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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
|Fastest heating||Expensive operating costs|
|Works in all weather||Not eco-friendly|
|Cheap initial costs||Requires 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.
|Lower operating costs||Inefficient in temperatures below 50 degrees|
|Fast heating||Higher initial costs|
|Solar-powered options||Slower 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
|Reduces water evaporation||Doesn’t produce a lot of heat|
|Cheapest heating option||Can’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.
|Slows evaporation and heat loss||Can be expensive depending on size and materials|
|Low maintenance||Requires professional installation|
|Offers protection from weather elements||Can 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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Can above-ground pools be heated?
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.
What’s the cheapest way to heat an above-ground pool?
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.
What’s the fastest way to heat an above-ground pool?
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.