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Everything About Pool Heaters

Everything About Pool Heaters

Exterior renovationsEverything About Pool Heaters

When temperatures are soaring to a stifling 32 degrees, and the sun is beating down, what better way is there to cool off than in a pool? If you’re fortunate enough to have one in your backyard, chances are you’re already familiar with this coveted summer treat.

That said, even when it’s sweltering out, too-cold pool water will curb even the bravest swimmers' enthusiasm. That’s why installing a pool heater is highly recommended.

Do you already know a bit about the different pool heater models available on the market? In the following paragraphs, we’ll delve into the advantages and disadvantages of each model, as well as the average budget required to acquire such a device.

What type of pool heater should you choose?

What type of pool heater should you choose

Source: Canva

First, let’s take a look at the models available on the market. We’ll detail each system’s pros, cons, and costs. 

Electric pool heater

This small device will be hooked to an electrical outlet. It’s easy to install and often used for above-ground pools, however, some models were designed for in-ground pools. 


  • This device is good at maintaining water temperature.

  • It emits little noise.

  • It’s rather small and discreet.

  • The device is inexpensive.

  • Long service life (10 years).

  • Heats water quickly for medium-sized pools.


  • Rather slow to heat the water.

  • It's a highly consolidated installation, although not complex, but should be carried out by a professional.

  • The parts are susceptible to corrosion.

  • If you have a big pool, the water will take a while to heat up.

  • Take into account the electricity-related expenses when evaluating its quality-price ratio. 

Solar heater

What type of pool heater should you choose

Source: Canva

If your outdoor pool is in a sun-drenched area, opting for a solar panel system could be worthwhile. The solar collectors are connected to the pool's filter system. The system’s pump circulates the water through the collectors, where it’s heated before being redirected back into the pool.


  • Zero operational costs, the sun is free.

  • It’s an eco-friendly device.

  • You can benefit from a government grant toward its purchase (subject to availability when reading this article).


  • It’ll be harder to heat your pool if the weather is overcast all summer.

  • This system takes up a lot of space.

  • The installation process is complex. 

Natural gas or propane heater

This system functions with a gas-powered motor. It’s useful when it comes to heating a pool rapidly. However, it isn’t as worthwhile if you’re looking to use your water heater often since it requires a lot of gas to operate. 


  • The water heats quickly.

  • It emits little noise.

  • You’ll be able to stretch your pool use up to fall.

  • Long service life (10 years).

  • The system is affordable to purchase.


  • You can’t use a gas-powered pool heater for saltwater cleanings.

  • It’s a high-maintenance system since gas tends to damage its parts.

  • Its operational costs are steep, especially when gas prices soar.

  • You’ll need to get a gas tank to store propane.  

Oil-fired pool heater

What type of pool heater should you choose

Source: Canva

Looking to use your pool until fall? This device will allow you to maintain warm pool water even in colder temperatures. Keep a full tank of oil to ensure the motor runs at full speed.  


  • Water will heat rapidly.

  • Typically, this system is quiet.

  • You’ll be able to use your pool during the fall.

  • Relatively long service life (10 years).


  • Steep operational costs due to oil prices.

  • The device emits smoke.

  • The system's components are prone to corrosion and dirt accumulation as a result of its operational functionality. 

Pool heat pump

For the best price-quality ratio in terms of pool heaters, the heat pump is one of the best. It’s known for its efficiency and cost-effectiveness in terms of operational costs.  


  • Low operational costs.

  • The water temperature is consistent.

  • Long service life (roughly 15 years).


  • Purchasing costs are steep.

  • Water takes a while to warm up.

  • Some models are louder than others.

  • The system isn’t as worthwhile if you don’t often use your pool.

Hybrid heat pump

What type of pool heater should you choose

Source: Canva

This model combines the advantages of a heat pump and gas pool heater all in one unit. Thus making it a cost-effective system that heats water rapidly at will.   


  • Good service life (about 15 years).

  • More affordable operational costs compared to a system that’s entirely gas-powered. 

  • You can manage the systems’ various functions according to your needs, budget, and preferences.  


  • Using oil leads to additional costs and isn’t an eco-friendly practice.

  • Since it's oil-powered, it’s high-maintenance.


How much does a pool heater cost?

Let’s compare the prices of the most sought-after pool heaters currently available on the market:

*For some, you’ll need to switch your electrical inlet, which could mean additional fees to account for, budget-wise.

Different Pool Heater Models

Device Cost

Average Installation Cost


  • The device is between $500 and $1,000

  • Between $200 and $1,000 based on the complexity of the installation


  • Between $2,000 and $3,500 for the panels and wiring

  • About $1,000

Natural gas or propane

  • The device is between $2,000 and $3,500 

  • From $300 to $1,000

Oil-fired pool heater

  • Between $2,000 and $3,000 (account for a few extra bucks to purchase the oil tank)

  • From $300 to $1,000

Heat pump

  • From $2,500 to $6,000, based on the model’s capacity

  • From $300 to $1,000, based on complexity

Hybrid heat pump

  • From $2,000 to $4,000, based on the model’s capacity

  • From $300 to $1,000

How to Install a Pool Heater 

Installing a pool heater is a project that should always be entrusted to a knowledgeable professional. This is particularly crucial when working with heat pump heaters or heaters that rely on electrical connections.

Given that water and electricity are involved, the installation process requires the utmost care, as there are some inherent risks. Additionally, if not executed correctly, it can pose a significant hazard to your safety and that of your family.

There are also a lot of standards to comply with, which can be confusing. If you’re curious as to what they are, consult the RBQ website, which outlines all standards pertaining to pool heater bases. Hence why we can't urge you to undertake such a project without relevant experience and licences.

How to Maintain a Pool Heater

Since we’ve mentioned several different types of devices, note that the maintenance routine for each is unique to the device itself. Some models require more maintenance than others. For example, a heat pump’s indoor coil needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.

As for gas or oil-fired models, it’s highly recommended to schedule an annual inspection by a qualified inspector to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Regardless of the model selected, be sure to read the accompanying instruction manual for all maintenance tips. Also, the contractor handling your installation may be able to offer a few additional pointers.

Do you need to cover your pool?

What type of pool heater should you choose

Source: Canva

The primary cause of energy loss in a swimming pool is its lack of a cover, particularly when left uncovered overnight. This results in a significant drop in the water temperature primarily due to evaporation, which occurs when the pool is exposed to the elements.

By opting for a pool cover system, you can effectively regulate the water temperature, leading to energy savings by reducing the operating time of your heater. Moreover, if you decide to invest in a pool water heater, it’s highly recommended to acquire a safety cover as well, as it significantly extends the service life of your pool.

Can you install a heater on both in-ground and above-ground pools?

Installing such a system can be done on both types of pools. However, before choosing a specific model, make sure that it’s suited to your needs. The pool heater you’ll be purchasing should be properly hooked to your pool and powerful enough to heat its entire volume.

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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