With summer quickly approaching, individuals and families everywhere are considering becoming first time above ground pool owners. One of the key components to above ground pools is, surprisingly, an above ground pool heater or even pool ladders.
While pool owners in warm climates may think of above ground pool heaters as unnecessary, pool heaters can extend the swimming season and provide comfortable relaxation throughout the year in any number of locations and climates.
In cooler climates with only a couple of months of swimming weather, pool heaters are an absolute must for extending the swimming season.
If the thought of swimming season coming to a close and shutting down the pool for the winter makes you a little sad or anxious, a pool heater could be a great edition to your leisure time.
With the proper equipment, you can extend the swimming season weeks or even months into the late fall, or get into the pool quicker by warming the water up in early spring.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Above Ground Pool Heater Types
- 2 Hayward H100IDP Propane Gas Pool Heater
- 3 Hayward H150FDN Universal 150,000 BTU Pool Heater
- 4 Hayward SP50TA Pool Heat Pump 50,000 BTU
- 5 AquaPro PRO1400HC Pool Heat Pump 137,000 BTU
- 6 Blue Wave Solar Blanket for Above Ground Pools
- 7 Blue Wave 24-Foot Round Solar Blanket
- 8 Blue Wave NS6028 Solar Heater for Above Ground Pools
- 9 Solar Dome Swimming Pool Heater
- 10 Fafco Heating System for Above Ground Pools
Above Ground Pool Heater Types
There are many different methods to heating your pool, both natural and electric.
Perhaps the best, but most expensive, way to warm your pool, gas heaters raise water temperatures quickly. Natural gas heaters are reliable, safe, and efficient.
Most natural gas heaters connect directly to your home’s existing gas line and are simple to install and use. Propane pool heaters, conversely, do not have to be hooked up to the existing propane line and are self-sufficient and easy to install.
Digital propane pool heaters run automatically after you set your desired water temperature, just like a thermostat in your home heating and air system.
There are less expensive manual options that will work just as efficiently with a bit more interaction from the owner. Both natural gas and propane gas pool heaters run about the same for the unit itself.
The Hayward H100IDP H-Series Propane Gas Above Ground Pool Heater has an electronic ignition for automatic operation and 120 volt electric hookup for easy installation.
The induced draft technology ensures optimum heating no matter the outdoor weather, and the cabinet ensures always cool-to-the-touch surface temperature. This unit is recommended for pools under 450 square feet.
- Easy to install and self-sufficient
- Can raise water temperature one degrees per hour of use
- Water chemical imbalance may cause the unit to malfunction and will not be honored by the manufacturer’s warranty
Available in a wide variety of options from 150,000 BTU up to 500,000 BTU, this heater plugs into your existing natural gas line and features a standard cupro nickel heat exchanger for value and reliability.
The polymer header and bypass valve offer the ultimate experience in hydraulic efficiency. The H-Series features an easy to operate front facing interface and digital LED control panel along with hydraulic performance to reduce circulation time.
Available online at Amazon.com, this Hayward H150FDN Universal 150,000 BTU Pool Heater will be a long term purchase lasting for many years to come.
- Easy to use interface
- Maximum performance in market
- Requires professional installation
- More expensive than many heating options available
Heat pumps work by gathering warm air from the surrounding climate and using it to raise the temperature of the water.
The Hayward HP50TA Residential Pool Heat Pump offers an acoustic compressor cover and profiled fan blade to ensure quiet operation and efficient peak performance.
The Ultra-Gold corrosion resistant evaporator fin ensures extreme durability and the titanium heat exchanger is designed for maximum heat transfer and long term reliability.
The durable injection molded body panels are UV resistant and are impervious to rust and deterioration. The unit is made with stainless steel hardware, a polyethylene screen to protect the evaporator coils from damage, and is lightweight, easy to transport and install.
The Hayward SP50TA can also be used with a salt water chlorinator by installing the heat pump between the pool filter and the chlorine generator.
- Extremely durable to a wide variety of climates and external factors
- Raises water temperature quickly and maintains desired temperature well
- Heats water up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit
- Requires additional hardware such as an amp to run, requires refrigerant which may leak during shipping or transporting to poolside
Just as you have the option to heat your above ground pool, some above ground pool heaters include an option to cool the water!
This feature can be completely worth the hefty price in places warmer year round, when the water gets too hot to be refreshing from the heat!
The AquaPro Pro1400HC Heat-Cool Above Ground Pool Heater – this technology is up to 85% more efficient than gas heaters and it can heat OR cool your pool water with the flip of a switch!
Handy features are the digital thermostat controller, titanium heat exchanger, UV resistant housing and PVC fittings. It runs 208/230V and can heat or cool up to 40,000 gallon pools!
Those of us in the southern states of America can truly appreciate the option to cool the hot pool water down with the amount of sun, high temperatures, and high humidity we get most of the year.
- Cools as well as heats pool water
- Can heat or cool large pools up to 40,000 gallons
- Warranty is not voided if pool chemicals are off chemistry
- May require professional assistance installing the unit
Solar covers are easy and cost effective – they heat up during the day and retain warmth throughout the night. Solar covers come in a wide variety of thicknesses, colors, and sizes.
You may also find a solar blanket – lying on the water instead of sealing the entire top of the pool – is plenty efficient for your needs.
All quality solar covers should be UV protected and will last for years properly stored. Solar covers work by trapping water evaporation and solar radiation – think of a greenhouse effect.
This process may raise water temperatures by up to 15 degrees with regular use.
One additional accessory to consider if purchasing a solar cover: a solar cover reel! These handy instruments make unrolling your solar cover over the pool much easier and provide handy storage for solar covers when not in use.
One person can easily put the solar cover on or take it off using a solar cover pool reel. Typically, above ground solar cover reels comes with a good price tag.
Blue Wave offers this clear solar blanket for cheap with price range depending on the size.
Due to the opaqueness of this particular solar cover, more of the sun’s rays can reach your pool and the thermal bubbles lock this heat in, raising the temperature of your pool water gradually.
Blue Wave backs the product with a 5 year manufacturer warranty.
This blanket is made of thick, 12 gauge material, which provides additional security from debris, cool winds, and night time temperatures, as well as increased durability for long term use.
- Can raise pool water temperatures up to 8 degrees when properly used
- Easy to take on and off the pool, no installation necessary
- Does not use any electricity or gas, will not increase utility bills!
- May crack or split with continued use in full sun and dry climates
- Can disintegrate within a year of use in salt water pools
- Can be difficult to take on or off pool without additional cover reel
Blue Wave makes solar blankets in a variety of sizes – the 12 foot solar blanket sells for cheap, and the product comes in sizes of 15 foot, 18 foot, 21 foot, 24 foot, 28 foot, 30 foot, 33 foot, and 36 foot – with the largest selling for bigger price tag.
These solar blankets work as mentioned above, raising temperatures up potentially by a whopping 15 degrees.
The transparent blue color traps the sun’s rays and the heat-retaining thermal bubbles assist in heating the water, even on cool, cloudy, or overcast days.
- Backed by a 3 year warranty
- Quick set up and take down
- May need to adjust pool pump and filter settings to ensure maximum warmth
- Bugs and debris may enter water around edges of solar cover
For those eco-conscious and fiscally conservative pool owners, solar heaters use solar energy to warm the pool waters instead of gas.
Solar technology is not popular in many parts of the world, so it can seem like an illogical option to many users.
However, this is a great way to cut down on your effect on the Earth, not to mention save big money on utility bills month to month.
So, how do solar heaters work? Let’s review the technology for any above ground pool owner considering the option of a solar heater but unfamiliar with solar powered technology.
Pool water is pumped through your above ground pool’s filter system and passed through a solar hot water collector – a thin, flat box usually mounted on a roof or wooden mounting rack.
The collectors absorb the sun’s solar rays to heat the water running through the unit. Unlike solar panels, which convert the sun’s rays into electricity, solar pool heaters use the sun’s rays directly, heating up the water in only one step.
One very cool thing about solar heaters is that they can be used to cool down water in hot climates by running the system at night!
There are several different types of solar heaters, so determine the best option for your pool setup by knowing the differences between the different solar heaters.
“Unglazed” collector systems are generally less expensive, because they don’t have glass coverings, instead using rubber or plastic parts.
These units are absolutely fine for use in warmer climates. If you plan, however, to use a solar heater in temperatures below freezing, you’ll want to consider the more expensive glass glazed setups.
Solar heating systems can be one of the most price effective methods of heating your above ground pool, because most of the components of the system are already installed in your pool – a pool pump and filter system, primarily.
The solar heater is simply installed in the line of this existing setup. Size is another factor to consider, as you will need increased size collectors for your solar heater depending on the size of your above ground pool.
Solar covers can be used in addition to a solar heater to retain heat at night, making the solar heater more effective by preventing loss of heat through the surface of the pool.
The best place for your solar collector would be on the roof of your home, facing south for maximum collection of sun rays, however, it is not an absolute requirement to mount the panels to the roof if you receive maximum sunlight in another area of the yard closer to the pool.
You can also build a wooden mounting rack to get the panel up off of the ground. Let’s review some options for solar heaters.
For solar heaters to work with maximum efficiency, they should be receiving direct sunlight between 10:00am and 16:00pm.
This solar heater is designed for above ground pools up to 30 feet in diameter or with a capacity of 12,000 gallons. At a very good price, its unique curve shape allows for maximum heat absorption with such a large surface area to soak up the sun’s energy.
This unit does not require mounting additional solar panels to the roof or a wooden mounting rack.
As opposed to other types of above ground pool heaters, this unique heater will lower the amount of time it takes to heat the water in your pool while also increasing the heating capacity up to 40% per cycle, all while saving money on your electric bill.
This solar heater states it will raise the water temperature in your above ground pool by 5 degrees in 5 days, so it isn’t as immediate as other methods.
Once connected, your above ground pool pump filtering system feeds water into the heating station through the solar coils and is warmed by the solar energy collected and stored within.
Water drains through the exit port and post into the existing return and empties into the pool, gradually increasing water temperatures.
- Energy efficient, works with existing pump system
- Large surface area and many solar coils for maximum solar capacity
- Does not raise temperatures as much as other methods
- Takes at least one full cycle to raise water temperature
The SolarDome Swimming Pool Heater for Above Ground Pools offers a more economical option, selling for less than 100 bucks online with free shipping at Amazon.
Just like the previously mentioned unit, this solar heater uses the sun’s solar rays to heat up your above ground pool water up to five degrees in 3-8 days depending on the size of the pool.
The installation is easy, as it does not require installation of gas or electricity, like many other above ground pool pumps.
One unit is recommended for pools up to 8,000 gallons, but two heaters can be connected with an optional bypass kit for larger capacity pools.
- Inexpensive option with ability to add more units for larger pools
- Easy installation, no hookups to existing power sources necessary
- Eco-friendly, reduces carbon footprint of pool setup
- Requires more time to raise water temperature than other types of technology
A more traditional and more effective product in the solar heating world, the Fafco Solar Bear Heating System is actually a pad that sits on the ground next to your pool or can be mounted to a roof or mounting rack (the solar collector), 2 hoses, and an integral bypass valve.
Your existing pool pump circulates water through the solar collector pad and hoses empty the warmed water into the pool.
This is the most effective method of solar heating and comes with everything you need to start heating your pool today.
The solar collector is a large 4 foot by 20 foot panel, made of UV stabilized polyethylene, which is very durable for outdoor conditions in most any climate.
The integral valve allows you to turn the system on and off as needed. The product is covered by a ten year manufacturer’s warranty and comes with everything you need to install it quickly.
- Most effective solar heating method on the market
- Easy to install, no additional accessories needed
- May heat pools up to 10 degrees
- Known to have leaks in the solar collector after several seasons of use
- Large collector may require assistance installing due to size and weight
- Can be clogged if proper cleaning schedules are not maintained
There are many methods and products available to heat your above ground pool. Factors to consider are pool size, sunlight received, increased utility expenses, and convenience.
We hope with a basic foundation of pool heating knowledge and some of the best above ground pool heater reviews, you can choose the best pool heater for your family and enjoy your pool for a much longer season.