a climate with frequent cloudy, windy conditions - SwimLux provides you with the solution to heat your pool with unmatched efficiency vs. standard unglazed models.
*For those looking to heat a small/medium size swimming pool connected with flexible pool hose: the SwimEasy Lite & SwimJoy Lite packages are specially designed for you! These kits contain revolutionary new connection adapters for connecting directly to flex hose type setups. The included hardware is also purpose built for these types of pools.
Types of Pool Heaters
Several swimming pool heater types exist, most commonly based on the type of energy they use. When deciding what is the right pool heater for your pool, consider the purchase price of that system, the installation of the heating system, and then the ongoing operating costs of maintaining it.
Gas pool heaters
Gas pool heaters use natural gas or propane to heat water as it circulates through the system. It does warm water quickly. Some people prefer this method because it doesn’t rely on anything but the availability of gas to function. If you live in a cold climate or an area that lacks much sun, this may be a good option. Gas pool heaters have copper coils that water runs along to heat.
- The costs of gas pool heaters run between $1,500 and $6,000 for the purchase of the heater itself.
- Installation costs for a gas pool heater are likely to cost around $1,500 or more, depending on the current setup and access to the energy supplies.
- Ongoing costs for a gas pool heater are typically $300 to $500 per month, depending on the cost of fuel. Propane tends to be much more expensive to buy, but natural gas typically requires a line to be run to the system.
Electric pool heaters
Electric pool heater costs are typically even higher than gas pool heaters, but they can be a good option for some environments. Electric heat pumps, more accurately, will pull heat from the air and then use that to heat the water in the pool. To work efficiently and reliably, they require an ambient air temperature of 55 degrees or higher – or they may be unable to properly heat the pool water.
Depending on the style selected, some will have a scroll compressor. These will work at lower temperatures outside.
- Costs of electric pool heaters themselves run between $2,000 and $6,000 for the newest models
- Installation costs for an electric pool heater when there is the need to install electric and plumbing hookups (that should be done by a licensed professional) can be $1,500 or more.
- Ongoing costs for electricity to power the system are typically around $50 to $100 per month and sometimes more depending on local rates
Solar pool heaters
Solar pool heaters use solar panels (collectors) to absorb free thermal heat from the sun. Pool water circulates through the panels, transfering that free thermal energy (heat) back to your swimming pool. Because swimming pools already have a filtration system pumping the water in a loop, solar heaters simply redirect that flow of water to the panels, meaning no extra pumping power is required! You simply connect the panels to your existing filtration system through flexible pool hose or PVC pipe, and allow the sun to do the rest! Once these systems are installed, operating costs are virtually eliminated as your pump is already running, you're just changing where the water goes to.
- Costs of solar pool heaters typically range from $300 to $3500, though some systems are larger and more expensive. The average cost of a DIY kit will range from $1,500-$3,000 for most inground residential swimming pools.
- Installation costs for solar pool heaters can vary tremendously depending on the type of installation (DIY vs. professional) and location. Professionally installed solar pool heating systems are typically priced as complete packages (installation/labor costs & materials combined), with prices averaging anywhere from $2,500-$7,000. DIY solar pool heaters eliminate labor costs and involve components readily available at a local hardware store - costing an average of $300-$750 for materials needed to complete the install (PVC pipe, fittings, glue, ext). With some basic hand tooling knowledge, DIY solar pool heaters provide homeowners with thousands of dollars in potential savings.
- If unable to complete your own DIY installation, and/or if no local solar company exists in your area to complete a professional installation, you may look to local private contractors, pool service companies and plumbing companies to complete the installation. Solar Pool Supply will provide the materials needed (shipped directly to your home), and is even available to assist your chosen contractor with any questions they have to complete the project successfully!
- Ongoing costs for operating a solar pool heater are extremely minimal, generally only $50-$100 per year!
Factors That Affect Pool Heater Cost
When selecting a pool heater, numerous factors must be considered, and this can impact pool heater cost.
Size and complexity of your pool
The larger and deeper the pool, the more powerful a pool heater is necessary. For example, a pool with a surface area of 300 square feet typically needs between 50,000 and 200,000 BTUs to keep it warm (or, for solar heaters, ideally between 150 to 300 square feet of solar panels). A pool with a surface area of up to 500 square feet may need as much as 300,000 BTUs (or between 250-500 square feet of solar panels).
The more BTUs you need, the higher the cost.
Additional pool features
Adding onto the pool with various pool features, like fountains, waterfalls, and hot tub areas, increases the energy demand, making them more expensive to run (they will require more power to operate).
Climate and location
If you live in an area with limited sun, gas pool heaters tend to be the best option for consistency in overall temperature. If you live in an area with great sun exposure, you will pay less for heating your pool using a solar panel system. More so, in a colder climate, you’ll need to use the heater more often to produce the type of warmth you need and want. That also increases the cost.
- For locations using gas pool heaters, adding a few solar panels as a pre-heater can dramatically decrease the operating cost of your gas heater. The solar panel system will operate first in the plumbing loop, using free thermal heat from the sun to keep the pool water warmer. With a warmer starting point, the amount of work needed to be done by your gas heater is greatly reduced (or even eliminated entirely, depending on the size of the solar heater), saving you money and time.
Energy efficiency of pool heaters
As you consider the options, look not just at the energy efficiency of the type of pool heater but also at the efficiency of the specific make and model provided by the manufacturer. Some systems are simply more efficient than others.
Type of Heater
The cost of a pool heater varies based on the type. Solar pool heaters are typically the least expensive, followed by heat pumps, and then gas heaters.
Size of Pool
The larger the pool, the larger the heater required and the more it will cost.
Depending on the climate and weather patterns in your area, you may need a more powerful or specialized heater, which can increase the cost.
The cost of installation can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the installation and the location of the heater. See Solar Pool Supply’s resources for DIY solar heater installation.
The cost of maintenance can add up over time, especially for gas heaters, which require regular professional maintenance.
Installation Considerations for Pool Heater Cost
Installing a pool heater comes with a number of factors depending on the type of heater used as well as the overall current setup.
There are three main factors to consider with installation:
Also notable is the investment in additional equipment and structural elements. For some, for example, the installation of a pool heater may also include permits for the installation (which could range from $50 up to $500 depending on your community's laws).
If you have an existing pool heater, you may have to pay labor and disposal costs for the removal of it. This may range from $25 to $50.
New pool heater installation costs are dependent, in part, on the complexity of the project. Systems that require hookup installation will cost more. Those that require upgrading power systems and natural gas lines will also cost more overall.
Cost Breakdown of Pool Heater Maintenance and Repair
All swimming pool heaters need some level of repair and upkeep. Like all working components of your pool and home, maintenance is necessary to keep a swimming pool heater working properly. This will include an annual inspection, generally prior to the opening of the pool, to ensure proper connectivity and function. You may need to replace components from time to time. Replacement parts are not as common but can be expensive in gas and electric models.
Factors that impact the cost include:
- The type of pool heater: Solar pool heaters tend to be inexpensive to maintain, with panels that can last 10 to 20 or more years. Electric and gas pool heaters may need replacement parts every other year, depending on conditions.
- Age and condition of the pool heater: Over time, most pool heaters will need replacement components, with the most expensive being a replacement motor.
Frequency of use and maintenance: You can expect pool heaters that are used into the winter months or early in the spring, as well as those that run all of the time to wear down sooner, requiring repairs more frequently.
Pool Heater Cost Savings for Owners
There are several things you can do to keep pool heater cost low.
Invest in energy-saving practices.
- Make sure to turn off the heater when not in use.
- Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the functionality of it.
- Be sure to use it consistently rather than turning it on and off frequently.
Utilize cost-effective maintenance strategies.
- Always have your pool heater serviced before the start of the season.
- Keep all filters and the pool water clean.
- Have repairs taken care of as soon as you notice a problem.
Additional long-term cost savings tips.
- Use a solar pool cover or solar inflatable rings to help support the heater's function. Pool covers also help retain heat in your pool, minimizing heat loss that can result through evaporation and cold night time temperatures.
- Invest in an energy-efficient model.
- Look for a pool heater with a long-term warranty.
Pool Heater Cost FAQ
Do you have questions? Here are some of the most asked questions about swimming pool heater installation and costs.
How Much Does a Pool Heater Cost?
A pool heater cost is dependent on the heater type, size, capacity, and power used. Most of the time, installing a pool heater will cost between $300 and $7,000, with costs in the mid-range most common.
Is it worth putting a heater in a pool?
A solar pool heater or another type can be a very good investment if you want to swim in your pool longer into the colder portions of the year or, depending on the climate where you live, if you want to swim all year long. For many, an unheated pool means pool temperatures that are simply not warm enough for comfortable, enjoyable swimming outside of a few weeks of the year. Adding a pool heater will enable you to enjoy your pool for greatly extended periods of time.
Are pool heaters expensive to run?
Typically, this is dependent on the type of fuel that you use. The most expensive to run are gas or propane heaters. Solar pool heaters operate at extremely low, virtually negligible added operational costs. Because your pool pump is already running and sending water through a filtration system, solar heaters simply redirect that flow of water to a group of solar panels. The solar panels absorb the sun's free thermal energy and transfer the heat to the pool water, which is sent back to your pool, completing the “solar loop”. The only additional cost is if you need to run your pool pump slightly longer each day, and in some cases, run it at a slightly higher RPM to assure sufficient flow through the panels. Both of these factors result in extremely low additional costs, ranging from roughly $50-$100 a year.
What is the cheapest way to heat a pool?
The least expensive way to heat a pool is using a solar heater. Solar panel systems are more expensive than solar covers, but they do work well.
What Affects the Cost of Heating a Pool?
To heat pool spaces, you have to consider your climate, the surface area of the pool, water temperature, the depth of the pool, and the type of system you hope to install, such as a gas, electric, or solar pool heater.
How Does an Electric Pool Heat Pump Work?
An electric pool heat pump works by pulling heat from the air. The water runs through the electric heat pump, warming it before flowing back into the pool.
How to Save Money on Pool Heater Equipment & Operation Costs
Shop around and do your homework to get a great deal on a reliable brand. You will want to read through reviews on both the product, as well as the company you're buying from (or company completing your installation). Selecting a reliable brand with your equipment, along with an experienced, knowledgeable supplier and/or installer will assure your money is well invested and you only purchase the system once.
Inexpensive options exist (especially for solar heaters) and these can end up costing far more over time. Opting for a cheaper option up-front may result in you needing to replace the system every couple years. Investing in a high-quality system on the first go around can save you a significant amount of money down the line. All the brands carried by Solar Pool Supply are manufactured to last anywhere from 10 to 25 (or more) years. This means you buy a system once, rather than every 2 or 3 years. We also provide the quality assistance and planning needed to assure the system will last as long as it’s intended.
If you plan on using a gas or electric heater, you can save a significant amount of money on your gas or electric bill by installing a few solar panels and running the solar heater as a pre-heater. Keeping your pool as warm as possible during your anticipated swimming season will minimize the work needing to be done by the gas or electric heater, meaning a warmer pool faster, with greatly reduced utility bills. You always want to start with the lowest energy cost as the first source of heating. Because solar thermal energy is free, it is the best place to start, offsetting as much of your gas or electric needs as possible.
Invest in Your Pool and Your Wallet: Choose Solar Pool Supply for Cost-Effective Pool Heaters and Services
Pool heater cost is related to many factors. Once you take the time to consider the needs of your pool, you can then work with the team at Solar Pool Supply to choose the best pool heater and receive expert assistance with design and project planning. Solar Pool Supply provides fully customized quotes for your specific needs, and ships equipment directly to your home. Installations can then be completed by thehomeowner (DIY installation), or through a third-party private contractor should you decide to seek professional assistance.
Contact Solar Pool Supply today to learn more about our pool heaters, replacement parts, and accessories. We look to be your primary source for reliable information, whether you end up making your purchase through us, or through another company.