Pool Heater Essentials: Extend the Swimming Season

Pool Heater Essentials: Extend the Swimming Season

Whether you are a homeowner looking to extend your swimming season or a pool builder seeking to offer the best equipment to your clients, understanding the different types of pool heaters and their benefits is essential.

This comprehensive guide provides a thorough look at pool heaters, from the various types available to the factors that influence pool heater costs.


What is a pool heater? It’s an appliance that elevates your pool’s water temperature to enhance comfort and usability. By integrating a pool heater, you ensure that your pool remains inviting and functional across a wider range of seasons and weather conditions.

But the significance of a pool heater stretches beyond mere comfort. For pool owners, it means an extended swimming season, turning what might be a seasonal indulgence into a year-round delight. Families can enjoy their pool earlier in the spring and later into the autumn, making the most of their investment.

For pool installers and builders, offering top-tier pool heaters can set you apart in a competitive market. By providing reliable and efficient heating solutions, you can meet diverse client needs, from residential users seeking luxury and convenience to commercial entities aiming for optimal guest satisfaction. Understanding the varied types and benefits of pool heaters helps in curating a product range that aligns with these high standards.

Types of Pool Heaters

Selecting the right pool heater is critical to maximizing the utility and enjoyment of your pool. The market offers various pool heaters, each with distinct benefits and considerations. Here, we will explore the different types available to help you make an informed choice.

Solar Pool Heater

How It Works:

  • Solar pool heaters harness the sun’s energy through hydronic solar panels, typically installed on the roof or in an area with ample sunlight. Water is pumped through these panels, where it is heated by the sun before being returned to the pool.


  • Environmentally friendly, significantly reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Low operating costs since they utilize free solar energy.
  • Offer long-term savings, as they do not solely rely on electricity or fuel.


  • Depend on consistent sunlight, making them less effective in cloudy or rainy weather.
  • Initial installation cost can be higher due to the need for solar panels and a larger surface area for optimal efficiency.
  • Requires an additional pump and simple controls to operate.
  • Panels should be cleaned annually to maximize efficiency.

Electric Pool Heater

How It Works:

  • Electric pool heaters use electricity to supply resistive heat coils or elements, which in turn heat the pool water as it passes through them. These heaters are straightforward and easy to install.


  • Provide rapid heating and are convenient to operate.
  • Ideal for smaller pools and spas, offering precise temperature control.
  • Energy efficient method of heating water.


  • Operational costs can be high, especially for larger pools, due to significant electricity consumption.
  • Less efficient in extremely cold weather.

Gas or Propane Pool Heater

How It Works:

  • Gas pool heaters burn natural gas or propane to generate heat. The water is drawn from the pool, passed through the heater, and heated by the gas-powered flame before being pumped back into the pool.
  • Propane pool heaters operate similarly to gas heaters but use propane as the fuel source. They can be used in areas without natural gas lines.


  • Can heat the water quickly and are effective in any weather condition.
  • Practical choice for large pools or for those who need to heat their pool on demand.
  • A great choice for pools with an integrated spa.
  • Provide efficient and powerful heating, making them suitable for quick temperature adjustments.
  • Flexibility in placement and use.


  • Tend to have variable operational costs due to the price of fuel.
  • Viewed as less environmentally friendly compared to solar or electric options.
  • Propane fuel can be expensive, and there are additional costs associated with storing and refilling propane tanks.
  • Safety measures are necessary to handle propane effectively.

Heat Pump Pool Heater

How It Works:

  • Heat pump pool heaters extract heat from the surrounding air using a refrigeration cycle and transfer it to the pool water. They function similarly to air conditioners, but in reverse.


  • Highly energy-efficient with lower operational costs compared to electric and gas heaters.
  • Offer a long lifespan, making them a cost-effective option over time.
  • Some advanced units offer the ability to chill or cool water to achieve the most desirable water temperature.


  • Rely on the ambient air temperature to operate effectively.
  • May perform less efficiently in colder climates and have a higher upfront cost.
  • Does not operate below 50°F in most cases.

Key Brands and Models

Hayward Pool Heaters

Hayward is a leader in the pool heating industry, known for its reliable and efficient heating solutions. The brand offers a range of models designed to meet various needs, ensuring both dealers and consumers can find the perfect match for their requirements.

Notable Features:

  • Advanced Technology: The Hayward H-Series features cutting-edge technology that provides quick and consistent heating.
  • Energy Efficiency: These models are designed to reduce operational costs while delivering optimal performance.
  • Durability: Hayward’s reputation for reliability makes their heaters a popular choice among pool owners and professionals alike.

Explore Industries, a premium fiberglass pool manufacturer, offers Hayward pool heaters to its extensive network of Independent Dealers, including the Hayward Universal H250 and H400 in both natural gas and propane versions and the Hayward Universal HC service small footprint gas heater in 275k and 400k BTU. These units are “Dual Fuel” and can accept propane or natural gas.

Additionally, Explore offers the Hayward HeatPro 140kBtu HeatPro Heat/Cool 70KBTU and 129kBTU units.

Factors Affecting Pool Heater Cost

When evaluating the cost of a pool heater, several factors come into play. The type of heater, installation expenses, operating costs, and the specifications of your pool and its usage all contribute to the overall investment.

Type of Heater

The initial cost of a pool heater varies significantly depending on the type:

  • Solar Pool Heaters: Higher upfront costs due to solar panels and installation, but minimal ongoing operating costs.
  • Electric Heaters: Generally less expensive to purchase and install, but can lead to higher electricity bills over time.
  • Gas Heaters: Require a moderate initial investment but may incur variable fuel costs, especially with frequent use.
  • Heat Pump Pool Heaters: Higher initial costs, but energy efficiency results in lower long-term operating expenses.

Installation and Operating Costs

Installation costs encompass both labor and materials necessary for setting up the pool heater. Professional installation is highly recommended to ensure optimal performance and safety, which adds to the initial expenditure. The complexity of the installation varies by heater type, and operating costs involve the ongoing expenses required to keep the pool heater running efficiently:

  • Solar Heaters: Might require extensive setup due to the need for solar panel placement and connection to the pool’s plumbing system. Negligible operating costs.
  • Electric Heaters: Can significantly impact your electricity bill, especially in climates where the heater is used extensively.
  • Gas and Propane Heaters: Might necessitate additional work for gas line installation if not already present. Incur costs based on current fuel prices and usage frequency.
  • Heat Pump Heaters: Energy-efficient but still contribute to electricity consumption, albeit to a lesser extent than standard electric heaters.

Regular maintenance and potential repairs also factor into operating costs, regardless of heater type.

Pool Size and Usage

The size of your pool and how often you use it are critical in determining the type and size of heater you need, which influences costs:

  • Larger Pools: Require larger or more powerful heaters to maintain a comfortable temperature, leading to higher initial and operational expenses.
  • Frequent or Year-Round Use: Necessitates a more robust and efficient heating system, adding to both purchase and running costs.
  • Occasional Use of a Smaller Pool: Might justify a less powerful and less expensive heater.

By considering these factors, pool owners and installers can make informed decisions that balance initial investment with long-term operating expenses, ensuring the selection of a pool heater that meets both budgetary and usage needs.

Installation and Maintenance Tips


Ensuring your pool heater is installed correctly is crucial for optimal performance and longevity. Hiring a professional installer guarantees that the heater is set up according to manufacturer specifications, reducing the risk of malfunction and ensuring safety. A certified professional will account for various factors, including electrical connections, gas lines, and plumbing, to ensure your heater operates efficiently.

The placement of your pool heater can significantly influence its efficiency and lifespan, as well as affect the cost of installation. Ideally, the heater should be installed close to the pool and in a location that minimizes exposure to elements like wind and rain, which can affect performance. For solar heaters, installing panels in a sunny area with minimal shading ensures maximum energy capture. For gas heaters, proper ventilation is essential to prevent the buildup of harmful gases. Careful consideration with regard to the location of the heater and proximity windows, doors and vents that could allow exhaust gas to travel into a home, must be made when locating the gas heater.


Routine maintenance is key to keeping your pool heater running smoothly and efficiently. Annual checks should include inspecting for leaks, ensuring the electrical components are intact, and verifying that the burners and heating elements are clean and functioning correctly. A professional should perform these checks to address any potential issues before they become costly repairs.

Preparing your pool heater for the off-season is essential to prolong its lifespan. For winterizing, make sure to drain all water from the heater and associated plumbing to prevent freezing and potential damage. Cleaning the heater thoroughly and covering it with a protective cover will protect it from debris and harsh weather. When reopening for the swimming season, perform a comprehensive check to ensure the heater is ready for use, including inspecting connections and running the heater briefly to confirm it operates correctly.

By following these installation and maintenance tips, you can ensure your pool heater performs efficiently, providing you with extended swimming seasons and enhanced comfort.

Benefits of Pool Heaters

Investing in a pool heater offers numerous advantages, enhancing both the enjoyment and value of your pool. Here are some key benefits:

  • Extended Swimming Season: One of the primary benefits of a pool heater is the ability to extend your swimming season. Whether you enjoy early morning laps or evening swims, a heated pool allows you to take advantage of your pool for more months of the year, regardless of the outside temperature.
  • Increased Comfort: A pool heater ensures that your water remains at a comfortable temperature, making every swim an enjoyable experience. Whether you are hosting a pool party or enjoying a quiet dip, maintaining an optimal water temperature enhances overall comfort and relaxation.
  • Improved Property Value: A well-maintained, heated pool can significantly enhance the appeal and value of your property. Prospective buyers often view a heated pool as a luxury feature, contributing to a higher resale value and increased interest in your home.

These benefits illustrate why a pool heater is a worthwhile investment, offering both immediate enjoyment and long-term value for pool owners.

Explore Industries: Your Premier Source for Pool Heaters

As an Independent Dealer, partnering with Explore Industries opens doors to a wide range of premium fiberglass swimming pools and high-quality pool equipment, including top-of-the-line pool heaters. Our collaboration with reputable brands like Hayward ensures that you have access to the best products on the market. Explore Industries also provides the products, support, and training pool professionals need to succeed in offering premium pool heating solutions to their clients.

Additionally, our seamless ordering process and reliable delivery services mean you get what you expect, when you need it, keeping your clients and your team satisfied.

Interested in becoming an Explore Industries Dealer? Learn more about our portfolio of brands and explore our Dealer opportunity.