How Long Do Pool Heaters Last?

Written by Michael Dean
May 8, 2024

pool heaters next to a calendar

If you plan to purchase a pool heater, you will have all sorts of questions. Pool heaters can be expensive, so you will want to ensure the model you purchase is built to last. In this article, I will answer the question: How long do pool heaters last?

Main Takeaways

  • Gas pool heaters have the shortest lifespan, while solar pool heaters last the longest.
  • Worrying signs that your pool heater is past its prime are rust, strange noises, leakage, or a damaged heat exchanger.
  • Diligent maintenance is the key to ensuring your pool heater lasts as long as possible.

Average Life Expectancy of a Pool Heater

Here’s the quick answer – pool heaters can last anywhere from 10 to 25 years or more, depending on the type of pool heater, how regularly it is maintained, and how thorough the maintenance is.


Gas pool heaters can last up to 5 to 10 years. They’re the most complicated and expensive to maintain and repair. It is advisable to call a professional repairman to sort out any issues you come across.


Solar pool heaters are expensive to install but are essentially free to run and last a long time. Some people have reported that their equipment has lasted for up to 20 to 30 years. They’re also typically low maintenance and need little to no repair for most of their lifespan. The only other question is how effective are they?


Electric pool heaters are moderately long-lasting and can run up to 15 to 20 years before throwing in the towel. Maintenance is also moderate, but it is easier for the average pool owner to carry out basic servicing checks.

Does Location & Climate Affect A Pool Heater’s Life Expectancy?

The location of your pool does affect the lifespan of a pool heater. If you have an outdoor pool, you have to factor in issues caused by the local environment, such as wind exposure, humidity, rain, sun, and shade. If the pool is indoors, you have much more control over these factors, and your heater will undoubtedly last longer since it’s in a controlled environment.

The climate also naturally affects the lifespan of your equipment. If you live in a semi-tropical region or an area that gets an optimal amount of sunlight with no extreme weather changes like cold snaps or sudden rainstorms, it’s an ideal region for your pool heater to function for a lengthy period of time.

On the other hand, maintenance becomes crucial if you live somewhere with a colder climate because low temperatures come with their own set of problems. If you neglect to winterize your pool heater, ice could build up in the pipes and then expand, causing them to explode.

Another typical result of cold weather is your pool heater cracking and freezing. And if you live in a region with a lot of rainfall, you must be wary of excessive storm debris, humidity, and lightning strikes. Extreme weather like this may cause rust or corrode the unit.

When Is It Time To Replace Your Heater?

Pool heaters go through a lot of wear and tear over their lives. Here are some signs that it’s time to replace it:

  • If you open up the pool heater and notice irreparable levels of rust and corrosion, it’s time to replace it. Not addressing this can lead to a fire hazard or a similarly hazardous event.
  • If your pool heater is noisy (rumbling, screeching, or whistling) or sounds labored, it may be well past its prime.
  • If you’ve neglected to care for your heater, it may have become home to a family of rodents that have chewed up all the equipment’s wiring and contributed debris such as twigs, droppings, and general debris that has clogged any essential valves or pipes.
  • If you notice fluid leakage from the heater, this is a common sign that the equipment is done. A mechanic should examine it as soon as possible.
  • If you aren’t getting any hot water, even though everything seems to be functioning normally.

As always, it’s a good idea to have a professional come over for a diagnosis and let you know if it’s irreparable before you replace the entire system.

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How to Extend the Life of Your Pool Heater

As I’ve preached repeatedly, maintenance of your pool equipment is the best way to ensure it functions well past its expected life expectancy. The better something is taken care of, the longer it’ll last. Here are some points to remember to make your investment in a pool heater really count.

Maintain the recommended pH levels

As always, water chemistry affects all your equipment. High acidity levels in your water can quickly eat away at your heater and corrode the wiring. The ideal pH level is around 7.4 – 7.6, so test the pH balance of your water often and make sure the chemicals are all well within the optimal range.

Clean pool filters

The cleaner your water, the better it is overall for your pool’s health and the heater. Water full of debris passes through your heater and clogs it up, which is unhealthy for your gas valves or heat exchanger. Clean your filters with the recommended filter cleaning chemical solution regularly and perform maintenance checks every few months.

Keep an eye on the heat exchanger

A primary cause of heat pump breakdowns is heat exchanger malfunction. The heat exchanger is a set of copper or cupronickel tubes located at the top of the combustion chamber, which is vulnerable to erosion from pool water chemicals. Give it a yearly check-up, remove the unit, and clear the fins of any grit and dust. Check for signs of corrosion. If you’re replacing your pool heater or buying a new one, look for manufacturers that use titanium for their heat exchangers since it’s pretty resistant to water damage.

Cleaning and maintenance checks

This goes without saying, but since a large part of equipment upkeep is keeping things clean, you need to do the same with your heater. Once every few months, get a brush, a duster, and a vacuum and clean the area around and within the pool heater.

Dust the heat exchanger, clean out the drain holes, check for any signs or symptoms of a rodent infestation, clean the heater floor, and remove any build-up of dust, debris, and muck. Also, clear the area around the pool heater (overgrown vegetation, junk, spare parts) if necessary. This is also an excellent time to ensure your valves are not cracked or leaky, the burner flames are a strong blue, and the wiring isn’t frayed or melted.

Remain vigilant with repairs

Prevention is the best cure for pool heaters. If you want to make your equipment last longer, fix any issues as soon as they pop up. Do not hesitate to call a professional – the longer a problem persists, the worse it is for your pool heater’s life expectancy. I have an entire article on common problems if your pool heater isn’t working.

Good Care = Long Heater Lifespan

In the end, the lifespan depends on how well you service your heater. Even gas pool heaters, which have shorter lives than electric or solar units, can last up to 15 years if maintained well. The better you maintain your equipment, the longer it’ll run to heat your water for those delightful pool sessions.

Do you have any further questions about pool heaters? Don’t hesitate to reach out; I’m here to help! Check out some of the related guides on pool heaters below.

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