How Much Does it Cost to Run a Pool Heater

How Much Does it Cost to Run My Pool Heater?

Quite often we get the question How much does my pool heater cost to run? Here’s some quick information to help you figure out how much it is costing you to heat your pool.

Propane Pool Heaters

You can figure about 1 gallon per hour per 100,000 BTU’s to operate a propane pool heater. For a typical 400,000 BTU heater, that’s 4 gallons per hour. Currently Propane runs about $2.50 per gallon, propane prices do fluctuate so keep an eye on this website updating the National Average Cost of Propane. In our example, 1 hour on propane will cost $10.00.

Natural Gas Pool Heaters

You can figure about 1 therm per hour per 100,000 BTU’s for Natural Gas. For a typical 400,000 BTU pool heater, that’s 4 therms per hour. Currently Natural Gas runs about $1.00 per therm, natural gas prices do fluctuate so keep an eye on this site showing the Cost of Natural Gas Per State. In our example, 1 hour on Natural Gas will cost $4.00.

Heat Pumps

You can figure about 5,000 watts or 5 kilowatts per hour per 100,000 BTU’s for a heat pump. For a typical 100,000 BTU heat pump, that’s 5 kilowatts per hour. The national average for Electricity runs $.13 cents per kilowatt hour. Electricity costs vary widely throughout the United States so checkout this website updating the Electricity Costs for all 50 States. In our example, 1 hour on a heat pump will cost .60 cents.

Final Thoughts…

  • Normally Heat pumps are the least expensive option to heat your pool from operational cost standpoint.
  • If you live in an area where electricity is extremely expensive then Natural gas may become more enticing as the operational cost savings of a heat pump become less.
  • A gas heater will heat your pool much quicker than a heat pump but normally costs more to do so.
  • A heat pump draws in the outside air to heat your water so once the air temperature reaches 50 degrees they are pretty inefficient.
  • A gas heater is usually a good choice for a spa as a heat pump takes to long to heat a spa, and if you want to get in the spa in lower outside temps. a heat pump is inefficient.
  • Heat pumps cost about $2,500 and gas heaters are in the $1,500 range.

If you have questions on how much your pool heater is costing your to operate or need help sizing the correct heater for your pool then post your questions in the comments below or give us a call at 1-877-372-6038 and we would be happy to help.

56 thoughts on “How Much Does it Cost to Run My Pool Heater?

  1. We have a 4000 gallon indoor infinity endless pool. It is currently heated by a RayPak electric heater which is somewhat outdated. Are there digital eclectic heaters on the market today that I could purchase to replace what we have. Ones where we can actually regulate the temperature.?

  2. We are in the process of determining whether or not to install solar electric panels. We want to heat our in-ground swimming pool with an electric heater. The pool is kidney shape and hold approximately 15,800 gallons (my ruff calculation based on a site offering the calculation). I want to know how much kw will be required to maintain a temperature of 85-90 degrees during the summer months. Really could use some help. I realize so much depends on the heater but I am looking only for guidelines to determine the number of solar electric panels we would require to accommodate our current usage average of 650 kw/mnth without an electric swimming pool heater.

    1. Jim, I tried to find the answer with a google search, but nothing came up. Off the top of my head, I know the proper way to size a solar heater; the surface area of your panels should be equal to or greater than 50% of your pool’s surface area. If you can figure out the surface area of your pool, you should be set.

      If you really need the answer the answer the answer in kW, try the Trouble Free Pool Forum. They have experts in almost every field of pool knowledge. They should have the answer.

    2. We have a swim spa of 2500 gallons. It has an electric heater. I tried to maintain a pool temp of around 82 degrees. It consumed approximately 30 Kw per day to heat the pool. We have a 6.3 Kw solar array—24–265watt panels which in the peak production of summer produces approximately 38 Kw/day. I believe you would need a very large area of solar to heat your pool with PV panels. It would cost a fortune in solar arrays to heat your pool this way.

    3. My cousin did solar. the only way you going to get the pool to 85-90 is during a heat wave. You want 85- 90when it’s 75 out and neither solar or a heat pump are going to do that for you.

      1. Not true I have 115000 BTU heat pump built by built right pool heaters and it can get my temperature at anything I want until it gets below about 65 degrees maybe 60 degrees even

      2. Not true. My pool is maintaining my set temperate at 84 degrees with an outside temperature of 40 – 50. I have a heat pump so it’s less efficient when it’s colder out, but it can absolutely maintain the temp.

    4. Try doing some research on solar thermal water heaters for pools, these systems can heat the water directly where as a solar electric or (PV) system will only provide the electricity to run a pool heater.

      1. I do not know much about those, but you should pay a visit to TroubleFreePool.com’s Forum. Their forum is filled with regular pool owners a pool geeks with expertise all over the map and can provide you more insight.

      2. Solar water heaters are the answer. They are near 3 times as efficient as PV. Then add the efficiency of an electric heater and they are 5 times more efficient. Sunny days at 40 deg. ambient can boil water…you could theoretically swim all winter with a well designed system. If this is really something you plan on doing consistantly I would delete 200 square feet of PV panels and replace with solar heater. You will save money, time, solar space and gain nothing but efficiency.

  3. I have a pool just got it done ran my pentair heating pump about 4 hrs aday got bill one was 777 dollars the other was 1200 dollars thats not right

    1. Their variable speed pumps will apparently save my customers $1200 a year in electricity which is amazing since they are only spending about $400 currently. They claim that a heat pump will save 80% over gas heaters. Well, maybe if you have a propane and are paying $4 a gallon. But a 6000+ watt heat pump capable of 150k BTU will take 2.5 times as long to do what a 400k BTU gas heater will do. Since it costs about $4 an hour for a 400k with Natural Gas figure it will take 2.5 hours at 6kw at $.40 cents a Kwh. By my math (multiply those last 3 numbers) it will cost $6 in electricity to heat that same water up to the same temperature. So, somehow spending $6 instead of $4 is really saving you 80%. Don’t worry, I am not a government lobbying “licensed contractor” with 6 months of experience (most of the licensed contractors I know). I am one of the evil guys that just has 20 years of experience, an engineering degree, a $3 million dollar liability insurance policy (that I’ve never used), and a whole mess of satisfied customers who have kept me from ever spending a dime on advertisement. But, I am much too inexperienced and unprofessional to hire because the gal with the masters degree in Turkmenistan poetry working for the racketeering board (state licensing board) says so. Man, I hate California.

      1. Hi “THE RETIRED 40 Y/O POOL MAN” – you must be in the cheaper part of California. Here in the SF Bay Area, Natural Gas is going for $1.85 per therm. Per my detailed spreadsheet, it costs me
        $7.30/hour to run my 400KBTU heater. That means I can’t afford to run the @#$# heater. At all. Might as well sell it on Ebay.

      2. We are considering a home in Texas with an INDOOR pool, do you Retired Pool Man have a general idea what an inground indoor pool would cost to heat in E. TX?

      3. WOW I love your post! You are the kind of guy most of us inexperienced people are looking for. I have been quoted a $6000.00 price to put a passive solar heat system on our roof. While the Home Depo electric pool heater costs $690.00. It makes it hard to want to spend 6K for solar. We are also in process of putting solar on our house and are trying to include whatever expense the “electric” pool heater would add. We live in Escondido, California so it is only necessary maybe 5 months of the year.
        If you have a better way we can look at this, or a suggestion about pool heaters (we currently have a Hayword gas power for the jacuzzi) we would love your input!

        1. Looks like we all would benefit from the skeptic approach of [The Retired 40 y/o pool man] and his knowledge but is anyone able to contact him? Maybe he can contact me by email.
          I did some pretty intensive research about heat pumps and even tried to reach some vendors. After all I gave up. More I knew it was more clear to me that heat pump takes tones of electricity and gives nothing in the area where the humidity is low (south California). I installed huge solar panel array and I do overproduce electricity, however spending $5-$6k and not being able to warm up our 30,000 gallons pool would be clear waste and pretty painful.

          I would love to be proved wrong especially by some heat pump owners from this area.
          [swimyearound] what did you end up doing/installing?

          Thanks

          1. looks like my email was removed already and there is no new comment notification here so… giving up on that bs inyopools website. Good luck everyone with whatever solution you decide to go.

          2. Hello Peter – I was curious about that low humidity question you brought up so I contacted our Raypak rep to get more info. Also, I removed your email address because you would get spammed to high heaven. It is not a good idea to post your personal email on an open forum. Erasing the email was a courtesy to you, but feel free to repost it.

            His reply is below:

            Given the dynamics involved with converting ambient air into heat, a pool heat pump is indeed more effective at higher humidity levels. But, they will work in lower humidity; they simply have to work a little harder. We sell many heat pumps into California, as well as Arizona, Nevada, etc.

            I would suggest sending your commenter to our sizing calculator on the Raypak website. The sizing program will automatically input the humidity levels in his area, based on a 20 year running average, and by inputting the kw cost- the commenter can get the cost of operation for the size of heat pump selected at the top.

            For example, I just did a sizing calc using Palm Springs (the dryest place I could think of), and googled their kw cost. Our model 8450 would keep that size pool 82 degrees throughout the year at an operating cost of $2200. A Natural Gas model would cost $2600 to run, so in this example, there would be an annual savings of $400. This is an uncovered pool that is 50% shade. The commenter can enter in their variables and perform a similar sizing calculation using:

            https://apps.raypak.com/gas_sizing/Raypak.php?appid=1

          3. LOL, I went trough plenty of those calculators and they are carefully designed to show only details in temp around 70 and high humidity.

            Please simply ask for details for how long it will take to warm up 30gal pool by 1 degree in conditions like:
            50deg, humidity 50%
            55deg, humidity 40%
            60deg, humidity 30%
            65deg, humidity 30%
            70deg, humidity 30%
            75deg, humidity 30%

            and how much kWh it will take during that period (this is probably simple calculation knowing size of the pump ~7kWh)

            Thanks

          4. Just to be clear I used that calculator and lets assume it does really take the correct factor and calculate the effectiveness at humidity as real as it gets I’m nowhere with the calculation close to what he provided ($2200/year)

            For the pool 30000gal, average temp 82, in SanDiego, and cost of electricity around $0.4 kWh (yeaaah all example are based on some bs $0.1), and gas $1.46 my number on this calculator show: electric $6914/year and gas $4807 using 8450t1-HC. It clearly shows that using gas would be cheaper than electricity to keep pool warm at 82deg.

            Considering that most of us are or will be in a few months on TimeOfUse using cost of kWh is completely useless so I did use $1 to show me how much kWh I will be really using each month and average amount is around 1250kWh/m and raising it to comfortable 85deg (for my wife) it just skyrockets to 1900kWh per month. I forgot to add it has to run minimum 20hrs per day to make it possible. So when temp will go down and adding unexpected factor there is a chance it is not even real because running it non stop 24/7 will not let you reach 85 deg.

  4. I am thinking about purchasing a pool heat pump for an inground 10,000 pool with around 350 sq ft surface area. I am in Phoenix AZ and I’d use it on both ends of summer, so September-November and March-May. I’d be keeping my pool temperature around 86-88 and the lowest mean temperature would be around 70. How many hours a day should I anticipate running a heat pump with those numbers?

    1. well in my circumstance temperatures are about the same that time of year and I only have to run maybe one to two hours depending but that’s just once you get it up to temp once at temp it should only take 1 hour to two hours I also have a 115,000 BTU heat pump i also have a 10000 gallon kidney-shaped pool

    2. Our 133K BTU heat pump will heat our 11000 gallon pool about 1.5 degrees an hour. We set it to maintain 85 degrees and occasionally crank it up to 90 and it runs a couple hours, maybe 1-4 hours a day, with a solar blanket on our 12.5x26” oval pool, in November, in Florida, when days are ranging 70-80 degrees and nights are 57-68 degrees. There are many factors! Solar blanket really helps!

    1. If you mean something like a Coates Heater, they are expensive to run, and they require a lot of juice to operate. I do not have much experience with them because they are rare in residential pools.

  5. Hello, I have a Hayward 110 BTU heatpro and not only is it taking 24 hours before it heats up my 15000 pool to a nice 80 degrees but it is increasing my electric bill substantially. I live in south Florida and am surprised that without the heater the pool will drop to about 68 degrees within a day or so of not having the heater on. I just had it installed for just under $4000 and can’t afford to run it daily. I have been advised to run weekends only or do Spa mode only which heats up faster. I wonder if there is an efficient and cost effective way to maintain the pool warm year round. I heard a cover could retain heat. I appreciate any advice.

    1. The only way you will get year ’round inexpensive pool heating is by using a combination of methods e.g., heat pump with a solar blanket, heater with a solar blanket, or heat pump, solar heater, and a blanket. A solar blanket is going to insulate your pool so your pool retains the heat you put into it.

      A heat pump uses air and its ambient temperature to heat your pool. The lower the outside temperature gets the less efficient the heat pump becomes, taking it longer to heat your pool. Running a heat pump in 60-65 degree weather is going to spike your electric bill.

  6. If you have the roof or yard area a solar Pool Heating system is one of the most economical and low maintenance ways to heat a pool!

  7. We are in the process of thinking about getting a heater for our pool. We have a solar system but it just doesn’t do the job of heating the pool to a comfortable temperature (80 to 85 degrees). Is there a way in which by adding a heater that we can use both to save money on monthly heating costs or is that not possible. Our pool is between 26,000 to 28,000 gallon pool. Not sure also what type heater to get. Any advice you can give will be appreciated. Thanks

  8. I installed a 40,000 BTU Gas water heater to my pool 12′ x 24′ above ground. I think it will cost about $7.20 to run it 24 hours in Wisconsin. Is there a reason not to use a residential water heater compared to a pool heater?

  9. I’m moving into a new and my first house it has a bird cage surrounding the pool…. I don’t know what would be the best option and cheapest but maintaining warm water that doesn’t freeze you to death….lol…any suggestions ….please I am new to the whole in ground pool anyways I thought of a heater than I seen other comments of solar heating does anyone have a similar size pool from largo FL

  10. Im
    Thinking of getting a 100,000 btu heater will that heat a 18′ round above ground what will it cost on propane to run it

  11. If you have natural gas available then go that route! My Hayward 200kBTU unit can heat my 22,500 gallon pool about 1-2 degress per hour. It costs me around $1.50 per hour to operate.

    1. I have a 20,000 gallon inground pool . I’d like to utilize the entire month of May and September , so heating it would be a must . I only want the pool water @72 degrees in those two months . Approximate cost for natural gas for two months ? ( 72 degrees ) .

  12. I am looking to heat my pool on Saturday’s and Sunday’s only, when maybe we’ve had a “cool” snap. It’s a 15′ round above ground in St. Louis area. Would typically not need it June, July and Aug, but I could have used it a couple of weeks back. How much would it cost to heat with a Propane Tank like the 100,000 BTU Hayward? Have NO idea. Would probably only need to run it for 3 hours or so. And then use it a few weekends in May and September. That’s it. It would cost the price of the heater or more to run the electric and/or gas line to the heater if I were to go that route. Which is why I haven’t yet.

    1. Here is the propane heaters section from the article above:

      You can figure about 1 gallon per hour per 100,000 BTU’s to operate a propane pool heater. For a typical 400,000 BTU heater, that’s 4 gallons per hour. Currently Propane runs about $2.50 per gallon, propane prices do fluctuate so keep an eye on this website updating the National Average Cost of Propane. In our example, 1 hour on propane will cost $10.00.

      1. So for a 100,000 btu propane heater and an 8,000 gallon pool (18″ above ground) might it heat as fast as 1 degree per hour?

    1. That depends on the size of the heater, the desired temp you are attempting to hold, the outside temperature, whether you are using a solar blanket and maybe some other stuff.

      The short answer is, I can’t answer that for you. But manufacturers have pool heater calculators that might be able to.

  13. i live in upstate ny and made an 8×14 swimspa. how big of gad heater do i need to heat and how much will it cost me ? or is electric heater the way to go ?

  14. So a heat pump is about $0.60 per 100k BTUs, and natural gas is about $1.00 per 100k BTUs? It’s a nice savings, but the example in your article is a bit confusing, as it compares 400k BTUs for propane/gas with 100k BTUs for electricity.

  15. I would like to keep my pool water from freezing using a gas heater. But these heaters have a minimum setting of 65 degrees. Does anyone know why the temp settting cannot be set to say 38 degrees so I can keep the pool water from freezing?

    1. You will need a Freeze Protect not a heater for this job. A freeze protects turns on your pump when the temperature hits a set point. The churning of the water helps prevent it for freezing.

      At the very least, gas heaters are meant to take the cold nip out of the water so swimmers can comfortably get in. It is not meant to keep your water from freezing, hence why freeze protectors are installed.

        1. I had a boss one time that kept their pool heated 24 hours a day during the winter, so his wife could take her morning swim. His assistant showed me his gas bill for the month, it was $2,500. For him, it was not much, but for me, that was more than my mortgage

  16. Get your body used to low temperatures, it may take you a while but you’ll totally love it. I live in La Paz, Bolivia and swim an avg of 3 miles every other wknd in Lake Titicaca (60 miles from here). Avg water temperature is 51-54F. I got so used to it that when training at the pool i can’t stand the heat for more than 20mins.
    Once in a while I also come across a few european tourists doing the same thing, they absolutely love it of course.

  17. I live in fl and would like to raise my 6000 gal above ground pool temp about 10 degrees to 70. would an eleven kw 50 amp elect heater do this? Also, any idea of the monthly cost, could i use a 30 ft extension cord to hook it up or would it have to be hard wired>thanks

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