Swimming Pool Heater Installation Cost

In this guide

Labor
Enhancements
Additional Considerations

How much does it cost to install a swimming pool heater?

Even if you live in a warm place, you’ll likely want a swimming pool heater so you can enjoy your pool in all sorts of weather. There are a variety of swimming pool heaters available, and each kind works differently depending on the size of pool and the climate. 

When choosing what type of pool heater to purchase, you should consider the amount of energy it will take to run, the type of pool where the heater will be used, and its location, these factors are addressed in the table below. For this example, we’ll look at the cost of a heater for a standard 32’x16’ in-ground pool, which averages $1,800-$2,400.

Cost breakdown

There are many types of swimming pool heaters, but not every heater is a great fit for every situation:

Type of HeaterProsConsBest UseCost
Electric Resistance

Inexpensive to purchase

No air pollution

Expensive to install and operate (increases installation fees by up to 40%)

Use lots of electricity

Small pools or spasPentair $1,400-$1,800
Gas

Inexpensive to purchase

Heat water quickly

Thermostat-controlled, which allows users to set the temperature and forget it



Expensive to operate

Not energy efficient

Short lifespan (5 years)


Pools in most climatesPentair $1,500-$1,700
Heat Pump 1

Inexpensive to operate

Energy efficient

Increasingly popular

Long life span (10-20 years)


Expensive to purchase

Slow to heat water

Pools in temperate climatesSummit $3,300-$4,000
Solar

No monthly operating costs

Eco-friendly

Energy efficient

Long life span (15-20 years)

Expensive to purchase

Slow to heat water

Dependent on sunlight

Above-ground pools in sunny climatesGAME $300-$450


  • Electric resistance heaters work when electric currents travel through the resistor to heat the water. These heaters don’t release air pollution, but they do use a lot of electricity, which can lead to high energy bills, especially when used to heat a large pool.
  • Gas heaters use either propane 2 or natural gas in a combustion chamber, which is transferred to the water when the water moves through a filter. These heaters heat the water fairly quickly and can heat to a set temperature in any climate or conditions.
  • A heat pump 1 transfers heat from water (geothermal pump) or air (air pump) via electricity. The process is inexpensive and fairly eco-friendly, but it takes a while for the system to get working, which means it can take some time before the water is heated.
  • Solar heaters work when solar panels collect heat that is transferred to the water. They are fairly inexpensive to operate because the sun does all the work, but they also rely on consistent sunny days, which makes them a good fit for pools in sunny climates.

Most heater types work well in in-ground pools and above-ground pools, but solar panels are the most common for above-ground pools and gas heaters are the most common for in-ground pools. Electric, heat pump 1, and gas are all good options for indoor pools, but solar is not.

Pool heaters are measured in BTU units. The required power of a heater is determined by the size of the pool, as shown below. Our example of a standard 32’x16’ in-ground pool would require a 300-400 BTU heater because of its 512 square feet of pool surface area.

Heater SizeGallons in PoolPool Surface Area
100-200 BTU1,000-10,000Up to 300 square feet
200-300 BTU10,000-20,000Up to 500 square feet
300-400 BTU20,000-40,000Up to 800 square feet
400 BTU40,000-80,000Up to 1,200 square feet


Pool manufacturers provide the efficiency of the heater, which is the percentage of energy used that actually makes it to the water. Efficiency is shown as a percentage of the BTUs that are used to heat the water. Based on rules from the U.S. Department of Energy, all pool heaters must have an efficiency rating of 78% or higher. The efficiency rating should be clearly displayed on the pool heater box. In general, heaters with a higher efficiency rating cost more, but they also lead to lower operating costs over time and less wasted energy.

Labor

Although it may be possible to install a pool heater on your own, it is recommended to hire a professional, especially for a gas or electric heater. Many pool professionals or electricians charge on a per-project basis instead of a per-hour basis. The average cost to install a pool heater is $400-$500 for labor. If additional supplies, such as wiring or plumbing, is required, these minimal costs are typically included in the labor total.

Enhancement and improvement costs

  • A solar blanket 3 or pool cover can help keep heat in the pool when the heater is not in use, lowering the cost of running the heater. A solar blanket 3 absorbs up to 85% of the sun’s energy and can raise a pool’s temperature by up to 20 degrees in a week. A solar blanket 3 averages $150-$225. There are multiple types:
    • Automatic pool covers roll and unroll with the push of a button in as little as 30 seconds, but can be two to three times the base price. Semi-automatic covers roll and unroll with a motorized system, but the cover must be guided by a person. Manual pool covers use a hand crank to roll and unroll; they are the cheapest options.
    • Safety pool covers are made of mesh or vinyl 4 and attach to the outside of the pool with think straps. These covers are pulled tight to prevent debris, animals, or children from entering the pool. They are more expensive and can cost 50-70% more than a winter cover. Winter covers are made of thinner polypropylene or vinyl 4 and are the more popular option. They keep debris out of the pool but aren’t as secure or heavy-duty as safety covers.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Most swimming pools are kept at 78-82 degrees. For each degree in temperature, the energy costs increase by 10%-30%, depending on your location and climate. If the pool won’t be used for a few days, it saves more energy to turn the heater down or off instead of leaving it at the desired temperature permanently.
  • If you live in a hot climate, you can typically avoid heating your pool in the hottest season by using a pool cover. However, that depends on your personal preference for the water temperature. If you live in a mild climate, it is recommended to heat the pool at night to keep the water at a comfortable temperature.
  • Removing an old heater and disposing of it can add an additional $200-$400 to your total costs.
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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Heat pump: A device used to heat or cool the air in a home by moving hot and cold air to where it is needed. The unit pulls hot air from inside the home in the summer and directs it outdoors, leaving the inside air cool, and pulls heat from outdoors in the winter and directs it into the home, thereby warming it
2 Propane: A hydrocarbon gas used as a common fuel source
3 Solar blanket: Protective outdoor pool cover used to trap the sun's heat, thereby helping to keep pool water warm
4 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others

Cost to install a swimming pool heater varies greatly by region (and even by zipcode). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zipcode

Compared to national average
Altadena, CA
+14%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baytown, TX
-12%
Bethlehem, GA
-14%
Bradenton, FL
-8%
Brea, CA
+24%
Burke, VA
+24%
Burlingame, CA
+59%
Cape Coral, FL
-9%
Cedar Rapids, IA
+6%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Conroe, TX
+21%
Corona, CA
+19%
Corpus Christi, TX
+4%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Dublin, CA
+35%
Edmond, OK
-8%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Englewood, FL
-16%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Myers, FL
-7%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Fullerton, CA
+22%
Gilbert, AZ
-2%
Haledon, NJ
+31%
Hanford, CA
-23%
Henderson, NV
+10%
Hialeah, FL
-2%
Hightstown, NJ
+28%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Houston, TX
+24%
Humble, TX
+16%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Katy, TX
+63%
Kissimmee, FL
-20%
Lakeland, FL
-13%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lexington, SC
-10%
Loganville, GA
-17%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Minooka, IL
+15%
Naples, FL
-3%
Norristown, PA
+44%
North Las Vegas, NV
+7%

Labor cost in your zipcode

Last modified:   
Methodology and sources