What’s the Cost to Run a Pool Heater?

Cost Pool Heater

Installing a heater extends the swimming season, especially in the colder months and requires an upfront cost. But what’s the cost to run a pool heater? Having received this question many times, we’ve decided to break it down for you below.



Natural Gas Heaters:

One of the most popular options are Natural Gas Heaters as they heat your pool very quickly. These are pretty self explanatory and use a plumbed gas line from your home to heat up your pool water as it returns into your pool.

  • Natural Gas burns about 1 therm per 100,000 BTU’s per hour (British Thermal Units).
  • At the time of this article the cost of gas is about 1.10 per therm.
  • That means an average pool heater between 300,000 and 400,000 BTU’s will cost anywhere from $3.30 to $4.40 per hour to heat your pool.



Propane Pool Heaters:

Propane Heaters are very similar to gas in the way they function. They heat your pool very quickly, as does natural gas, but with the use of propane.

  • Propane uses about 1 gallon every 100,000 BTU’s per hour (British Thermal Units).
  • The cost of propane at the time of this article is about $2.00 per gallon. For updated propane costs check out the link HERE.
  • This means an average pool heater between 300,000 and 400,000 BTU’s will cost anywhere from $6.00 to $8.00 per hour to heat your pool.



Heat Pumps:

Heat Pumps are a great alternative to gas and work by grabbing the existing air around the unit to heat your swimming pool. Because it utilizes the air around the unit, it saves on energy and is more cost effective than gas or propane heaters. The downside is they become ineffective in temps below 50 degrees.

  • Heat Pumps use about 5 kilowatts per 100,000 BTU’s (British Thermal Units) per hour.
  • At the time of this article the cost of electricity is about $0.63 per 5 kilowatts of energy. For updated electricity costs, check out the link HERE.
  • This means an average heat pump, requiring less BTU’s (around 100,000) will only cost about $0.63 per hour to heat your pool.



Solar Covers:

Solar Covers work by trapping the heat from the sun to heat your pool water. The Solar Cover then prevents the heated water from evaporating from your pool.

  • Solar Covers can be used over and over again and cut down on heating costs dramatically. Depending on the size of pool, you can pick one up for pretty cheap. Plan on spending anywhere from $30.00 to $300.00 for a Solar Cover.



Liquid Solar Blankets:

Alternatively, products like COVERfree work the same way that solar covers function, but with a chemical instead of a cover. COVERfree creates an invisible barrier that enables heat generated from sunlight to warm your pool water. The thin layer also reduces evaporation, preventing the heated water from escaping.



Solar Heaters:

Solar Heaters are a good alternative to traditional heaters as they use sunlight to heat your pool and require little installation. Solar Heaters contain channels that route water back into your pool. The channels trap heat from sunlight, creating hot water as it returns back into your pool.

  • Solar Heaters don’t cost anything to run and are easy to install. Depending on the size and location of your pool, plan on spending around $60.00 to $400.00 on a Solar Heating System.
  • Solar Heating Panels are another great money-saving product. Easily installed on your roof, rack or ground next to the pool, Solar Panels will help keep your water warm and extend your season for more fun in the sun.


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When Kevin’s not enjoying the water himself he’s engaging himself in the wide world of pool and spa knowledge which he passes on to our customers through producing content for our blogs and website. Outside of the pool world you can find him enjoying life with friends, family and his off the wall dog Brixton.