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How to Heat an Above Ground Pool

As an above ground pool owner, you’ve probably asked yourself how you can heat it and extend your usage into the cooler months.

To heat your above ground pool, you’ll first need to set your budget, choose the type of heating option to use, determine the best product within your budget, and then install it. There are also cheap do-it-yourself ways to heat your pool that can save a little money.

There are a variety of options available to pool owners to effectively heat their above ground pools. You can also find several tips out there if you aren’t looking to purchase anything just yet. First, let’s dive into the budget.

How to Heat an Above Ground Pool

Set your budget.

When it comes to owning an above ground pool, there are a lot of costs associated with it. When deciding your heating option, it is important to be clear about your budget. 

You’ll want to consider the following costs when setting your budget:

  • Pool chemicals – Depending on the size of your pool, these can range from $5 to $15 each month. 
  • Filters The cost of filters can be anywhere from $15 to $50. This can depend on the type of filter, but also on how many you choose to buy at a time.
  • Additional Costs – This can span over a range of things such as vacuums to clean the bottom of the pool, to skimmers for the surface. You could also list a pool maintenance employee into these costs.

Heating options.

As far as heaters go, there are three basic types you can choose from when it comes to your above ground pool. There are heat pumps, gas pumps, and solar panels. In addition to heaters, there are products you can place into or on top of the pool to heat your pool, such as solar blankets or solar rings. 

Heat Pumps

If you are looking for the fastest, easiest way to install a heater, a heat pump may be your best option. This type of heater plugs doesn’t use propane or gas. Instead, it uses a thermal heating system that pulls in the air from outside to heat the pool.

This type of pump works best if you are looking to only heat your pool through the summer months, and a few weeks into the winter or spring months.

The reason for this is because the heat pump doesn’t generate heat on its own and requires warmer air outside. When the air outside drops below 45°F to 50°F (7°C to 10°C), it becomes harder for the pump to heat the pool. 

The Hayward W3SP1592 is an example of a best selling heat pump that could work for your pool needs.

How to Heat an Above Ground Pool

Gas Pumps

Another heating option for your above ground pool is a gas pump. What makes these pumps different from the heat pump is that the air outside doesn’t factor into its ability to heat the pool. Gas pumps work faster because they generate heat on their own, making them perfect for short term usage on pools that might not get used on a daily basis.

The downside to the gas pump is that it’s a more expensive option. Gas pumps are fueled by either natural gas or propane, as well as electricity. So this should be considered when deciding which heating option works best for your budget. 

This Raypak 260,000 gas pump can give you an idea of the costs associated with this heating option. Since these types of pumps require gas or propane as well as electricity, installation could be more complicated.

Raypak 206,000 BTU Digital Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Pool Heater

Solar Panel Heaters

If you are looking to significantly reduce the costs of heating your pool, a solar panel heating system could be your best option. It works in a similar way as the gas pump does, except its power source is solar, rather than gas or propane. This can cut back on the additional cost of gas or propane, as well as the cost of waste removal. 

A solar panel heating system may include the following:

  • A filter – this will clean any water taken from the pool
  • A pump – the pump pulls the water from the pool into the filter, to the collector, and back to the pool
  • A flow valve – used to divert water through the collector
  • A collector – this is where the water goes to be heated by the sun

This equipment can take up ample space in your yard and around your pool. This should be taken into consideration when deciding your best options.

A top-rated solar heating system on Amazon is the Fafco Solar Bear. It offers two buying options, as well as two ways to install.

Determine the best product for your budget.

After you’ve decided on the heating option that best suits your budget, you’ll need to figure out the best product. 

Deciding a pool budget is hard enough without having to figure out which products work best for you. This is why you should find this comparative list of the best pool heaters of 2020 helpful.

How to Heat and Above Ground Pool


Many people find the task of installing new equipment to be daunting and stressful. If you find yourself unsure, hiring someone to install the heater is also possible. If you purchase your heater through a local pool shop, ask them if they install the heaters as well. If they don’t, find out if they can point you to someone who can install it for you.

If all else fails, you can always turn to YouTube for a video on how to install the specific pump you have.

Not ready to buy?

If you aren’t ready to buy, that’s okay! There are plenty of cheaper ways to heat your pool. 

Solar Cover

Solar covers are meant to cover the entire pool to trap the heat from the sun and keep the pool warm throughout the night. They can even be used early in the spring months to get your pool ready sooner.

The downside to these covers is that you can’t be in the pool while they are on. These are best used when getting ready for pool season, or when the nights are getting a little chillier. 

Solar Blankets or Rings

Much like the solar covers, solar blankets or rings are plastic rings or rectangles that will float on the top of the pool. These products will trap the heat from the sun and use it to keep the pool warm throughout the day or the night.

Unlike the solar covers, these rings or blankets do not cover the entire surface of the pool. This causes heat to escape. This is a heating method best used in the summer months when the nights are still warm.

You can also combine this method with a Solar cover or additional blankets or rings to cover the surface of your pool.

Below is a video that has additional options to heat your pool.

Do It Yourself

If you are a bit creative and have the tools necessary to make a heater yourself, there are a number of DIY projects to heat your pool. 

An example of one of the many ways to make your own heater is here. This is a step by step guide to making a solar panel heater yourself. 


Hopefully, this article has shown you how to heat your above ground pool and has given you some tools to decide the best option for your budget. 


  • Steve Rajeckas

    Steve Rajeckas is an HVAC hobbyist with an avid interest in learning innovative ways to keep rooms, buildings, and everything else at the optimal temperature. When he's not working on new posts for Temperature Master, he can be found reading books or exploring the outdoors.

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