Mike the Poolman

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I want a heater on my pool

June 10, 2022

I regularly receive inquiries from people who want to “heat their pool” or “install a heater” on their pool.
Rather than having to type out a response each time, I’m writing this post so others around the world are educated on the process and so I can copy and paste this article to answer questions.

The four ways to heat your pool:

  • Solar
  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Mother Nature

Solar

Solar is the best value for your money. I want a heater on my poolYou have to pay to have panels installed on your roof and after that it’s pretty much free. When it gets hot outside the panels on the roof absorb the heat and transfer that heat to your pool. As of 2022, solar systems are $5K and up

Gas

Gas heaters are the easiest to install, IF you have an existing gas line at your pool equipment pad. I want a heater on my poolWe install the heater and tap into the gas line and you can heat your pool year around. You have to pay for the gas (see this article on the cost to run a gas pool heater) when you use the heater.
If you DON’T have a gas line at your equipment pad then you would need to have one run from the gas meterI want a heater on my pool to your pool equipment. This is usually a deal-breaker. As of 2022 a heater costs about $4K installed (they were 3K a year ago!). But the gas line usually costs more than the heater to install!

I don’t know any pool companies that install gas lines (other than at new construction) so you would need to contact a plumbing company to do the work. Depending on the length of the gas pipe run needed and the obstacles to get from the meter to the pool equipment will determine a big portion of that cost.

Electric

Electric heat pumps are becoming more and more popular in California. I want a heater on my poolThey are getting better and better in performance BUT there are some special requirements: you need a large space to put the LARGE heat pump and you need electrcial wire large enough to carry the amperage that heat pumps require. Most existing electrical wires aren’t large enough to support the heat pump. New wire (and most times larger conduit to support the larger wire) are needed in addition to the space on the pad needed.
Remember: when the pool was built they weren’t anticipating a heater for the pool so they poured the concrete pad as small as possible to keep it from being an eye-sore. Now that you want a heater, you don’t have the concrete space needed. Many times you need to increase the size of the concrete pad to accommodate your new heater. This is usually a deal-breaker. The cost to install a heat pump is $8K and up.

Mother Nature

This is the least expensive way to heat your swimming pool: God does it the old-fashioned way- it weather gets hot and your pool warms. You can help the situation by installing a solar cover or some kind of device to hold the heat in the pool.

My advice

If you can afford it, get solar.
Always use a solar cover (or rings, or squares…) whether you have solar panels, a gas heater, a heat pump or nothing at all. A solar cover will help trap heat in the pool at night so you minimize the heat loss at night when the weather cools off.
And, what do I have on my pool? Solar panels for the summer, a gas heater to heat the pool early and late in the season when the solar panels cant get the pool up to the temperature we want, and, we use solar squares all the time to retain the heat.

I hope this article helps!

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