How to Install an In-Ground Pool Heater

What You'll Need
PVC Pipe
Gas Line
Plumbing compound

There are many different types of options available for an inground pool heater. Many modern pool heaters can come with excellent energy saving options and even solar options. Other popular forms of these heaters include electrical heaters and natural gas models. Follow the steps below to install an in-ground pool heater on your own.

Step 1 – Energy

It will be necessary to calculate how many BTUs will be needed for the size of the pool. In general, a 500 square feet pool will need a minimum pool heater that can produce 120,000 BTUs (British thermal units). Purchase a heater that can handle your pool size.

Step 2 – Location

The location of the heater will depend on the type of clearance it needs in order to properly function. The clearance distance will depend on the model and size and will be marked in the heater instructions. It is best to place it near to the filter as this will keep the additional piping to a minimum. Generally about 2 to 5 feet away from the filter is recommended as long as the clearance is fine.

Step 3 – Plumbing

It is necessary to turn off the filter unit before installing the new piping. The PVC pipe will need to run from the return valve to the heater inlet valve. Cut the pipe to the correct size and attach it. This pipe is needed to bring water from the filter into the heater. Another length of PVC pipe will run from the heater outlet valve to the pool water inlet. This will bring the warm water to the pool. At each pipe joint, use a plumbing compound to secure all the joints and the pipes.

Step 4 – Supply and Power

If you are using a gas heater, it will be necessary to connect the gas lines. Make sure you follow the laws for your area as a professional may need to install the lines. At each end of the gas pipe, install a shut off valve. Then run a flex line form the gas pip to the inlet of the heater. Alternatively, connect the heater to the appropriate plug. Make sure the plug has a cover for protection against the elements.

Step 5 – Testing

Once the heater has been installed make sure you test it thoroughly.  Turn on the pool filter and then turn on the heater with the thermostat turned up a bit. A fan should turn on within the heater and there should be a blue flame in a gas heater. After a short while, the pool temperature should increase. If any of these actions do not happen then adjustments may need to be made or the installation will need to be checked.

Step 6 – Solar Cover

To naturally warm up the pool, try solar cover in conjunction with the heater. This can naturally warm up the pool so that the heater does not have to be run as long. If you are concerned about the increase in your utilities bill, look for an Energy Star pool heater. These are the most efficient models.