Can You Add a Heater to an Existing Pool?

Written by Michael Dean
February 27, 2024

adding a heater to a swimming pool

Whether you have decided to extend your pool season or are simply not enjoying swimming in a freezing pool, it is not uncommon for pool owners to add a heater to an existing swimming pool. Heaters are a popular add-on to any swimming pool that come in many shapes and forms, including gas/propane, electric, and solar.

In this article, I will discuss whether it’s possible to add a heater to an existing inground pool and above ground pool, installation tips, and the relative cost of adding a pool heater.

Main Takeaways

  • You can add a gas/propane, electric, or solar heater to both existing inground and above ground pools.
  • Ensure you follow all instructions when installing a heater; hire a professional if you have any doubts.
  • The relative cost of adding a heater to an existing pool will range from $1,200 to $9,600, including labor costs, depending on the heater you get.

Can You Add a Heater to an Existing Inground Pool?

There is no need to worry if you decide to add a heater to an existing inground pool. This is a very common addition for many pool owners who decide later on that they would like to extend their pool season or simply make the water a more comfortable temperature.

There are many heater options to choose from, and they have their own advantages and disadvantages. But whether you choose a gas/propane, an electric, or a solar heater, it will certainly heat your pool, and you will find no difficulties when installing it on your existing inground swimming pool.

A top tip for adding a heater to your existing inground pool is maintaining the heat in the water to save on running costs. You can do this by purchasing a pool cover or, even better, a solar pool cover.

Can You Add a Heater to an Existing Above Ground Pool?

A heater can indeed be installed in an existing above ground pool, just like an existing inground pool. It doesn’t matter whether the pool is small, large, rectangular, or oval; any kind of heater can be installed in the pool to warm your water.

As with inground pools, it is best to purchase a pool cover to maintain the water temperature and save energy and money. You can read my article on how to heat an above ground pool for more info.

Installation Tips for Adding a Pool Heater

Now that you know that you can undoubtedly add a heater to an existing pool, both inground and above ground, you can move on to installing the heater itself. Different types of heaters will have different installation processes, so let’s go over the three main types for my top installation tips.

Gas/Propane Heater

Gas or propane heaters are an excellent choice for those with larger pools wanting a pool heated up as quickly as possible. They tend to cost less initially than other types of heaters, but it is worth mentioning that they are not very environmentally friendly and can be costly to operate. Installation of a gas or propane heater can be moderately difficult, so hiring a professional is recommended.

  • Make sure to purchase a gas/propane heater for your pool size. One that is too small won’t heat your pool well, and one that is too big will unnecessarily cost more.
  • Choose a location for your heater that allows for clearances and is near enough to gas lines and the filter.
  • Check with the authorities before hooking up your heater with the gas lines. Many places will require a professional to do this part of the job.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or hire a professional for the best results.

Electric Heater

Electric heaters generally come in the form of electric heat pumps. They are a popular heater choice that is energy-efficient, but you will experience higher energy bills over the course of running the heat pump. Unfortunately, a significant drawback of the electric heater is that it is not as effective in colder weather. Electric heater installation can be pretty difficult due to the electrical wiring, so consider hiring a professional for the job.

  • Ensure your electrical supply can support running the electric heater model you choose.
  • Find a suitable location for the heater, allowing for around 24 feet of clearance in all directions.
  • Hire a licensed professional to install an electric heater, especially for the electrical wiring.
  • Make sure the base for the electric heater is level and sound.

Solar Heater

Solar heaters are a great option for those that can afford a higher upfront cost but are looking to be more energy-conscious and save on running costs. You will basically have zero ongoing costs once the solar heater is installed, so this is a very popular choice for many pool owners. They are also easier to install than gas or electric heaters, but how effective are solar heaters?

  • Make sure your location gets enough sunlight and pick the sunniest placement possible.
  • Measure your pool’s dimensions to figure out the size of the solar panels you will need.
  • Install the panels at an angle to get the most sun possible.
  • Check any building codes to ensure you get any permits needed for solar panel installation.

Need to Install a Pool Heater?

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Relative Cost to Add a Pool Heater to Your Pool

The cost of adding a pool heater to your pool will depend on what kind of heater you get. You should consider the cost of the heater itself and the labor costs. More likely than not, you will need to hire a professional to install the heater in your existing pool.

Type of HeaterTotal Cost of Installation
Gas/Propane$1,300 to $6,300
Electric$1,200 to $7,700
Solar$2,300 to $9,600

Check out my article on average pool heater costs for more information.

Keep in mind that these costs are only the initial cost of adding and installing the pool heater. After the installation, there are other costs to consider, including maintenance and pool electricity bills that come later.

Bottom Line

A heater can be a great addition to any pool. Even if you decide to add a heater later in your pool’s life, you know there is no need to worry. A heater can be added to a pool at any stage. Due to the popularity of heaters, there is a wide range of different options to choose from. Whatever you choose, make sure to closely follow the installation manual or simply hire a professional. Especially in the case of electrical wiring or other more complicated parts of the setup, it may save you some headaches in the long run. If you want some good options, head to my best pool heater recommendations.

Any more questions? Let me know, as I’m always happy to help. You can check out these other related heating articles I wrote for more tips on this piece of equipment.

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