Knowing how much to install a solar pool heater can help you decide what type of solar pool heater to install.
Solar pool heater installation costs an average of $5,000, with most homeowners paying somewhere between $3,000 and $7,000. The cost is based on a glazed solar panel pool heater large enough to heat a 288-square-foot in-ground pool. For smaller pools, you may pay as little as $2,000, while a high-end, high-temperature collector solar heater for a large pool can cost up to $11,000.
The number of solar panels you require, the simplicity of the installation, and the distance between the panels and the pool will all affect how much you pay. And we’ll describe these elements. Learn How Does a Solar Pool Heater Work?
How Much to Install a Solar Pool Heater?
The national average cost for installing a solar pool heater is between $2,500 and $7,000. Most people pay $5,000 for four 4 x 10 glazed solar panels for a 12 x 24-foot in-ground pool. At the low end of the spectrum, the cost can be down to $1,000 for installing an evacuated tube collector for a 10 x 20-foot pool.
At the high end, you might pay $10,000 for a glazed flat plate solar pool heating system installed on the house for an 18 x 36-foot pool.
Pool Heater Installation Cost Factors
There is no one price for pool heaters that work for everyone. The size of your pool and the utilities that are available in your area are just a couple of the factors that will affect how much the job will cost overall. Even when utilities are present, you’ll typically need to run new lines. The price range is listed below.
Solar Powered Pool Heater Costs by Type
The cost of a solar pool heater ranges from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the type. Although they are made of different materials and range in size, all solar pool heaters perform the same basic function. Solar pool heaters come in a variety of designs. Some types work better in certain pools than others, depending on the type of pool and material. They come in three main categories: batch collectors, evacuated tubes, and flat plate collection systems.
- Evacuated Tube Solar Heater
You will spend between $1,000 and $5,000 for evacuated tubes as a collection system for your solar heater. Although less common than flat plate collectors, evacuated tube solar pool collectors are more effective. They consist of a series of tubes placed parallel to each other, each of which is surrounded by a vacuum. The sun’s rays heat a network of evacuated tubes through which the water is forced to flow.
The pool receives this heat transfer, which raises the pool’s water temperature. Solar pool heaters with evacuated tubes are an effective way to heat pools. A variety of climates allow for their use. They typically require little maintenance and are also very durable.
- Flat Plate Pool Collector
Expect to spend between $1,500 and $10,000 to install a flat plate pool water heater. In the United States, flat plate solar pool collectors are the most popular kind of pool heater. The system consists of a flat panel made of an effective solar radiation absorber, such as copper or black rubber. Sunlight strikes the plate and is absorbed by an insulation layer. This warms the water in the pipes, which is then recirculated into the pool.
Solar Pool Pump System Cost by Size
Solar pool heater pumps range from $50 to $1,300, depending on size or style. Solar pool heaters require a pump to circulate the warm water with the cooler water effectively. Solar energy or electricity can be used to power this pump. The pool’s dimensions will be used to calculate the size of the required pump, the volume of water that must move through the system each minute, and the typical feet per head.
Decide how many gallons of water are in your pool to arrive at this conclusion. Once you’ve done that, you need to calculate the flow rate in gallons per minute for your solar pool heating system. 5,500 foot-pounds of pressure per second (745.7 watts) are the pump’s maximum rate, which is measured in horsepower (HP). Horsepower increases as a pump’s power level increases. A bigger pool frequently requires a larger pump with more horsepower to move the water efficiently.
Pool Solar Heating Prices by Brand
The options for pool solar heating prices by brand range from $300 to $10,500. Solar pool heaters come in a variety of designs and make by various manufacturers. Everyone has expenses to think about. For instance, if you decide on a SmartPool heater, your costs will vary from UMA Solar’s Heliocol solar pool heating cost. The most reasonably priced kits are produced by Fafco and SunHeater.
Although they are frequently marketed as DIY products, experts might do a better job of installation. Automatic controllers and other premium features are included in systems with premium features, such as those from SwimLux and Northern Lights.
Labor Cost to Install a Solar Pool Heater
If you purchase a pool heater, you can expect to pay around $500 for labor. Solar pool heater installation for a large unit or one installed far from the pool can go up to $2,000. If you hire an electrician, you will spend between $40 and $120 per hour, depending on how detailed the installation process is.
Pool installers can also do a lot of the work at a rate of $35 to $65 per hour. For any necessary electrical work, you will need to hire an electrician. Working with a professional when installing a solar pool heating system yields the best results.
Additional Pool Heater Installation Cost Factors
There are a few other things to take into account when looking for a professional to install a pool heater, even though labor costs and the cost of the heater itself can have a significant impact on price. Here’s a breakdown of some additional costs to think about:
Removing the Old Heater
A small fee must be paid if you’re replacing an existing pool heater. This will cost anywhere from $25 to $50, but most pros will add these removal fees to the cost of installing the new unit. In the event that you are installing a brand-new unit, some contractors may even provide this service at no cost.
Depending on the type of pool heater you choose, you may have to install some necessary hookups. Gas heaters may require a new gas line, which will cost $350 to $800. Electrical circuit installation, which can cost between $500 and $2,100, will probably be needed for heat pumps and electric resistance heaters.
The cost of $350 to $1,900 will depend on how many water lines need to be installed by a skilled local plumber to connect the heater to the pool. Expect to save $500 to $1,500 on the total if you use an existing hookup.
One of the most significant cost factors when it comes to pool heaters is your monthly energy bill. Each heater type works differently, so each will impact your utility bill to varying degrees.
If you have a gas heater, heating a pool costs $200 to $400 per month when using the main gas line and $200 to $850 per month if you opted for propane. A heat pump will be less expensive per month at $120 to $200 than an electric resistance heater, whose operating costs range from $175 to $600. Your most cost-effective energy option will be a solar pool heater, which can be used for as little as $0 to $10 a month.
There are a few ways you can help keep your monthly costs down while using a pool heater:
- Pool cover: Simple pool covers can help keep heat in and should cut energy costs by 50 to 90%. The price to purchase and install one is $650–$2,200. See How Long Does a Solar Cover Take to Heat a Pool?
- Solar blanket: These coverings frequently have an abundance of air bubbles on the outside that trap heat produced by direct sunlight. The blanket transfers this heat to the pool’s water. If you live in a sun-drenched area, a solar blanket can help reduce your monthly energy cost by 50–75%. A solar blanket installation will cost between $50 and $500.
- Pool enclosure: In colder climates, enclosing the pool can be a great option because it effectively adds another room to the house. A pool enclosure can significantly reduce your energy costs, but installation costs $5,000 to $14,000.
Inground Vs. above Ground Vs. Hot Tub
Working with an above-ground or hot tub pool heater involves working outside and, well, above ground. Because of this, installing these above-ground options is typically less expensive than installing an in-ground pool.
An in-ground pool heater may incur extra costs in terms of labor and materials because of the digging required to hide the pipes. Hot tub heaters will cost $450 because they’re working in such a small space.
How to Save on Pool Heater Installation Costs?
Several fixed costs are associated with installing a pool heater. You probably won’t be able to avoid the cost of expert labor in addition to the heater’s price. That said, there are ways to shave money off your total pool heater price. Simply put, some careful planning is necessary.
Wait until Autumn to Buy Your Heater
If you’re looking for a deal, autumn is the best time to buy a pool heater. The majority of homeowners work on their pools in the spring in order to have them ready for use as soon as it is warm enough to swim outside. When autumn arrives, the busy pool season will have come to an end, and pool companies may offer sales and discounts to attract new business.
Choose a High-Efficiency Heater to Save on Long-Term Energy Costs
High-efficiency heaters may cost more upfront, but if you use your pool heater often, you could actually end up saving money in the long run. For example, heat pumps can save you anywhere from $950 to $4,800 per year in energy costs compared to gas or electric resistance pool heaters. As their annual operating costs are less than $120, solar heaters offer even greater savings.
Choose a Heater That Works With Your Existing Utility Lines
Working with what you already have can save you thousands of dollars. Most homeowners need to install some utility lines when they install a heater. Consider a gas heater if you already have a readily accessible gas line. If you already have an outdoor electrical circuit, go with an electric resistance heater or heat pump.
Keep in mind that propane heaters are sometimes an exception. Depending on the circumstance, operating this kind of heater could cost up to $10,200 per month. Installing a utility hookup may result in financial savings in this situation, so do the math before making a purchase.
Add a Heater onto a Larger Job
Install a heater as soon as possible if you’re building a new pool. If you finish both tasks at once, you can save money. Smaller contracting jobs are frequently more affordable to group together than to complete individually.
Conclusion: How Much to Install a Solar Pool Heater?
Installing a pool heater, which costs $5,000 on average depending on the type of heater, allows you to swim and unwind all year long. Apart from those mentioned above, not many other factors affect the cost of solar pool heaters. However, it’s crucial to account for both recurring and one-time expenses.
For instance, the pump and its components will require routine inspections and maintenance. To learn more about a recurring service contract, speak with a pool heater expert or a local pool maintenance business.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Pool Heater Yourself?
Installing a pool heater might be a straightforward process if you already have the required hookups. Doing it yourself could save $300 to $1,000, as you will only have to pay for the cost of the heater and necessary materials. Go with a pro if you need to lay down an electrical circuit, a gas line, or a water line, as these are time-consuming and potentially dangerous projects.
Is Solar Pool Heater Worth It?
Solar pool heaters will cost you more upfront, but you’ll save money on energy in no time. It’s also important to keep in mind that even though solar-powered heating is free, you will still be responsible for paying for the electricity used to power the water pump and filtration system.