Top-Rated Heaters For Above-Ground Swimming Pools
We review and examine the cost and benefits of heaters and heat pumps for above-ground pools. This article compares efficiency and cost as we look at heat-pumps versus gas heaters made exclusively for above ground swimming pools. The best heater for above-ground pools maybe a gas heater, or a heat pump, it depends how you are going to use it and how often.
This article compares heat pumps and gas heaters for above-ground pools. We will suggest units based on your pool size and average temperatures here in Massachusetts. First, we will discuss the cost of purchasing and operating a heat pump, vs a gas heater.
Heat Pump Vs, Gas Heater
There is a lot of data that goes into sizing a pool heater. You have to take into account geography, average temp, pool size, etc… I have done all that work for you if you live here in Massachusetts.
It cost between $170.00 to $400.00 more per month to operate a gas heater than it does a heat pump. Heat pump lifespans are twice that of standard gas heaters (solely based on my 25 years in the field). It cost more for a new installation of a gas heater, in part because a plumber is required. With propane gas, you will have a tank, platform, and rental costs, and with natural gas, you may have to add trenching costs to run the fuel pipe.
A heat pump will require a 220v service. don’t confuse a heat pump with an electric heater. Electric heaters would cost a fortune to operate here in Massachusetts. But a heat pump uses the electricity to run a compressor and a fan like your homes central air condenser.
Two Quick Thoughts About Electric Pool Heaters
- Though heat pumps run on electricity, how they use it, and consume it, are totally different than electric heaters.
- Electric pool heaters are not covered in this review, they are simply ridiculous, so never buy one (here in Massachusetts)…end of story.
Cost Of Operating A Pool Heater In Massachusetts
If you want to operate your pool at 80 degrees from the beginning of May, to the and of September, it will cost you $4k to $5k a year with a gas heater. Operating a heat pump for the same period would cost $1200.00 to $1400.00. Ranges widened for yearly temperature variances.
A heater will heat your swimming pool water quickly, so If you are only going to use the appliance to heat the pool every other weekend or so, a heater will cost less to operate.
Cost Of Gas Heaters Versus Heat Pumps
Let’s be clear, it cost roughly a thousand dollars more upfront to purchase a heat pump than a regular gas heater. But, even if you have natural gas, a plumber will charge $500.00 to run the gas pipe, and then hook it up, minimum.
Heat Pump Recommendation Based On Pool Size
12′ Round, 15′ Round, 18′ Round, 21′ Round, 12′ x 24′ Oval, 15′ x 24′ Oval, 15′ x 25′ Oval, 15′ x 30′ Oval, 12′ x 24′ Rectangle, 16′ x 24′ Rectangle.
This Hayward is rated for above ground pools up to 13,000 gallons. So you could almost squeak in a 24 Round (definitely with 48″ pool wall). This unit cost between $1700.00 and $2000.00 depending when you buy it. It is cheapest on Amazon during the winter months. Compare Prices Now On Amazon
Heat Pump For Larger Pools
My next recommendation may seem a bit self-promotional because we sell it on our sister site MGK Pools. But, there is no better bang for the buck than the Raypak/Rheem 95BTU Heat Pump. We sell it for $2440.00. It is sized for the following above ground pool sizes:
24′ Round, 27′ Round, 30′ Round 18′ x 33′ Oval
Buy Now On Our Sister Site No Link Available right now
Tips & Advice
In May and September, the average coldest temperature is 55 degrees. You will want a solar cover to help hold in the heat at night, but also to cut back on evaporation. With a 25 degree variance between your pool temp and the night air, you could lose quite a bit of water to evaporation.
This solar coil is made by a company called Game, and you would need like 8 of them to effect a temperature change of even 5 degrees. It will not extend your swim season one day.