How much does a pool heater cost?

$1,600 – $5,200 average cost with installation

Get free estimates from pool heater installers near you, or view our cost guide below.

May 6, 2022

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 2 expert pool heater installers on HomeGuide.

Pool heater cost

A pool heater costs $1,600 to $5,200 installed on average, depending on the type, size, and if the pool is inground or above-ground. New swimming pool heater prices are $1,000 to $4,000+ for the unit, plus $500 to $1,500 for installation or replacement labor.

Pool heater cost - chart
Pool heater cost - chart

Pool heater cost
Heater type Average cost installed
Natural gas / propane $1,500 – $4,500
Electric resistance $1,200 – $6,000
Heat pump $2,000 – $6,000
Solar $2,500 – $6,500
  • Running a heated swimming pool costs $100 to $500 per month on average, depending on the type.
  • A pool heater lasts 10 to 12 years on average.

Average cost to install or replace a pool heater

The following table shows the average cost to install or replace a pool heater.

Average cost to install or replace a pool heater - chart
Average cost to install or replace a pool heater - chart

Average cost to install or replace a pool heater
National average cost $3,300
Minimum cost $1,000
Maximum cost $11,000
Average cost range $1,600 to $5,200

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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Pool heater installation cost by type

Pool heater installation cost by type
Heater type Unit price Labor Total cost installed
Natural gas/propane $1,000 – $3,000 $500 – $1,500 $1,500 – $4,500
Electric resistance $700 – $5,000  $500 – $1,000 $1,200 – $6,000
Heat pump $1,500 – $5,000 $500 – $1,000 $2,000 – $6,000
Solar $2,000 – $5,000 $500 – $1,500 $2,500 – $6,500

Pool heater running during the winter
Pool heater running during the winter

Propane or gas pool heater cost

A gas pool heater costs $1,500 to $4,500 with installation or $1,000 to $3,000 for the unit alone. Gas pool heaters warm the water quickly and operate at any air temperature, but are the least energy-efficient, cost $200 to $500+ per month to run, and have the shortest lifespan.

Gas heaters burn natural gas or propane in a combustion chamber to heat water as it passes through a series of copper coils.

Be careful to vent a gas pool heater as far from the pool as possible. Gas fumes will collect and settle on top of the pool water, creating a dangerous risk for swimmers.

Pool heater installed on side of house
Pool heater installed on side of house

Pool heat pump cost

A pool heat pump costs $2,000 to $6,000 with installation or $1,500 to $5,000 for the unit alone, depending on the size. Heat pumps are more energy-efficient and cost $50 to $150 per month to operate, but take longer to warm the water.

Heat pump pool heaters extract heat from the air and transfer it to the water.

Solar pool heater cost

A solar pool heater costs $2,500 to $6,500 with installation or $2,000 to $5,000 for the system alone, depending on the size and number of collectors. A solar pool heater uses thermal energy from the sun to heat water as it circulates through tubes inside roof-mounted collectors.

A solar pool heater pump uses electricity to circulate the heated water, costing $10 to $25 per month.

Some states offer rebates for solar pool heaters installed by a licensed professional.

Electric resistance pool heater cost

An electric pool heater costs $1,200 to $6,000 with installation or $700 to $5,000 for the unit alone. Electric resistance heaters use a large amount of electricity, costing $175 to $600 per month, making them more suitable for spas and small therapy pools.

Electric heaters use an electrical current to heat water as it moves over a resistor coil.

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Pool heater replacement cost factors

  • Pool size & heater size – Large pools or homes in cold climates require a larger pool heater, increasing the costs.
  • Above ground vs. inground pool – An inground pool typically needs a larger heater than an above-ground pool.
  • Location & climate – Gas heaters are more popular in northern regions, while solar heaters are suitable for sunny climates.
  • Labor to install a pool heater costs $500 to $1,500, depending on the heater type.
  • Permits – Installing roof-mounted collectors for a solar pool heater or running a new gas line for a gas pool heater requires a permit.
  • Removing the old heater costs $25 to $50 and is typically included in the installation estimate.
  • Saltwater pools use the same gas, heat pump, or solar pool heater a chlorine or bromine pool uses.
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Swimming pool heater prices by size

The recommended minimum pool heater size is 50,000 BTUs for every 5,000 to 10,000 gallons of water for mild climates and double that amount for cold climates. Select a larger size for gas pool heaters or if your desired water temperature is higher than average.

Swimming pool heater prices by size
Pool surface area (square feet) Volume (gallons) Heater size (BTUs) Average unit price*
Up to 300 1,000 – 10,000 50,000 – 106,000 $1,300 – $2,200
301 – 500 10,000 – 20,000 106,001 – 250,000 $1,800 – $3,200
501 – 800 20,000 – 40,000 250,001 – 400,000 $2,300 – $3,600
801 – 1,200 40,000 – 80,000 400,000+ $3,000 – $5,000

*Not including installation.

Avoid buying a heater that is too small to heat the pool effectively. The pool will take longer to heat up, and the heater will be forced to work harder, causing added wear and tear or early system failure.

Gas line for pool heater cost

Running a gas line costs $12 to $25 per linear foot for a pool heater, including labor, materials, and permits. Total costs depend on the distance from the gas main to the pool heater. Longer distances may require a larger diameter line, increasing the cost.

Pool heater plumbing and electrical wiring costs

Pool heater installation may incur additional plumbing and electrical costs, depending on the heater type and the current plumbing setup:

  • Installing plumbing pipes costs $300 to $600 to connect the pool heater to the existing water line.
  • Installing an electrical circuit costs $300 to $750 on average, including a new outlet for the pool heater.

Above-ground pool heater cost

An above-ground pool heater costs $1,300 to $2,400 on average with installation. Above-ground pools are typically smaller than inground pools and require a smaller heat pump or gas heater.

Cheap pool heating options

Other ways to reduce pool heating costs:

  • Pool cover installation costs $75 to $3,000+, depending on the type, material, and whether it's manual or mechanized.
  • Solar blankets cost $50 to $400, depending on the size and shape. A solar blanket is a large plastic pool cover with built-in thermal bubbles that capture and retain heat while reducing evaporation.
  • Solar pool rings cost $35 to $50 each or $170 to $200 per 6-pack. A solar pool ring is a 5' round floating cover that focuses sunlight on the water and minimizes heat loss from evaporation. Multiple solar rings are required, depending on the pool size.
  • Pool enclosure installation costs $4,000 to $14,000 on average, depending on the pool size and enclosure type. High-end glass or polycarbonate pool enclosures cost $10,000 to $50,000.

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Cost to run a pool heater

A pool heater costs $200 to $500 per month to run for natural gas or electric systems. A heated pool costs $50 to $150 per month using a heat pump and $10 to $25 a month for solar. Operating costs depend on the heater size, type, climate, desired water temperature, and utility rates.

Cost to run a pool heater
Heater type Cost per month Cost per year*
Natural gas $200 – $500 $1,600 – $4,000
Propane $250 – $1,000 $2,000 – $8,000
Electric resistance $175 – $600 $1,400 – $4,800
Heat pump $50 – $150 $400 – $1,200
Solar $10 – $25 $80 – $200

*For an 8-month swimming season.

  • Gas heaters are the most efficient when heating the pool for short periods of time, making them ideal for homeowners who use the pool only on weekends or infrequently.
  • Electric resistance heaters and heat pumps must run all the time.
  • Heat pumps provide more cost savings for homeowners who use the pool frequently.
  • A solar pool heater pump uses electricity to circulate the heated water.

Frequently asked questions

Can you add a heater to an existing pool?

Yes, you can add a heater to an existing pool. Installing a pool heater later typically requires cutting into the plumbing to connect the heater to the pool's water circulation system.

How long does it take to install a pool heater?

Installing a pool heater takes 1 to 2 days on average, depending on the heater type and whether the installation requires a new gas line or electrical circuit. Add two days if the heating unit must be mounted on concrete.

Can I install a pool heater myself?

Installing your own pool heater saves $500 to $1,500 on labor costs and is a simple DIY project if the gas or electric hookups are already in place. Hire a pro instead to install a new gas heater or heat pump. Most states require a licensed contractor to install gas appliances.

DIY solar pool heater installations typically are not eligible for tax incentives or rebates.

How long does a pool heater last?

A pool heater lasts 10 to 12 years on average, depending on the heater type, usage, and climate. Gas pool heaters typically have the shortest lifespan at 7 to 8 years, while heat pumps and solar heaters can last up to 15 years.

How does a heated pool work?

A pool heater draws cold water from the pool and circulates it through a heating tank before sending warm water back into the pool. Pool heaters work in vinyl, fiberglass, and concrete swimming pools to keep the water at a steady, comfortable temperature even when it's cold outside.

The U.S. Water Fitness Association recommends a water temperature of 78° to 82° F for recreational swimming and at least 84° F for children under five years old or seniors with arthritis.

Does a gas pool heater need electricity?

A continuous pilot gas pool heater – also called a millivolt ignition system – does not need electricity. Some areas require gas heaters to have an intermittent-ignition system, which requires electricity to turn the pilot light on when needed.

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Finding and hiring a pool heater installer

Before hiring a pool installer near you, be sure to:

  • Get at least three estimates to compare.
  • Look for licensed contractors with experience installing pool heaters.
  • Choose installers certified by the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP).
  • Browse their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for more than five years.
  • When comparing quotes, confirm they include equipment of the same size and quality.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full before the installation starts. Use a payment plan instead for work completed.

Questions to ask

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • How many pool heaters have you installed?
  • Do you recommend a gas, heat pump, or solar water heater for my pool, and why?
  • Which brand of pool heater do you recommend?
  • What heater BTU size is best for my pool?
  • How warm should I keep my pool?
  • How much more swimming season can I expect after the heater is installed?
  • Are there any rebates available?
  • How long is the warranty, and what does it include?
  • How long will the installation take?
  • How long will it take to heat my pool?
  • What kind of maintenance will the pool heater require?
  • Do you offer a cleaning service for the pool heater's heat exchanger?
  • Do I need to winterize the pool heater?
  • Do I still need to use a pool cover?
  • Can you provide references from previous clients?

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