How to Install An Above-Ground Pool Heater

An above ground pool.
  • 6-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 200-3,000
What You'll Need
Patio blocks
Elbow joint
PVC cement

An above-ground pool heater makes it possible to enjoy your pool for longer than just two hot months during the summer. The amount of difficulty involved really depends on the type of heater. There are gas heaters, electric heaters, and solar heaters. Normally a solar heater will have much lower energy costs but the actual pool heating may be inconsistent. Determine which works best for your pool and weather. Even if the weather is hot out, this does not ensure that the water will be warm.

Step 1 - Pick a Location

The area where the heater will be placed should be level. It is also not a good idea to place the heater directly on the ground. A cement slab is best but stone patio blocks will also work well. If the heater is powered by gas then it should be placed near the gas supply or gas line. Solar heaters will not require a connection to the house and can be placed anywhere, though a sunny spot is best.

Step 2 - Check the Water Connection

Normally the heater will have a water connection line between the pump and the return output. This way clean water will enter the heater and then from the heater the warm water will go back into the pool. It will be necessary to gut out a section of the pump return to install an elbow joint. A hacksaw will easily do the job. Run a hose or pipe from the pump to the heater input and then another line from the heater output to the pool return. Glue all of the pipes together using PVC cement.

Step 3 - Install an Electrical Line

Check to see if you can install the electrical line yourself or if a professional electrician is needed. This will vary depending on your town’s laws. An electrical line will need to be run from the heater to the breaker box.

Step 4 - Install a Gas Line

The easiest way to ensure that the heater always has fuel is to connect it to the gas mainline. This is only for gas pool heaters. A professional will need to do this as there are many safety concerns and hazards.

Step 5 - Go Solar

Instead of running electrical and gas lines it is possible to install a solar heater. All you need is a solar water heater. This is basically several solar panels in which the water is piped through the panels. The panel will transfer the heat to the water. This is an easy option that does not require any outside energy source. A solar heating pool system will cost under $100. If you live in areas that get very cold during the winter then some alterations will be needed so the system does not freeze during the winter months.

Step 6 - Test the System

Once the heater is connected, turn on the pump to test the system. Ensure that there are no leaks and that warm water is being released from the feeder jets into the pool. Set the water temperature to what is desired and the heater will automatically maintain this temperature point.