How To Install An Above-Ground Pool Heater

Above-ground heaters make your outdoor swimming pool more comfortable, especially during the cooler months of the year when the temperatures aren't as high as the summer. But how do you install an above-ground pool heater? We have looked into various above-ground pool heaters, and in this post, we will answer this question for you.

The installation for your above-ground pool heater will vary depending on the type of heater that you purchase. However, here are the main steps to hooking up the unit and setting it up for use:

  1. Check your local building codes
  2. Choose a location for the pump
  3. Run the water connection
  4. Set up the electrical line
  5. Connect the gas line and propane tank
  6. Test the heater

If you have an outdoor swimming pool, you may be looking for a way to keep it warm all year round. Continue reading to learn about the main steps to set one up for your pool.

Above ground back yard pool, How To Install An Above-Ground Pool Heater

Steps to Install An Above-Ground Pool Heater

Things you may need for this job [will vary by equipment requirements]:

  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel [to install cement slab]
  • Fasteners
  • Concrete slab
  • Metal or wooden joists

1. Check your local building codes

Unless you are using a solar heater, you're going to need access to your home's electricity to power the pool heater. The amount of power necessary to heat the pool will depend on the size of the pool.

It's best to check your local building codes to ensure that you're able to install new electrical lines, and if so, where. You'll need to hire a professional electrician for this task. They can help you determine where the lines would be placed.

2. Choose a location for the pump

The pump needs a level location where it can be housed. Keep in mind that the pump may make operational noise, so you may not want it placed too close to a bedroom window.

Also, the heater should not be placed directly on the ground, so you'll need to use a cement slab in most cases to house it. You can also use stone patio blocks or set up your own metal or wooden housing for the pump. If it's a gas-powered heater, you'll need to ensure it's placed near the gas line or supply.

3. Run the water connection

If you're using a gas or electric-powered heater, you'll need to connect it to the pool's waterline. This will allow the water to go into the heater and then flow back into the swimming pool. You may need to install an extra piece such as an elbow joint or extension in some cases.

The connection will go from the heater's pump to the pool, and another connection will be needed for the heater input. In total, you'll need two lines total: one for the water coming into the pump and another one for the heated water exiting the heater. The pipes will likely need to be glued together using PVC cement or appropriate pipe glue.

Find PVC cement on Amazon.

4. Set up the electrical line

If you're using a gas or electric pump, you'll need to set up the electrical line for its power source. The process for doing this will depend on the specific brand and model pump that you have as well as its location. It's best to place the electrical line in an area with low traffic, so the wires don't cause a tripping hazard.

5. Connect the gas line and propane tank

Home propane tank

A gas-powered pool heater will be connected to your home's main gas line [though you'll still need to plug the power cord in somewhere]. It's best to have an experienced HVAC professional set up the gas line connection for you as there are many safety hazards and concerns involved with this step.

You'll also need to set up a propane tank near the pool. The size of the tank will vary depending on the size of the pool and heater.

6. Test the heater

Once you set up the power source and water supply to the heater, you'll need to test it [or have the technician perform a test]. To do this, read the manufacturer's instructions and then the power on the unit. Allow the heater to run for several hours and check the connections periodically to ensure there are no leaks.

You'll also want to test the warm water being released from the heater and take the temperature of the pool to ensure that it's reaching your desired temperature. After installing the heater, you may need to adjust the temperature setting, as it may vary depending on how warm it is outdoors.

Need a visual? Check out this video on how to set up an above-ground pool heater:

Can you add a heater to an existing above-ground pool?

Yes. You can add a heater to an existing above-ground pool. The first thing you'll need to do is determine the size of the heat pump that you need to effectively heat the entire pool--which means you'll need to know the dimensions of your pool beforehand.

Next, you'll need to decide on the type of heater you want. You can purchase a gas, electric, or solar-powered water heater for your above-ground swimming pool. A gas-powered heater will be the least expensive option in most cases. That being stated, a solar-powered heater may save you money over time.

What size heater do I need for my above-ground pool?

Bathing in your own garden pool

It depends on the size of your swimming pool. Above-ground pools typically come in sizes of anywhere from 12 to 35 ft, with a depth of 3.5 to 5 feet. Pools within this range can hold anywhere from 7800 to 66,000 gallons of water.

Pool heater sizes typically go by the number of gallons of water that the pool can hold. And if you're purchasing a gas-powered heater, installers will typically choose a pool heater that is anywhere between 200000 and 350000 BTU, as they will heat most above-ground pools effectively.

How much does it cost to add a heater to an above-ground pool?

Wooden cubes foorming word COST and calculator

You can expect to pay anywhere from $700 to over $3,000 a month more to install a heater for your above-ground pool. Many variables can drive the cost up, including the size of the pool, the type of heater that you install, location limitations, and power supply requirements.

It's best to get a few quotes before purchasing your pool heater. This way, you'll know what requirements are needed for your specific pool and home, and you can choose the best heater for the job.

How long does it take for an above-ground pool to warm up?

On average, it can take a pool heater anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to heat your pool to the desired temperature. The time needed to heat the pool will depend on the size of the pool, the power of the pump, and the current outdoor temperature.

When outdoor temperatures are lower, the time needed will take longer, as the pool water temperatures will also be lower. If you want your pool to stay as warm as possible or heat up in as time as possible, you may want to consider installing a solar cover over the pool.

The solar cover will trap the heat from sunlight and help keep the swimming pool water warm. These covers range in price and typically start at around $50 [but they can go up to $300].

Read more about this solar pool cover on Amazon.

Are above-ground pool heaters worth it?

A backyard deck and above ground swimming pool

It depends on who you ask. If you use your swimming pool a lot and prefer the water to be warm, it may be worth the investment. This can often be the case if you live in a region with mild temperatures but colder winters.

However, pool heaters are pretty pricey, and the installation process can be quite expensive. You'll also want to consider the ongoing costs of operating the pool heater as well. Ultimately, it depends on how much you value the pool having a comfortable water temperature during your usage.

Wrapping things up

We hope this post has given you an idea of the installation process of above-ground pool heaters. Remember, the installation process will vary, and you may encounter factors that you didn't expect when exploring the setup process and heater options. This is why it's best to have an experienced heater technician go over the installation requirements with you.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

What Size Propane Tank Do I Need For My Pool Heater?

Pool Heater Smoking – Is This Okay?

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