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A swimming pool is a wonderful addition to any backyard, providing many hours of fun and relaxation. Installing a heater will enhance the experience, making it more comfortable and pleasant to splash, play, and exercise. A heater can also extend the swimming season for the whole family, getting more use out of your investment. There are many options for heaters based on the size and type of pool, the type of fuel desired, and the climate you live in.
The national average price for installing a heater ranges from $3,450 to $5,450. Most homeowners pay about $4,500 to install a 30,000 BTU gas option in a pool with a surface area of 648 sq. ft. On the low end, some homeowners spend as little as $1,250 on installing an electric resistance option of up to 50,000 BTU. At the high end of the spectrum, you could spend as much as $11,000 on installing an 8-panel solar heater that can heat up to 800 sq.ft.
|Pool Heater Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$4,500|
Various types of swimming heating systems have an average price range of $1,250 to $9,000, including the installation labor and all materials. Gas, electric resistance options, heat pumps, and solar options are the most common ones that you’ll find. You can use pretty much any heater in any type of pool, but there are some factors to consider in choosing the best one. The unit used to measure an electric or gas heating system size is a BTU. This stands for British Thermal Unit, the standard unit in the industry to measure heat capacity. One pound of water can be heated 1°F with 1 BTU. The number of BTUs needed depends on the type of heating system, which you will see reflected in the tables and subsections below.
|Type||Unit Price (Installed)|
|Electric Resistance||$1,250 - $5,800|
|Gas||$1,350 - $5,500|
|Heat Pump||$2,250 - $7,000|
|Solar||$3,000 - $9,000|
Expect to pay between $800 and $4,000 for an electric resistance system and between $450 and $1,800 for installation, making the total water heating system is priced between $1,250 and $5,800 for this type of unit. An electric resistance option is a good choice when the temperature is over 55 degrees or if the area is small. This option needs its own electrical circuit to provide enough power for the heating element to heat the water pumped through the system and returned to the water. It takes several hours to heat the water, only raising the temperature by a few degrees each hour. The unit lasts between five and ten years with proper maintenance. These heating systems are inexpensive, do not pollute the air, and are not dependent on the outside temperature. However, the electric bill can get high because it uses a lot of electricity.
|Unit Size||Heated Area||Unit Price (Installed)|
|50,000 - 99,000 BTU||280 - 400 sq.ft.||$1,250 - $5,000|
|100,000 - 149,000 BTU||400 - 650 sq.ft.||$1,450 - $5,000|
|150,000 - 199,000 BTU||650 - 800 sq.ft.||$1,650 - $5,800|
Expect a gas heating system to be priced between $900 and $4,500. Installing this type of heating system usually runs between $450 and $1,000 for labor, which means you’ll spend a total of $1,350 to $5,500 depending on the size and style of system you choose. Gas systems have been the most popular type of heater and run on either natural gas or propane. Either use a propane tank or your natural gas line to operate the system. The price to run a natural gas option will be about half as much as propane. Although running a propane option per month is expensive, it is a good option for properties without a natural gas line. These units are fairly inexpensive, heat water faster than any other option, and use a thermostat. The downside to these options is the expensive price of operation. Gas heating systems should last at least five years.
|Unit Size||Heated Area||Unit Price (Installed)|
|100,000 - 150,000 BTU||312 sq.ft.||$1,350 - $4,000|
|150,000 - 200,000 BTU||392 sq.ft.||$1,950 - $4,600|
|200,000 - 250,000 BTU||512 sq.ft.||$2,200 - $4,750|
|250,000 - 300,000 BTU||648 sq.ft.||$2,350 - $5,000|
|300,000 - 400,000 BTU||800 sq.ft.||$2,450 - $5,500|
Expect to pay between $1,800 and $6,000 for the unit and $450 and $1,000 for installation. This makes the total heat pump installation price between $2,250 and $7,000. A heat pump also uses electricity, but it is much more efficient and it is less expensive to run. It will need its own dedicated circuit. It is more efficient because it extracts the heat from the air. A heat pump heats the water slower than gas and it's more expensive upfront. These heat pumps should last more than ten years.
|Unit Size||Heated Area||Unit Price (Installed)|
|70,000 - 85,000 BTU||280 - 400 sq.ft.||$2,250 - $5,000|
|110,000 - 117,000 BTU||400 - 650 sq.ft.||$3,450 - $6,000|
|137,000 - 141,000 BTU||650 - 800 sq.ft.||$4,250 - $7,000|
You can expect to pay between $2,500 and $8,000 for a solar heating system and around $500 and $1,000 for installation. This makes the total price to install a solar heating system between $3,000 and $9,000. Although the units themselves are priced a little more, solar options are the most efficient since running them has little to no expenses. However, they can only be used in areas with plenty of direct sun. These units can last as many as 15 to 20 years, but the rate at which the water is heated is slow. Solar panels can also be unattractive, and the solar heating installation price is high. Solar options require little maintenance and are easy on the environment. The larger the swimming area, the more solar panels are needed. Panels generally come in 4 x 10 sizes or 4 x 20 sizes.
|Number of 4 x 10 Solar Panels||Heated Area||Price (Installed)|
|4||288 sq.ft.||$3,000 - $5,500|
|6||512 sq.ft.||$3,600 - $6,200|
|8||648 sq.ft.||$5,500 - $8,200|
|10||800 sq.ft.||$6,600 - $9,000|
The average heating system price ranges from $1,250 to $11,000. Most heating systems can be used on any type of pool. However, there are instances where certain types of heating systems are recommended for different types in certain environments. Do your research and speak with a professional before deciding on the right heating system for your needs. In the table and subsections below, you will see the average price of heating installation by type to give you a better idea of what to expect.
|Type||Unit Price (Installed)|
|Plunge||$1,250 - $3,000|
|Salt Water||$1,450 - $9,000|
|Above-Ground||$1,800 - $2,400|
|Natural||$2,250 - $7,000|
|In-Ground||$3,450 - $5,450|
The average plunge pool heating system is priced between $1,250 and $3,000 to have installed. A plunge model is just a small version of the standard model, usually installed in the ground. It is a popular choice for people who want to swim but may be limited on space. Because of its small size, any heating method should work and the choice should be made based on your needs and climate.
The average customer should expect to pay between $1,450 and $9,000 for a heating system for their saltwater pool. Any type of the above-mentioned systems will work in a saltwater option. Gas is the most popular method because it heats the water quickly and offers fuel efficiency. That being said, you can find several different styles of systems to choose from when outfitting your saltwater option, depending on your preferences.
The average above-ground pool owner should expect to pay between $1,800 and $2,400 to heat their water. Gas and solar are the most popular choices for an above-ground option. Since above-grounds are usually a bit smaller, the price tag should be lower. Plus, an above-ground option in a warm climate may only need a solar blanket or a solar ring to provide heat.
Average customers should expect to pay between $2,250 and $7,000 for a natural pool heating system. Natural options are made to hold heat from the sun and can often reach comfortable temperatures in warm climates without heating. Covering the water, using dark liners, and using floating solar panels can also do the trick. Heat pumps are also a great choice for natural options when you want to keep them at the perfect temperature.
On average, an in-ground option is priced between $3,450 and $5,450 to have installed. Depending on the size, climate, and your situation, any type of heating system may be the best choice for an in-ground option. Gas systems heat things quickly and efficiently, but you may live somewhere where electric rates are cheaper, and that makes more sense. Of course, a solar system could be a great solution, too, and will be at the higher end of the price range.
Installation labor for a heating system is priced between $500 and $2,000 of the total average price to install a system of $4,500. Most professionals charge by the project. If additional supplies for plumbing and wiring are needed, expect to add between $50 and $100 to the installation total.
The final labor price depend on the complexity of the system, the location, and other details. It is a good idea to hire a professional to install a heating system. Improper installation is one of the biggest reasons that a heating system fails prematurely. Plus, many warranties become void if a system is installed improperly. The installation involves placing a gas line, so you should find out the price to run a gas line to the heater. It will also require routing electricity or installing solar panels, venting, and plumbing work. The process can take only one day or several days, depending on the particular situation.
The replacement price is not much different than the average $3,450 to $5,450 price for initial installation. In some cases, you may save about $100 to $300 for having preexisting gas, electrical, and plumbing systems. Removal of the old unit may be included with your new installation. If not, you should expect to pay an additional $30 to $50 for removal and disposal. A professional can usually help you decide when it is time to replace the heating unit. There will come a point when the price of a repair is not worth the amount of life the heating unit has left.
The average price to run a heating unit ranges from $0 to $6,000 per year, depending on the type of unit that you choose. After the unit is installed, unless it is solar, it will take fuel for the system to run. Keep the price of fuel in mind when making the decision on which option to install. The price will vary depending on local rates, how often the water is used if a cover is used, and how warm the climate is. Here is a comparison chart with the type of options available and estimated monthly and annual expenses. For the purposes of this chart, it will be assumed that the water is used for six months out of the year. Keep in mind that pricing will vary based on local utility rates, the amount of energy the heating unit uses, and how many degrees the water needs to be heated.
|Type||Monthly Expenses||Annual Expenses|
|Electric Heat Pump||$50 - $150||$300 - $900|
|Natural Gas||$300 - $500||$1,800 - $3,000|
|Electric Resistance||$400 - $600||$2,400 - $3,600|
|Propane||$600 - $1,000||$3,600 - $6,000|
The price to run a solar unit is nothing. Just keep in mind that the system needs the sun to run. For this reason, many owners consider using a solar heating unit in combination with another heating system, such as a heat pump. It is a bigger investment upfront for a solar heating unit but requires no monthly operating price, which means you actually save money in the long run.
The average monthly price to run an electric option ranges from $50 to $150, depending on the size of the unit and how often it is running throughout the year. Expect the monthly price to be between $400 and $600 per month for electric resistance heating systems, many times the price of other electric heating. The average price for electricity in the United States is 13.31 cents per kWh. An electric heat pump uses about 5 kilowatts per 100,000 BTUs per hour. Therefore, it has a price of about 66.5 cents per hour to run an electric heat pump, on average.
Expect the monthly price to run a gas option to be between $300 and $500 for natural gas and $600 and $1,000 for propane. A natural gas system is likely to use about 1 therm per hour for a 100,000 BTU unit. If using a 400,000 BTU unit, it will be 4 therms per hour. Natural gas usually has a price of between $0.90 and $1.20 per therm. If using propane to heat the water, it will double the price of of natural gas.
The average price for a maintenance inspection is about $150 when done by a professional. Have the unit inspected each year before turning it on for the season. This extends the life of the heating system. During this inspection, the professional can let you know any repairs needed and when to replace the unit. To keep your unit in great shape, you will want to keep the area around your heating unit free from leaves and twigs. Also, watch for the presence of rodents and check the manual that came with your system for other tips. It is also important to maintain proper water chemistry so that the unit performs at its best and to properly winterize the system when turning it off for the season.
Expect to pay between $175 and $750 for repair. If this can extend the life of the heating unit, it may be worth it instead of paying for a replacement. If you find that your unit is not heating adequately, there is rust or corrosion on the system, the controls are not working properly, or the unit is making strange noises, it is time to have it inspected. In some cases, a simple repair can get everything in working order, and in other cases, it may be best to replace the system.
Covers range in price from $40 to $3,700, depending on their style and method of operation. A cover is a great tool to cut expenses. Not only will it keep the water warmer when not in use, but it keeps out debris that could clog up a heating system. The price of a cover depends on many factors, including the size, material, and whether it is a safety cover to prevent falls into the water.
Expect the solar blanket price to range from $35 to $500, depending on the size and style of blanket that you choose and any premium features it may have. A solar blanket traps the sun’s heat and uses it to heat your water. They can be used on their own in a hot climate or in combination with another heating system. Solar blankets are an affordable way to keep heat in the water when you’re not using it.
The average price for an enclosure installation is $10,000 to $30,000. However, these can start with a simple nylon dome and go up to a customized structure. An enclosure allows more months of swimming to be had. An enclosure keeps out dirt and debris and keeps the water much warmer. There are both permanent and retractable options. You can pick and choose from styles to suit just about every need.
Solar rings are going to be priced between $45 and $70 each. Solar rings float on the surface of the water and convert sunlight to heat. You can place multiple solar rings on the surface to help heat up the water, no matter how big yours is or what kind of heat you want to create. The rings vary in size and style, which is what will account for the price difference. Consult with a pro to determine how many rings you’ll need to heat your water to the appropriate temperature.
The price varies widely and depends on the size of the swimming area, type, and climate where the it is located. Expect to pay between $3,450 and $5,450 for heating system installation.
Heating systems may be expensive, but a heating unit makes it more comfortable to be in the water and extends the season of use.
This will depend on the type of unit you choose and the size of your pool. For instance, a surface area of 300 sq.ft. would need an electric resistance option ranging in size from 50,000 to 99,000 BTU or a gas option ranging in size from 100,000 to 150,000 BTU. A surface area of 800 sq.ft. would need an electric resistance unit ranging in size from 150,000 BTU to 199,000 BTU or a gas unit ranging in size from 300,000 BTU to 400,000 BTU.
The most popular method of heating is a natural gas unit. This is because it raises the water temperature fastest.
An electric heat pump 1 will have a price between $50 and $150 per month. An electric resistance option will have a price between $400 and $600 per month
Yes, gas, electric, and solar options can all work in an in ground pool.
Yes, electric options work well, especially for small areas. Electric heat pumps are more efficient than electric resistance heating systems.
This depends on the type of heating system. A gas system can generally get a pool from 45 degrees to 80 degrees in about 12 to 18 hours.