What are your swimming pool heating options?

Pool heating options today are more effective and efficient than at any time in the past.  Today more pool owners are searching for ways to reduce their heating cost, use of fossil fuels, and CO2 emissions.  So let’s take a look at the most common types of swimming pool heating methods available.


This is the most frequently used type of heater and has been around for decades.  They are fueled by natural gas, propane, and in some rare cases heating oil.  They are the fastest method available for heating your pool.  Today’s units are reasonably priced and built to give more energy efficiency than ever before.  These heaters are typically very available in most areas thru a local pool store or pool builder.  They work equally well in both inground and above ground pools.  NOTE: Use of one may require your gas meter size to be upgraded.


Swimming pool heat pumps are the latest choice in pool heating.  They are perfect additions for pool owners looking for efficiencies that traditional gas fired pool heaters cannot attain.  Other advantages include are that they are quiet, state of the art, and easy to operate.  The upfront cost of a heat pump is more expensive, but in most cases will pay for themselves in 3-4 seasons due to the savings on your utility bill.  NOTE: Most heat pumps require up to a 50 amp breaker to operate.  You may need an upgrade in your electrical panel to own one.


Solar systems are typically good for up to a 15° raise in the temperature of your water.  More importantly, none of your utility bills will be affected by using a solar heating system.  They work in most areas of the country.  They are available as a professional installation and DYI kits.  It is suggested that you also utilize a solar blanket with the use of a solar heating system.  NOTE:   Make sure that your Homeowners Association will allow you to install the needed panels on your roof, garage, or in your yard prior to purchase.


Once installed the heat they produce is free.  Depending on where you live 10° – 15° is the expected norm with a lot of direct sunlight.  They simply float on the pool surface.  These covers have to be “cut to fit” the shape and size of your pool.  Frankly, I recommend them to be used in conjunction with all previously mentioned pool heating methods. They will help the pool water retain the heat and not exhaust into the atmosphere.  Always make sure the cover is removed prior to swimming and never take it off just to leave it in the yard.  It will generate enough heat to melt together and be useless after that.

So there you have it.  Sorry I cannot put a price on these items since they vary so much around the country.  Anyone out there that has used one or even more of these pool heating methods?  How was your experience?  Let us know.

Quote of the day: Believe you can and you’re half way there.  Teddy Roosevelt

Fiber Glass Swimming Pools



35 Responses to “What are your swimming pool heating options?”

  1. Frederick Westpark says:

    Quick question please…
    Can you heat a spa with a solar heater?

    • wayne says:

      Not very well sir! You will need either an electric or gas heater to complement a solar heater. The spa will need to obtain 100 degrees or so for you to get a max benefit. That will be impossible during 5-6 months out of the year.

  2. I. Richards says:

    Do you have any statistics on the cost of operation on a gas heater to heat my pool. We live in Texas.

    • wayne says:

      Yes sir! Most folks tell me it cost $2.50 – $3.00 per hour to operate a gas heater. Propane will cost at least $1.00 an hour more.

  3. McEnernie4 says:

    We have a 9 year old fiberglass pool with a solar heating system on top of our home. We can confirm that 10-15 degrees is about all we can expect the pool water to heat under ideal conditions here in Las Vegas. We use a gas heater to supplement the system.

    A combination of both types of heaters is the only way to go.

    • wayne says:

      Thank you for the info you shared with us. Las Vegas is an ideal place for a solar heating system.

  4. Dan Cox says:

    How is one to determine the best method of heating a pool?

    • wayne says:

      Where you live, how big the pool is, what is the temp you want the pool to be, average temp year round where you live, are the most important factors. Gas heat is always the quickest way to heat a pool.

  5. Tristan Smith says:

    I have heard quite a lot about pool heaters corroding, leaking, and staining pools.
    How is a person to avoid this from happening?
    Is the heater fixable if this does occur or must it be replaced?

    • wayne says:

      First of all a heater can be repaired. Not always cheap if you need a heat exchanger. The way you keep your pool water chemistry is the single most important thing in owning a pool. You must keep the pool water “balanced”. This prevents corrosion of the equipment. This requires you to test the pool water professionally at a pool store every 4-5 weeks and make needed corrections. Test the water at home every 3 days with your test strips or kit.

  6. George Stanwyk says:

    Are heat pumps less likely to have corrosion than gas fired heaters?

    Are you familiar with heat/chill pumps? What is the advantage over the heat pump other than the chill option?

    • wayne says:

      Yes they are. Most heat pumps do not use copper in the unit, thus none or little corrosion. We install a dozen or so H/C pumps a year. What’s the advantage? They use less energy to heat a pool and are very dependable units.

  7. Edward says:

    Solar heating systems appear to be most popular in Florida, California, Arizona, & Nevada. Midwest, northern, & southern states it is rare to find them.

    Guess you need a whole lot of sun huh?

  8. Jimmy Dale says:

    How long does it take to have a gas pool heater installed? What is service life of the gas heater?

    • wayne says:

      In most instances a gas pool heater can be installed in 2-3 hours at the equipment pad. A licensed plumber will be needed to install the gasline. That can take a day or two depending on if an inspection by a building official is required. Service life is typically 6-7 years if you are keeping the pool water tested previously described to Triston above.

  9. Ryan says:

    Should I purchase a heat & chill pump instead of a heat pump?

    How do you feel about purchasing these units on line?

    • wayne says:

      My answer is yes. The price difference is not that significant between the units. I am afraid of on line purchases for 2 reasons. I don’t like my credit info floating around and who, how, and when will someone warranty my purchase?

  10. Henry Lenard says:

    How long do the gas heaters tend to last these days? My old one that needs replacing has lasted now for almost 11 years.

    • wayne says:

      Most units are functional for 10 years or so. You will need the unit fixed ever few years since it has electronics and can be subject to corrosion.

  11. Sam Bond says:

    Is it a good suggestion to use salt systems when owning a pool heater? If not, what is best to use to chlorinate the pool?

    • wayne says:

      As long as you keep the water tested as previously described and make chemical adjustments, salt is A-OK.

  12. Sophia Haynes says:

    Hi Wayne
    You built our pool in 1990. Glad to know that your company has grown so much. We are moving to a new home in Rosenberg. when can you see us about a new pool? We have completely enjoyed the 1st pool. Call us at 713-*******.

    Thanks, Sophia & James

    • wayne says:

      Building and completing your 2nd American Fiberglass Pool recently was another privilege your family has granted us! Happy swimming in a few weeks!!

  13. Lawrence Quincy says:

    Would appreciate you providing some ballpark costs on the various types of pool heating.

    • wayne says:

      There are a lot of factors involved such as where you live, size of the pool, etc., but I will give it a try. Solar: $11K – $15K. Gas: $3K-$5K (plus gas line). Heat pump: $7k-$10K (plus electrical hook up).

  14. Along Came Jones says:

    We live out in the country in central Texas.
    Our pool has to be heated with propane gas for 4 years.
    Recently natural gas has been offered to us (for a price)since one of our neighbors is having gas installed at his new house.
    Can the heater we have now be converted for use with the natural gas? If yes, is it expensive or should we buy a new heater for the gas?

    • wayne says:

      Should be a pretty easy conversion that will include changing the orifices from the larger propane ones to small NG ones. Approximate cost: $450

  15. Vic King says:

    Do you have any tips on how to make pool equipment last as long as possible?

    • wayne says:

      Keep rain water off of it. Don’t locate under an eave. Keep leaves / pine needles off the heater. When it gets cold, fire ants and spiders like to build their nests in the warm pool pump motor. Watch out for them.

  16. Paul Thomason says:

    I cannot get my pool heaters to last more than 4 years. I have tried ******* & ***** units. Got any suggestions on what brand to try next?????

  17. Hans Jendl says:

    Do you have a particular line of pool equipment that you find to be more reliable than others? I have heard many nice things about Hayward. Have you?

    • wayne says:

      Hayward is great pool equipment. They have always taken care of our customers. Any pool equipment can require warranty. Hayward to me is a lot more receptive and get things taken care of fast.

    • wayne says:

      Your permits have now all arrived. We will be out at your house in a week or so to get the construction started. All should be completed in plenty of time so you won’t miss a moment of the swim season.