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Are Electric Pool Heaters for Above Ground Pools Safe and Effective?

How Safe Are Electric Pool Heaters?

Electric pool heaters are a popular option for people that have above-ground pools. It’s economical and doesn’t require any special tools or construction to install. However, many homeowners question the safety of electric pool heaters

Are electric pool heaters for above-ground pools safe and effective? That depends on the heater. Some electric pool heaters are not safe for use with above-ground pools, as they can generate too much heat and cause a fire. However, if you select a heater that is specifically designed for use with above-ground pools, it is safe and effective.

Keep reading to learn more about the effectiveness of electric pool heaters for above-ground pools to help you decide whether this is a good option for you.

Investing in An Electric Pool Heater

There are many types and styles of heaters that you can choose to heat your swimming pool; gas, solar, or electric. If you’re looking for a heater that is inexpensive and easy to use (and does not pose risks like gas and solar), then an electric-powered pool heater is probably what you’re looking for.

An electric pool heater can be a great investment for many homeowners. Again, it is an inexpensive way to heat the water in pools. Additionally, it allows you to swim in your own backyard all year long without having to pay extra if you have an above ground pool. But are they effective? Are they safe? We consider the pros and cons of electric heaters below.

Pros of Electric Pool Heaters for Above Ground Pools

First let’s take a look at what makes electric pool heaters so appealing, especially when compared with other types of heating units.

Inexpensive & Quickly Assembled

These units are typically cheaper than gas or propane units, making them more accessible for many homeowners. They also don’t require any work on the part of the owner, except for occasionally adding water to replace evaporation. Owners simply plug in their electric pool heater and it takes care of the rest.

Quick & Quiet

Electric heaters heat the water in an above-ground pool quickly. They also operate with very little noise. This ensures that your family can enjoy spending time in the pool without any loud fan noises to disturb them.

Electric heaters are good for heating pools that are 30 feet or less in length. They’re usually fairly inexpensive compared to buying an inground heater.

Energy Efficient

Heat pumps are also more energy-efficient than other types of heating systems. It takes less money out of your pocket at the end of the month to keep your pool warm if you use one.

In fact, they use so little energy that it’s cheaper to run than a light bulb. That is unless you live in an area where electricity prices are high – but even then, they still pay for themselves after just one season.

Electric pool heaters come in two speeds: 1500 and 3000 watts. These wattages can help you calculate how much energy the heater consumes per hour (1500 watts x 60 minutes = 90 KWH; and 3,000 watts x 60 minutes = 180 KWH).

This should give you a good idea of its cost-efficiency and effectiveness. Because if it uses more energy than it produces (which means your pool will cool down faster), then it’s not worth buying at all.

Eco-friendly & Easy Maintenance

Another benefit of an electric pool heater is that since it does not require gas or oil, one is not contributing to polluting the environment. Unlike other units, electric heaters also are not easy fire hazards.

Plus, they last for years before ever having to be replaced. And when it comes time for maintenance, all you have to do is brush them off occasionally to keep your heater in top condition.

Cons of Electric Pool Heaters for Above Ground Pools

While there are many benefits to electric pool heaters, there are also some disadvantages to consider.


One of the biggest cons with electric pool heaters is that they pose a serious risk when used around children and animals, due to how hot they can get when in use.

More than 30 children have been killed from being burned by an overheated swimming pool heater since 1996. This is why many people choose not to use them or ensure that they are kept far away from any area where kids might be playing.

Maximum Temperature

Another downside is that these units don’t heat up the air surrounding them very well, making it so that the pool water won’t warm up very much. This means that if you live in an area where the air is cold, such as in a northern region of the United States, your pool water will only be able to warm up to a certain point before reaching its peak temperature.

The cons are significantly less than the benefits of an electric heater for an above-ground pool. Furthermore, these challenges can be minimized when one takes the proper precautions to ensure the electric pool heater is utilized appropriately.

Safety Precautions for Electric Pool Heaters

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to use an electric pool heater for your above-ground pool.

Unplug Your Unit

To ensure safety and effectiveness when using an electric pool heater, make sure not to leave it plugged in when you are not at home or expecting company. This is because they pose a significant risk when around children or animals who might end up getting too close by mistake.

Read the Manual

To ensure that your electric pool heater is working effectively, check the water immediately after you turn it on for any changes in temperature.

If the water has cooled down then there may be a problem with the unit which will require service. Be sure to read all safety precautions thoroughly before using this type of heating system.

Find The Right Size For Your Pool

When purchasing an electric pool heater make sure not to buy one that is too small for your needs. It will only be able to heat up your water by a limited amount.

This means you might have to leave it plugged in overnight if you want your pool warm enough for everyone looking to cool off during hot days. To save yourself some money, look into a unit that is more energy-efficient since it will save you more money on utilities.

Electric pool heaters are a great choice for those maintaining above-ground pools, as long as homeowners use them safely and responsibly according to all safety precautions outlined in the manual.

To avoid injury or damage to your home it’s important to never leave them plugged in when you aren’t around and to keep them far away from any play equipment such as swing sets and trampolines which children might try climbing on or swinging from the cord.

An electric pool heater can be a fast and effective way to warm up your pool water, just be sure not to purchase one that is too small and adjust its usage habits accordingly.

Deciding Which Type of Pool Heater You Should Use

When deciding what type of heater to use for your above-ground pool, there are a number of things to consider. Electric heaters can be a great choice, but it is important to understand how they work and the different factors that will impact their performance.

Heat loss from an above ground pool occurs in four ways:

  1. Evaporation from the surface of the water
  2. Conduction from the wind blowing across the surface of the water
  3. Radiation from surrounding surfaces such as trees or buildings or even people sitting around the pool
  4. Convection currents occur when the wind blows on the surface of the water causing cold air to be pulled down into it.

How Does An Electric Pool Heater Work?

An electric heater works by transferring electricity through two electrodes submerged in pool water. This creates an electric current that heats the water molecules around it.

A fan circulates pool water over the electrodes, allowing them to heat a larger area of water and quickly raise its temperature. An electric heater must be able to generate enough heat to counteract all forms of heat loss.

Other Considerations: Climate

If your swimming pool is located in a windy area or subject to frequent breezes, an electric heater may not provide adequate heating performance. The same is true if your pool is exposed on one side during colder seasons. A large amount of cold air will circulate into the pool, chilling the water before it can be heated by the electric heater.

Using a Solar Cover With An Electric Pool Heater

For this reason, many people choose to use both a solar cover as well as an electrical heater for their pools. Collectively they work better at heat retention than either of them do individually.

How Do Solar Covers Work?

Solar covers work by using the sun’s heat to warm the surface of the pool. They are typically placed on top of the water and can raise pool temperature about 15 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot sunny day, though they will only raise the temperature about half that on an overcast or cool day.

A solar cover can reduce heat loss through evaporation by up to 90%. This means that your pool will lose much less water each time you use it if covered with a solar blanket.

Pairing a solar cover with your electric pool heater can be the best way for you and your family to enjoy your above ground pool for longer during the year.

If you are still deciding on which type of pool heater is best for your above-ground pool, contact a local professional today!

Written By

Hi there! My name is Matt. I've been a pool owner for over 15 years. I've owned a variety of above ground and in-ground pools. I've also had the pleasure of working with some swimming pool experts over the years. I enjoy writing about everything related to your swimming pool, pool care and products. In my spare time, I enjoy swimming in the pool and watching sports on our porch.

About Us

Welcome to Pool Owners Academy! I’m excited about helping pool owners learn how to take care of their pool. I created this site to be a helpful resource for you and your family. Pool Owners Academy is here to share helpful information about caring for your pool, pool tips and products. My goal is to create straightforward answers that make taking care of your pool easy!

~Matt with Pool Owners Academy

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