Average Pool Heater Costs

Average Pool Heater Costs

Anthony Barnes

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Pool heaters are essential parts of swimming pools. They provide warmth and comfort to swimmers during cold weather.

In addition, they also prevent water from freezing in winter.

Pool heaters come in various sizes and shapes. The average cost of these heaters ranges between $1,500-$5,000 depending on their size and features.

A new study has revealed that the average price of pool heaters has increased by nearly 50% over the last five years.

This means that pool owners should expect to pay around $2,400 for a new heater.

The impressive cost of pool heaters means that they are considered a luxury for most swimming pool owners, especially when you consider the running and maintenance costs as well as the upfront cost!

However, as you cannot swim in the cooler months without a heater, you might be missing out on using your pool all year round. 

Today we’re going to be looking at how much the average pool heater costs thanks to new data that has been recorded. 

Pool Heaters Come In All Shapes And Sizes

A lot of people think that pool heaters are expensive because they need to be large or have lots of features. But this is not always true.

There are many small pool heaters available which can fit into any sized pool. For example, there are even some portable pool heaters which can be used indoors.

There are also different types of pool heaters available. These include electric heaters, gas heaters and solar heaters.

Let’s take a further look into all of these heaters and their average price points. 

Average Cost Of Pool Heaters

Type Of HeaterAverage Price
Solar HeaterBetween $2,300 and $9,600
Electric Resistance HeaterBetween $1,200 and $6,200
Gas HeaterBetween $1,300 and $6,300
Electric Heat PumpBetween $2,300 and $7,700

Now let’s take a closer look into all of these heaters to determine which could be the best for you, as well as looking at a breakdown of all of their costs if you were to choose that one. 

Solar Heater

Breakdown Of CostsPrice Range
Heater and AccessoriesBetween $1,800 and $8,100
LaborBetween $500 and $1,500
Overall CostBetween $2,300 and $9,600

The solar heaters are the most expensive of the pool heaters when it comes to their upfront cost, but the labor and maintenance costs are generally lower over time.

In fact, a solar heater often will end up paying for itself!

Solar heaters work by converting solar energy from the sun into heat thanks to a solar panel on the top of it.

This renewable and free source of energy means that you’ll never have to pay to heat your pool from the grid. 

These heaters are eco friendly and don’t require much maintenance, and they also tend to last for between 25 and 30 years. 

Some people don’t like solar heaters as they warm the water more gradually than other types of heaters.

The average is around 1 to 3 degrees every minute. You also won’t get much heat if the sun hasn’t been out for the day. 

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Uses renewable and free energy
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Can last between 25 and 30 years

Cons

  • Large upfront cost
  • Requires sunlight to work
  • Slow rate of heating
  • Doesn’t work well with north-facing pools 

Electric Resistance Heater

Breakdown Of CostsPrice Range
Heater and AccessoriesBetween $700 and $5,200
LaborBetween $500 and $1,000
Overall CostBetween $1,200 and $6,200

Electric resistance heaters pass the pool water directly over a heating unit to warm it up. This is different from most electric heat pumps that warm the water up through the air.

These heaters are great for people living in colder climates in which they need a fast-acting pump all year round. 

The main issue with these pumps is that they are inefficient and therefore they’re going to cost you more to run and maintain.

So, you’ll certainly see a difference in your energy bill when it comes to an electric resistance heater. 

Pros

  • Low start up cost
  • Creates clean energy
  • Can be used well in both warm and cooler climates

Cons

  • Inefficient at times
  • High running costs will increase your energy bill  

Gas Heater

Average Pool Heater Costs
Breakdown Of CostsPrice Range
Heater and AccessoriesBetween $800 and $4,800
LaborBetween $500 and $1,500
Overall CostBetween $1,300 and $6,300

Gas heaters tend to be the most commonly used pool heaters because it’s like getting the best of both worlds – the upfront cost is rather small and the heater is able to change the temperature of water quickly. 

Another benefit is that propane gas heaters offer complete control over the water temperature, so you can heat and cool the water whenever you want to. 

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, gas heaters tend to be more expensive to run day to day, so you might end up spending more in the long run.

Another potential issue is that gas can serve as a threat to your household if misused. 

Pros

  • Cheap upfront costs
  • You can control the exact temperature
  • Quick to heat water

Cons

  • Expensive running costs
  • Poses a potential risk to your household, unlike all the other pool heaters on this list. 

Electric Heat Pump

Breakdown Of CostsPrice Range
Heater and AccessoriesBetween $1,800 and $6,700
LaborBetween $500 and $1,000
Overall CostBetween $2,300 and $7,700

Electrical heat pumps use a 220 volt cable and an amp breaker to turn energy from the grid into heat.

This is the most common type of heat pump, although this doesn’t stop them from being rather expensive.

The cost of operation, however, isn’t much at all, so this makes up for the higher initial cost. 

Electric heat pumps are energy-efficient and therefore keep your emissions low and carbon footprint down.

The lower amount of energy you’re using will also keep costs down.

If you’re a person who enjoys using their pool almost everyday, then this is a good heater for you.

They heat the pool quite slowly – particularly in colder months – so only using them occasionally will take a long time for your pool to heat up. 

Pros

  • Energy-efficient and eco-friendly
  • Low costs to run the heater
  • Good for people using their pools everyday

Cons

  • High upfront cost
  • Rather slow to heat water in the colder months

Additional Costs When Installing A Pool Heater

Once you have chosen the right pool heater for you and have determined the average cost of it, you might be hoping that it’s the end of your spending.

However, there are several additional costs involved when installing a pool heater that might apply to your circumstances. Let’s take a look at these now.

The Removal Of Your Old Pool Heater

When replacing your old pool heater, you need to make sure that you remove it properly.

If you don’t do this correctly, you could damage your new heater or even cause injury to yourself.

Make sure that you follow the instructions carefully and ensure that you remove the old unit safely.

Removing an old pool heater will probably set you back between $25 and $50, although if you’re hiring a professional to install your new heater, they might remove it for free. 

Installing New Pool Heater Hook Ups

A hook up will be needed if you don’t already have one attached to your pool.

Using an electric or gas heater will require a special hook up, and solar heaters will need to be attached to a working solar panel. 

Adding hook ups to your pool can cost between $500 and $1,500, while adding a new gas line will cost up to $800 and an electrical line will cost up to $2,000. 

If you’re in need of a new water line, these can be priced at between $300 and $2,000.

Solar heaters should come with a solar panel, so you don’t need to worry about purchasing one of these as well. 

Installation Costs

Average Pool Heater Costs

The overall cost of installation is all going to depend on whether you opt for hiring a professional or doing the work yourself.

Hiring a professional will usually cost more than doing it yourself, but not always. It depends on how many hours you spend on the job and what kind of materials you’ll need. 

As a general rule, you could save yourself between $300 and $1,000 on installation costs by doing it yourself.

Bear in mind that this is only a viable option if you have the hookups and gas/electric lines already installed and ready to go. 

It’s important that you only opt for the DIY route if you’re confident in installing a pool heater yourself.

An incorrectly installed pool heater can actually cost you more in the long run, and you’ll probably have to get it refitted by a professional anyway. 

Overall Average Installation Costs

Most pool heaters that are professionally installed will cost between $1,600 and $4,000. The average price will be $2,800 to install a new pool heater or to replace an old one. 

Solar heaters and electric heat pumps are the most expensive options, with an overall cost of around $8,000 for both the heater and its installation.

Before you write them off completely, however, remember that these heaters cost less to run day to day. 

Electric resistance heaters and gas heaters will cost between $1,200 and $6,200 to buy and install, but you’ll be paying more for them in the long run.

Having said that, these heaters can raise the water temperature much quicker than other heaters, so this might be worth the larger running costs. 

Average Cost of Heating A Pool

The average annual cost of heating a pool depends on a number of factors, such as the weather and the size of the pool.

All of these factors are going to influence the amount that you’re spending on heating your pool. Let’s take a look at these average costs for heating below. 

The Weather

One of the biggest factors that affect the cost of heating your pool is the weather. If the weather is cold, then you’ll pay more to heat your pool.

This is because you’ll have to use more energy to keep the pool warm. You’ll also pay more for electricity and gas. 

Poor weather conditions, such as wind or rain, can also make the cost of heating your pool higher.

Generally speaking, it costs much more to heat your pool during the winter than it does in the summer.

If you live in a warmer climate, you might not even need to heat your pool during the summer! 

Are You Using A Cover?

A cover will keep the heat within the pool and just on the surface of the water, which will allow it to heat quicker.

If you don’t use a cover, most of the heat will escape into the air and cause you to waste money as it will take much longer to heat the water. 

A pool cover will be most helpful for people who keep their pools heated throughout every day and night.

In fact, a high quality cover can help you to cut energy costs up to 70%! As you can imagine, a pool cover can be extremely cost-saving in the winter. 

Bear in mind that this is dependent on you having a high-quality pool cover rather than a cheap one. An automatic cover professionally installed can cost between $650 and $2,200. 

However, a solar cover is cheaper at around $50 to $500.

This type of cover also uses renewable energy which means that you can benefit from lower running costs from your heater. 

If you really want to protect your pool from the weather and other external elements, you can build an enclosure around the pool which will set you back between $5,000 and $14,200.

This will help to keep your pool warmer for longer without needing the heater running constantly. 

The Size Of The Pool

Average Pool Heater Costs

Another factor that affects the cost of heating your swimming pool is how big it is.

Smaller pools tend to be easier to heat, as they require less energy to maintain the same temperature.

Larger pools will cost more to heat, as they will require more energy to maintain the same level of warmth. 

You should also consider whether you’d like to heat your pool year round or only when required.

Most people choose to heat their pools all year round, however, if you do decide to heat them only when needed, you could save some money by using a smaller pool heater. 

The general rule is that you need to increase the heater size by 50,000 BTU for every 5-10,000 gallons of water that your pool holds.

Pools in colder climates, however, might need to increase the BTUs by 100,000. 

Here is a table to help illustrate this a little easier: 

Pool Size (Gallons)Pool Surface Area (Square Feet)Size Of Heater Needed (BTUs)
Between 1,000 and 10,000Up to 300 Between 100,000 and 200,000
Between 10,000 and 20,000Between 300 and 500Between 200,001 and 300,000
Between 20,000 and 40,000Between 500 and 800Between 300,001 and 400,000
Between 40,000 and 80,000Between 800 and 1,200400,001 and over

How Hot Do You Like Your Water?

If you’re wanting to heat your water to higher than average temperature, then it is going to cost you slightly more in running costs.

This is because you will need to add more gas or electricity to the heater to achieve the desired temperature. 

However, if you are happy with the current temperature of the water in your pool, then it’s best to leave things as they are. It is better to have a warm pool than a cold one! 

Average Energy Prices 

The cost of energy around your area is going to alter how much you are paying for your pool heater. For example, energy prices differ from state to state.

So does the cost of gas for gas heaters. You should look around for the average energy prices for gas and electricity before determining which heater you want to purchase. 

If the cost of energy is lower in your state then you might not mind using a heater with higher energy needs.

However, if energy already costs a lot in your area, you might prefer to use a heater that doesn’t require much energy while it’s running.

Average Complete Cost Of Running A Pool Heater

When looking at the complete cost of owning a pool heater, there are many factors to take into account.

These include the initial price of purchasing the heater itself, the price of installing the heater, the ongoing maintenance costs associated with the heater and any repairs that may occur. 

As well as these factors, you’ll also need to think about how often you plan on having your pool heated.

If you don’t regularly use your pool then you won’t need to spend so much time maintaining it.

Here is a summary of the average costs for each type of pool heater that we have looked at today. 

Heater TypeAverage Cost Per MonthAverage Cost Per Year
SolarBetween $0 and $10Between $0 and $120
Electric ResistanceBetween $175 and $600Between $2,100 and $7,200
Natural GasBetween $200 and $400Between $1,400 and $4,800
PropaneBetween $200 and $850Between $2,500 and $10,200
Electric Heat PumpBetween $120 and $200Between $700 and $2,400

Summary

So there we go! That was our guide to choosing the right pool heater for your home and budget. We hope that you found it useful and informative.

There is much more to think about than just the upfront cost – so don’t automatically get sucked into a heater with a cheaper starting price. 

If you want to save on costs, it is very important to invest in a pool cover.

We also find it helpful to check out the average costs of energy in your local area before making your final decision. Good luck! 

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age