Swimming pool in back of house
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Do you feel like you’re only getting one season’s worth of use out of your pool? Would you like to be able to do laps in the cooler months without feeling like you’re swimming in the Arctic Sea? If the answer is yes, a pool heater is the way to go.

While adding a pool heater requires an upfront investment, it helps you maximize your investment by being able to use your pool for much more of the year. Between setup and operating costs, a pool heater costs between $300 and $5,000, with the average cost around $2,000.

Pool heater types

There are several basic types of pool heater, with varying features, installation costs and operating costs.

  • Solar pool heaters –If you live in a sunny place like Florida or Arizona, a solar pool heater can be an appealing and economic option, since they run entirely on solar energy and are free to operate. These can start as low as $150.
  • Electric heat-pump pool heaters – Electric heat pump heaters operate on electricity and can function in sunny or shaded environments. These heaters only function well when the temperature is above 55 degrees, since they pull outer air in, heat it, and deliver it to the pool water. They’ll set you back between $1,500 and $3,000.
  • Electric resistance heater –These pool heaters use electricity via resistors to heat the water and don’t release any air pollution, but they may consume a significant amount of electricity during cooler months. These cost between $1,700 and $4,000.
  • Gas pool heaters – Gas heaters use combustion to heat pools and heat very efficiently. They’re not the eco-friendliest heating option, but they are one of the most efficient in colder weather. They run at around $2,000 to $2,800.

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Installation costs

A key consideration when choosing a pool heater is the cost of installation, and it’s generally best to consult a professional. You definitely don’t want to take any chances when mixing electricity and water.

The basic price for pool heater installation is between $500 and $1,000, although each heater type carries its own installation price. Gas heaters tend to be the most expensive to install, although these prices can vary depending on your location and contractor.

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Operation costs

Beyond purchase and installation costs, you’ll also need to factor operation costs into your budget. Solar pool heaters are an attractive option, because there’s no fuel cost associated with their operation. However, they do still require a pump to operate, which costs a few hundred dollars a year in electrical costs.

Electric resistance and heat pumps average $100 a month in electricity to operate. Gas heat pumps are the most expensive option, depending on the type of fuel you choose to use. They can cost between $300 and $500 a month to operate.

Choosing the right heater

You will also need to consider the size of your pool and its location before you make your final decision.

Large pools in shaded areas are more expensive to install and operate. Smaller pools and ones in sunny areas are generally much less expensive to operate. Other factors to consider include using a pool cover to keep heat in as well as the climate in your area.

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Time to dive in!

While there are some significant expenses associated with pool heater installation, the family that uses their swimming pool frequently can benefit significantly. Whether you choose a solar pool heater for the green benefits or a gas one for its superior heating ability, you’ll certainly end up spending a lot more time outside in your pool.

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