Pool Heaters and What You Must Know

It’s a warm sunny day. Like an eager beaver, you have been waiting for a much-needed break. The long office hours have exhausted you mentally and physically, or you are a student and are done with your exams, or maybe you are just fed up with being a couch potato and just Netflix and chilling!

Either way, you look forward to stretching those muscles and let the warm water current take over your senses. The clear blue water soothes your soul. You take a step forward towards the pool and dip a toe in the water. To your horror!! The icy cold water sends a shiver down your spine. Despite the warm weather, the pool water has successfully deceived you!

The temperature of the pool water is a very crucial aspect when it comes to swimming. Especially in the winter and colder regions, this becomes problematic. The temperature of the swimming pool can be kept warm or as required by installing a pool heater.

A pool heater is a device that aids in keeping the pool water warm. The principle of heating the water changes according to the type of energy involved in heating. The three types of pool heater commonly used are:

  • Solar pool heater
  • Natural gas pool heater
  • 3.Electric heat pump pool heater

All three types have their share of pros and cons.

The cost of installing a pool heater is very high. Hence you should keep the frequency of usage of the pool in mind (like, is it a community pool or a private pool?) before purchasing one.

Types of Pool Heaters:

Solar Pool Heater  

As the name suggests, solar pool heaters utilize the sun’s solar energy to heat the pool water. You must install solar panels to trap the solar energy. The panels can be installed, most preferably on the rooftops or elsewhere, depending on the area required.

The pool water is passed through the solar cells. The cells transfer their heat energy to the water, thus warming it up. To heat pool water efficiently, you require installing solar panels of at least half the pool size. Sometimes, the size of the solar panels exceeds the pool size.

Before installing the solar pool heater, you should keep in mind the area requirement, and the intensity and amount of sunlight received every day.

How Much Does a Solar Pool Heater Costs?

You don’t need to pay for solar energy since it’s a renewable and free energy source. But you will need to pay for the installation of solar panels and pumps. The electricity required to circulate the pool water through the pipes to the solar panels and back will also account for an additional cost.

The cost can range anywhere between $300 to $900 per year, depending on the area and the utility rates.

Installation of Solar Pool Heater:

The installation charges can vary from $2500 to $ 9000, depending on the solar panel design, the area of the swimming pool, and where it is to be installed. The installation process may require 1-3 days as you need to have a permit, and solar panels require inspections.

Advantages of a Solar Pool Heater:

  • Since solar panels use a renewable energy source for heating the water, they are an environmental friend.
  • The one-time installation process is comparatively inexpensive as later you only must pay for the electricity bill.
  • If maintained properly, the solar panels have a long life span and last about 15- 20 years.
  • Because you are opting for an environment-friendly option, you are also eligible for a solar tax credit (26% of the installation charges are credited back).

Disadvantages of a Solar Pool Heater:

  • As solar heaters are dependent on the sun’s light, there are seasonal and regional variations in the amount of sunlight received and the heated water. They won’t work in cloudy, rainy, or foggy climates and at night, making it inconsistent.
  • You must bore the initial cost of installing the solar panel and the water pumps. The cost of a solar panel depends on the quality and can be in the range of a few thousand dollars.
  • If you have a large swimming pool, the space required to install the solar panel will vary accordingly. Hence, there is a space limitation.
  • You will also need to incur an extra cost if your roof needs work to be done, or if you are installing a solar panel on the ground, you will need to install a mounting system.
  • Solar heaters take a longer time to be installed as compared to other heaters.
  • Solar pool heaters take longer to heat the pool water.

Electric Water Heater

Electric water heater contains electric pumps which pull heat from the air and transfer that heat into the pool water. For the electric pump to efficiently heat the pool water, the surrounding air temperature should be at least 55-degree Fahrenheit.

Nowadays, new technology has come into the market. Some electric pumps use scroll compressors to heat the pool water; these scroll compressors require relatively less surrounding air temperature.

An electric water heater typically costs between 100 USD to 200 USD per month, making it very much cost-effective than a solar water heater and gas water heater.

Installation of electric water heater does not take much time, but its installation cost is too high, which goes near about 1000 USD to 2000 USD. On a positive note, it has a longer life than the gas water heater and solar water heater.

Advantages of Electric Water Heater

  • Electric water heaters are more environment-friendly as compared to gas water heaters.
  • Electric water heaters have more life span than gas water heaters; typically, it can be between 10-15 years.
  • It consumes less energy than a gas water heater; therefore, it is energy efficient.
  • It has low monthly operating costs as compared to the gas water heater.

Disadvantages of Electric Water Heater

  • It takes more time to warm the pool as compared to the gas water heater.
  • It requires air temperature to be about 55-degree Fahrenheit.
  • The installation and the purchase cost of an electric water heater will be more than the gas water heater.

Gas Pool Water Heater

Gas pool water heater does not rely on temperature or sunlight, unlike solar pool heaters and electric water pipes. Therefore, people who live in colder climatic areas find the gas pool water heater very appealing and helpful.

Gas pool water heaters have a high operating cost as compared to the electric water heater. Typically, its cost can be in the range of 300 USD to 500 USD per month.

It is unnecessary to run the gas water heater all the time; it must run only in the winter and rainy seasons. When the temperature is quite hot in summer, it can warm the pool quickly by keeping the pool heater on for only a few minutes. But whenever we run the gas water heater, its cost will be more than the electric water heater and solar water heater.

The installation cost of a gas water heater is relatively less as compared to an electric water heater. It ranges from 1000$ to 1500$, which also depends upon the size of the pool. However, pools with larger sizes will typically require expensive gas water heaters.

Advantages of Gas Pool Water Heater

  • The purchase cost of a gas water heater is less expensive as compared to an electric water heater.
  • Whenever the gas water heater is on, it can heat the pool very quickly than electric and solar water heaters.
  • The gas pool water heater does not require warm air or sunlight to operate.

Disadvantages of Gas Pool Water Heater

  • Gas Pool water heater emits more fuel due to which it is less environment friendly than the electric and solar water heater.
  • The gas pool water heater is less energy enough as compared to solar water heaters.
  • Gas heaters have a significantly less life span than electric and solar water heaters, typically five years.
  • The operating cost of gas water heaters is also very much higher than electric and solar water heaters.

Comparison of Electric, Gas and Solar Water heater

●      Price

The price of an electric and gas pool heater depends upon numerous factors like the average temperature in your area—the size of the pool, the amount of sunlight that a pool receives daily. Pools with a large size will have more cost than a pool with a smaller size.

The cost of a gas heater is more than the electric heater; the average cost per month of a gas heater is around 200 USD to 400 USD. However, the electric gas heater cost ranges between 100 USD to 200 USD; even if the electric heater has an additional cost of installation, it is saving the cost in the long term.

The initial cost of the gas water heater is in the range of 1000 USD to 1500 USD. However, the initial cost of an electric water heater is 1500 USD to 5000 USD, and the cost of the solar water heater is in the range of 4000 USD to 7000 USD.

So, gas water heaters have less initial cost as compared to solar and electric heaters.

●      Usage

We should also keep in mind how and when the pool is used while considering the cost of both electric and gas pool heaters. A gas pool heater can warm the pool very fast. Therefore, we can run the gas heater only when we go for a dip. Otherwise, there is no need to keep the gas heater ON all the time.

However, the electric heater needs to be kept ON all the time. So, if you are going for a dip only occasionally, then gas heaters will be recommended compared to electric heaters.

If you are staying near a sunny area, you can opt for Solar Energy water heaters instead of electric and gas pool heaters. Installation for solar energy water is costly, but it is the cheapest and the cleanest source of energy that can be utilized.

The cost will depend on how many solar panels will be required and how much direct sunlight our pool rooftop will receive.

●      Energy Consumption

Solar pool heating systems consume very low energy compared to gas and electric pool heater, and the lifespan of the solar heating system is three years more than gas pool heaters.

●      Operating Cost

The operating cost of gas heaters is Mid-High, typically 300 USD to 500 USD. However, the operating cost of Electric heaters is very high, typically in the range of 500 USD to 600 USD. The operating cost of solar water heaters is very low. Usually, it is none.

●      Lifespan

The life span of gas water heaters is between 5 years to 10 years. The life span of electric water heaters is 10 to 15 years whereas, the life span of solar water heaters is more than 15 years which makes the solar water heater the best for its life span.

●      Eco-Friendliness

Gas water heaters are less eco-friendly, while electric and solar water heaters are eco-friendlier. They emit fewer fuels like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen than electric and solar water heaters.

We can reduce the pool heating costs by applying swimming pool covers. The cost can also be reduced by operating and installing an efficient swimming pool pump and managing the swimming pool’s temperature by making it more energy-efficient.


The most popular pool heaters used usually are electric water heaters as they have many advantages compared to a gas water heater and solar water heater. Nowadays solar water heaters are also being considered by many customers as it saves more cost compared to electric and gas water heaters.

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