On average, a pool heater costs $2,750 — not including the cost of installation and labor. The labor cost to install a pool heater is approximately $625, bringing the total estimated cost to $3,375. That said, the amount you will pay for a pool heater will vary based on many factors, including where you live and the type of pool heater you choose.
Pool heater cost:
Average total cost
The key factor in estimating the cost of a pool heater is the type and size of the heater you want to buy. Do you need a gas pool heater with a high BTU output? You will likely pay extra for the unit. Or, do you want to take advantage of the cost savings that solar technology can offer? You may save big on your electric bill each month, but upgrading to a solar unit won’t come cheap.
Ready to start narrowing down your options? From gas and solar to electric heat pumps, here’s everything you need to know about pool heater prices.
What’s in this cost guide?
The type of unit you buy will also have a major impact on the price of your pool heater. In general, there are four basic types of pool heaters. Each type, outlined below, will come with varying features and installation costs. Remember: there are pros and cons for every type of pool heater, and the unit you choose will depend highly on your pool’s size, your budget and other factors.
|Heat pump (electric)||$2,000-$5,000|
Solar pool heaters cost approximately $3,000-$4,000 to buy and install. These pool heaters use solar energy from an installed system of solar panels to heat the water in your pool. The higher cost of solar pool heaters can be attributed to the purchase of solar panels, which are required for this type of pool heater.
Gas pool heaters cost $1,500-$3,500. Pool heaters powered by natural gas or propane are often the most efficient (you can find units with 89%-95% efficiency) and cost-effective options. Gas heaters will heat your pool quickly, but they tend to last for only about five or so years.
The cost to buy and install an electric pool heater is approximately $1,250-$2,250. Compared to gas pool heaters, the installation costs may be higher because you’ll likely need to upgrade your wiring.
Pool heat pumps cost $2,000-$5,000. Unlike pool heaters, pumps do not generate heat — they simply transfer it from one place to another using electricity, the filter, heat pump heater, evaporator coil, liquid refrigerant, compressor and condenser.
Another key consideration when choosing a pool heater is the cost you pay for installation. The price of labor costs will play a large part in the total price of a pool heater. The basic price for pool heater installation typically starts between $500 and $1,000.
That said, it’s important to understand that $500-$1,000 is just the starting point. Each heater type carries its own installation price. Electric heater installation is generally the most cost-effective installation, while the installation price for gas and solar pool heaters tends to be much higher.
For example, you might pay anywhere between $500-$2,000 and up to install a solar pool heater for labor and installation — not including equipment. These higher installation costs stem from the fact that the installation of the solar panels that heat the pool takes several days to complete.
The cost of gas heater installation is generally higher than electric, but also less expensive than solar. It can, however, get extremely pricey if new gas lines need to be run or other major accommodations need to be made.
The purchase and installation costs are not the only costs you need to consider when installing a pool heater. If you want to know the trust cost of owning a pool heater, factor in the monthly costs as well.
While the price you pay per month will vary depending on the unit you choose and the climate you live in, the cost to run a pool heater will also vary based on the unit type and its efficiency. For example, the cost of running a gas pool heater can range from about $100 to more than $3,000 per year.
On the other hand, the cost of solar heat per month is much smaller, as the solar power will cut down on the usage costs considerably. In fact, the Department of Energy states, “Actually, solar pool heating is the most cost-effective use of solar energy in many climates.” The costs won't be negated completely, though. You generally still have to pay for the electricity to run the pump for the heater.
The costs below illustrate the estimated monthly usage costs by pool heater type.
- Heat pumps: $100-$200 per month
- Gas pool heater: $300-$600 per month
- Electric pool heater: $500 per month
In addition to the type of pool heater you choose, several other factors will impact how much you pay to install (or replace) a pool heater and run it during the pool season. These factors include:
- The size of the unit you need
- The BTU output
- Labor costs in your area
- The climate in your region
- Extra parts and labor, like running new gas lines or electricity to the unit
For example, a large pool likely needs a heater with a high BTU output and more horsepower. These larger units are more costly to purchase and install. Or, if the installation requires extra parts or work, like running new gas lines or electrical wiring, there will be additional costs added onto the bill for both parts and labor.
Another factor that affects the price of installation is the cost of the billable hours and extra parts or materials. Depending on the type of pool heater you purchase, a pool heater installation will require PVC plumbing, gas plumbing, electrical wiring and proper venting. These costs add up, as do the hours spent on the job by the professionals.
The area you live in can also impact the price of installation. Labor costs vary greatly from one place to place, and contractors in areas with high demand may charge more to install your pool heater.
You may also have to pay to have the old heater removed and discarded. These fees, while typically nominal, may also need to be factored into the equation.
While you may feel comfortable taking a DIY approach to other home projects, think twice before taking the DIY route when installing or replacing a pool heater. Electricity and water are a dangerous combination. Consider hiring a qualified contractor to install a gas or electric pool heater to ensure that the job is done correctly and safely.
After you've researched the different types of pool heaters and narrowed down your top picks, it’s time to start looking for a pool expert near you. It's important to remember that this type of installation project involves water, electricity, and in many cases, gas lines, so you need someone who understands the risks and knows how to navigate the installation safely.
Keep the following tips in mind when searching for a contractor to do the job:
- Find an experienced professional. Pool heater installation requires a wealth of knowledge about plumbing, gas lines, electrical issues and other potentially hazardous repairs. Do your homework and hire a professional who understands how to complete your installation safely.
- Have a clear idea of what you need — and what you want. The only way to get an accurate cost estimate is to know what you have in mind. If you want to install a solar pool heater, you need to know what type, the size of your pool and other details will help the contractor determine the cost of the project. The same goes for gas or electric pool heaters. If you have gas lines running to the pool, let the contractors know. If you’re going to need other repairs, be upfront about the issues and provide as many details as possible. Doing so will help you get an accurate idea of the costs and will save you from headaches later in the process.
- Request estimates. Most contractors will offer free estimates for the job, so ask multiple contractors (at least three) to provide a quote for your installation project. This gives you an idea of the price range and lets you know which option would be most cost-effective.
- Check licensing and other important documents. Any contractor you hire should be licensed and insured for your safety and theirs, so check these documents before hiring a contractor. Doing so will help eliminate anyone who is unqualified to complete the job.
- Read reviews. Reviews can tell you a lot about a contractor's work ethic, experience and other important factors at play. Look for contractors with plenty of good online reviews.
Related content: How to hire a contractor.
Ready to start your summer off right with a new pool heater? Use Thumbtack to hire the best local pool experts and companies who can get the job done. We do the hard work — like finding local pool contractors and gathering reviews — so you can hire the right installer with confidence.
Can you add heat to an existing pool?
Yes, you can add heat to an existing pool. Consider installing a gas or solar pool heater or a heat pump. A swimming pool cover can also help your pool retain heat, reduce evaporation and ultimately lower your swimming pool heating costs each month.
Does a pool heater add value to your home?
There aren't any recent, readily available statistics that support the assumption that a pool heater can increase your home’s value or give you a return on your investment (ROI). The best way to find out which home projects have a strong ROI is to talk to a real estate expert and research what potential homebuyers in your area are looking for.
What is the best heater for a pool?
The best heater for your pool depends on your needs and budget. The pool heaters that various industry publications consider the “best” include a mixture of heat pumps, solar heaters and gas heaters. So when deciding on the best pool heater for you, consider these factors:
- Ease of installation
- Customer reviews and ratings
What size pool heater do I need?
To figure out what size pool heater you need, you’ll need to:
- Calculate the pool’s surface area.
- Figure out what the best swimming pool temperature should be.
- Pinpoint the average temperature for the coldest month you plan to use your pool.
- Determine the temperature rise needed by subtracting the average temperature for the coldest month from your desired pool temperature.
- Calculate the Btu/hour output requirement of the heater.
Choosing a pool heater can be tricky. Hire a pro to avoid installing the wrong-sized heater.