The 5 Best Ways to Heat an Above Ground Pool

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If you want the most efficient way to heat your above-ground pool, opt for a gas water heater. If you aren’t as concerned with efficiency and want a cheaper or more eco-friendly option, try a heat pump or solar blanket.
Picture this: you have a day off from work and nothing on your schedule. No pressing social engagements, no looming virtual meetings—just you, your favorite beverage, and unicorn-shaped pool floaty. 
Except it's 55 degrees outside and 5 minutes in your pool would turn your lips blue. If you’re tired of staring longingly at your pool 9 months out of the year, it’s time to think about investing in an above-ground pool heater.
Ready to take the not-so-icy plunge? Home and car insurance super app Jerry has compiled everything you need to know about choosing a pool heater. 
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Ways to heat your above-ground pool

Water heaters

ProsCons
Fastest heatingExpensive operating costs
Works in all weatherNot eco-friendly
Cheap initial costsRequires professional installation
Water heaters are by far the most efficient way to heat your above-ground pool. If you’re a fan of a particularly steamy dip, a water heater can raise the temperature of your pool by 30 degrees. 
Water heaters are fairly affordable and they may extend the usable months of your pool (depending on your climate). 
However, water heaters can be expensive to maintain in the long run. They require a fuel source to operate, so you’ll have to buy gasoline, natural gas, or propane to keep it running. They also need to be professionally installed, which can add to set-up costs.

Heat pumps

ProsCons
Lower operating costsInefficient in temperatures below 50 degrees
Fast heatingHigher initial costs
Solar-powered optionsSlower heating than water heaters
If you still want an efficient way to heat your pool without buying fuel every month, heat pumps are another great option. 
While not quite as fast as a water heater, heat pumps can still do a good job of heating a large pool, and save on your energy bill every month.
Heat pumps are only efficient if the outside temperature is above 50 degrees. So if you live in colder climates, this might cut into the amount of time you can enjoy your pool.

Solar blankets and rings

ProsCons
Reduces water evaporationDoesn’t produce a lot of heat
Cheapest heating optionCan’t heat a large pool
While not as effective, water heaters or heat pumps, solar blankets and rings can still raise the temperature of your pool (while costing far less than the first two options on this list). 
Solar blankets and rings capture sunlight to heat your pool water and keep it warm by preventing water evaporation. They’re also extremely affordable and easy to install.
Solar blankets and rings need lots of exposure to sunlight, so the temperature of your pool is greatly dependent on the weather conditions.

Wind shielding

ProsCons
Slows evaporation and heat lossCan be expensive depending on size and materials
Low maintenanceRequires professional installation
Offers protection from weather elementsCan limit pool’s sun exposure
If you’d rather not buy an expensive heater or add anything to your pool itself, a wind shield structure might be a good option. 
Most heat loss in your pool is caused by wind speeding up evaporation. Building a structure around your pool that shields it from the wind will slow down that evaporation. And, depending on how you build your wind shield, your pool can also be protected from rain and intense sun.
Unfortunately, the cost of a wind shield can be pretty high depending on its size and what materials you choose. Also, most wind shields need to be built by professional contractors, increasing costs further. 
Key Takeaway Water heaters are the fastest way to heat your above-ground pool, but solar rings and blankets are cheaper and more eco-friendly.

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FAQs

Yes! There are several options for heating your above-ground pool. The most efficient option is a water heater, but if you want something less expensive, opt for a heat pump or solar blanket.
Solar blankets are the cheapest option to buy and have little to no monthly operating costs. The trade-off, however, is that solar blankets won’t heat your pool as well as some of the more expensive options.
Water heaters are by far the fastest way to heat your above-ground pool. Other options can heat your pool water, but they take more time.

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