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Pool Heating Frequently Asked Questions

Below, you will find the frequently asked questions and answers to things you have always wanted to know about pool heaters. Even if you don’t own a pool heater, you might still have questions, such as how long do they last? What size do I need? Maybe you don’t have one and after reading these frequently asked questions – you want one!

What Size Pool Heater Do I Need?

This is really decided by location and pool size. Generally, the larger the pool then the larger the heater should be however your climate will determine how much your pool needs to be heated.
Here are the nitty gritty details: for rectangular pools which are smaller than 14x28ft you can use 80,000 BTUs. However, with a solar cover you can use the same heater for up to 18x36ft. For a pool that is bigger than 18x36ft, a pool heater of 100,000 BTUs is necessary. For round pools smaller than 22ft, then use an 80,000 BTUs pump and the same size pump can be used for pools up to 30ft with a solar cover. If the pool is 30ft+ then 100,000BTUs is needed.

How Long Do Heaters Last?

This is dependent on many factors from weather to location, however the main factor is maintenance. A high quality pump can last a lifetime. Without any care or attention, you can expect your heater to work for about 10 years.

How Long Will It Take to Heat My Pool?

In true pool heater fashion, this depends on size, location and climate: however, for a pool to reach 20 degrees Fahrenheit it would generally take 24 – 72 hours. Of course, the larger the pool then the longer it will take to heat and the colder the climate will take more time, too.

How Much Does It Cost to Heat My Pool?

By heating your pool with a pump, it can cost from $50-$150 a month but compared to electric and gas pool heaters, this can jump to $300+ a month – choice is really everything! Although gas does cost a fortune, up to five times the price in some cases, no pump can compare in speed to gas.

What’s the Coldest Temperature I Can Use My Pool Heater At?

The lowest temperature a pump will work at is 50 degrees Fahrenheit but with a specialized pump, it can work at 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do I Need a Solar Cover?

Many people consider a solar cover to be somewhat of a hassle when they want to go for a swim however, it does save them about 50% of their energy bill.

Why Is My Heat Pump Leaking?

This is one of the most common questions asked, and in fact, it is uncommon for your pool pump to actually leak! More commonly, your pump is simply “sweating” with some natural condensation. However, if you do think your pump does have a leak, then test different areas to find the source of the problem.

Types of Pool Heaters

Pool heaters can be a great addition to your family pool. Not only does it lengthen the number of months you can use your pool, it also warms it up during peak swimming months. Purchasing a pool heater is a no brainer, but first you have to understand the different options out there on the market. Here are the four main types of pool heaters that you can purchase:

Gas Heaters

Pool heaters are available for both natural gas and propane. Natural gas pool heaters can generally be connected to an existing residential natural gas meter, whereas propane has heaters will need to be run from a storage tank. Keep in mind that propane storage tanks will need to be refilled regularly. These types of pool heaters are not always the most efficient, but they are usually cheaper than other types. They are also able to heat pools consistently and quickly, no matter the outdoor air temperature.

Electric Resistance Heaters

Electric resistance pool heaters generate heat through electric currents to warm the temperature of your pool. These can typically be purchased for under $2,000, which is still slightly more expensive than natural gas heaters. One of the benefits of electric resistance heaters is that they aren’t dependent on the air temperature to operate, but they will require circuit breakers. This means you might need to hire an electrician to wire the large amperage breakers to safely operate the pool heater.

Heat Pumps

There are two different types of heat pumps used to heat your pool: air-source and water-source. There’s no need to get into the nitty gritty details, just know that these heat pumps are very energy efficient. These types of pool heaters are also cheaper to operate due to this efficiency. The two drawbacks with heat pumps is that they are more expensive to purchase, typically costing upwards of $2,000, and they can take longer to heat up a pool. However, both air-source and water-source heat pumps are built to last with a lifespan of 20 years.

Solar Heaters

Solar panels are the most expensive pool heaters to operate, but they don’t have monthly operating expenses because they utilize the power of the sun to warm the water. These types of pool heaters are built to last and extremely energy efficient, but they do heat pool water very slowly.

What do you need to consider before buying a pool heater?

Now that you know all about the types of pool heaters, it’s time to take a look at the additional factors that need to be considered. Before purchasing a pool heater, you need to look at features like price, durability, maintenance and sizing. Only by taking into consideration all of these different factors can you select the best pool heater for your pool.


Cost is one of the most important factors to look at when you are selecting a pool heater. You need to choose a pool heater that is within your budget. However, you also need to look into operating costs. Aside from solar panels, other types of pool heaters will require additional energy to operate and you’ll see this on your utility bills.


Price is something to keep in mind, but you also want to look at the durability of your choice. Heat pumps and solar panels are more expensive, but they can last up to 20 years. This means less replacement costs and increased durability. See our list of the top 10 durable pool heaters.

Size of Heater

You need to consider the size of your pool when selecting a pool heater. Electronic resistance heaters are not good for larger pools, whereas the other options are. Once you choose the type of heater that you want for your pool, you’ll need to have it sized. There are a variety of methods than can be used to calculate the size of a pool heater, but a call to your local pool store will help narrow it down.


When choosing a pool heater, ease of installation is another option to consider. Electric resistance and gas heaters will likely require bringing in a contractor to wire breakers or run additional gas pipe. Solar panels that double as a cover on your pool can be extremely easy and inexpensive to install.

Manufacturer Warranty

Most pool heater manufacturers offer a standard 90 day warranty with their products. That being said, it’s always nice if you can find one with an extended warranty.