When first purchasing my above ground garden pool (backyard pool), my biggest concern was the running costs.
Here in the UK, energy bills are soaring, so the cost of running a heater to heat a large body of water is a concern for many pool owners.
As a general rule, the cost of heating a garden pool depends on the size of the pool, how well the pool is insulated, the ambient outdoor temperature, to what temperature you want to heat your pool, and the unit of energy cost from your energy supplier.
In this article, I will investigate the running costs of above-ground steel frame pools and inflatable pools, which are typically heated through a heater pump and filter system.
How Much Does It Cost To Heat A Pool
Below, I have listed the best-selling garden pools from Amazon and calculated how much they would cost to heat with a standard electric heater pump.
I based these prices on my current energy supply in the UK, who provides energy at a cost of £0.04 kWh
|Pool Type||Water Volume (m2)||Temp Increase (°C)||Cost (£)|
|Intex Small Family Frame Pool 260 x 160 x 65 cm||2.7||6||£0.68|
|Intex Metal Frame Rectangular Pool 300 x 200 x 75 cm||9.0||6||£2.26|
|Intex 13ft x 33in Easy Set Swimming||10.3||6||£2.57|
|Intex 10FT X 30IN Beachside Metal Frame||5.5||6||£1.39|
|INTEX 177.25in x 86.625in x 33in Rectangular Frame Pool||8.3||6||£2.09|
|Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool 10 ft||5.5||6||£1.39|
|Bestway Rectangular Frame Swimming Pool, Steel Pro, 13.1 ft||6.8||6||£1.72|
|Bestway Pro Steel Frame Pool, 305 x 76 cm||5.5||6||£1.39|
It is important to note that I based the above data on theoretically perfect heating, excluding external factors.
In the real world, external ambient temperature and heater inefficiency will reduce the rate of heating. Therefore, for a good real-world measure, add an additional 20% onto this cost for a better estimate.
How Much Does It Cost To Run A Pool Per Month?
I own an Intex Small Family Frame Pool 260 x 160 x 65 cm pool, which I swim in every day.
I tend to heat my pool by 6°C, just to take the sting out of the cold water. I heat the pool with an Intex 28684 Electric Above Ground Pool Heater 2.2 KW / 230 V electric pool heater, which is standard for this moderate-sized family pool.
In addition to using a pool heater, I have an Intex Solar Cover on top, which is fantastic at insulating the water and reducing how quickly the water cools.
Assuming you heat your pool by 6°C per day over a 30-day month, here is how much each of the most popular above ground pools will cost to heat per month based on an energy supply cost of £0.04 kWh.
These costs also factor in a 20% increase, which is a ballpark number to account for inefficient heaters or very low ambient air temperature, dragging your pool temperatures down.
|Pool Type||Daily Temp Increase (°C)||Monthly Running Cost (£)|
|Intex Small Family Frame Pool 260 x 160 x 65 cm||6||£24.48|
|Intex Metal Frame Rectangular Pool 300 x 200 x 75 cm||6||£81.36|
|Intex 13ft x 33in Easy Set Swimming||6||£92.52|
|Intex 10FT X 30IN Beachside Metal Frame||6||£50.04|
|INTEX 177.25in x 86.625in x 33in Rectangular Frame Pool||6||£75.24|
|Bestway MAX Steel Pro Round Frame Swimming Pool 10 ft||6||£50.04|
|Bestway Rectangular Frame Swimming Pool, Steel Pro, 13.1 ft||6||£61.92|
|Bestway Pro Steel Frame Pool, 305 x 76 cm||6||£50.04|
Garden Swimming Pool Heating Calculations
To manually calculate how much it will cost to heat your pool, you will need to know the following information:
- V = The water volume of the pool in meters. [V]
- Ta = The ambient air temperature in degrees celsius. [Ta]
- Tt = The temperature you would like to heat your pool to in degrees celsius. [Tt]
- P = The unit cost of energy from your supplier, which is typically given as “pence per kWh”. [P]
Then you can place the above information into the following formula to calculate how much it will cost to heat your pool by the desired temperature.
Cost of Heating Pool = 1.163 x P x V x (Tt – Ta)
As mentioned, this is the theoretically exact cost of heating a pool, assuming no influence from low ambient temperature or inefficient pool heaters.
It would be more exact to increase this final number by 10%-20%, to account for these real-world factors.
Here in the UK, especially in the colder months, an electric pool heater will need to work overtime to fight against the ambient cold temperatures, so adding an additional 20%-30% in cost may be more realistic.
For more detailed information on calculating the size of pool you need based on your unique measurements, take a look at my article: Minimum Water Depth for Swimming – How much water do you need?
What Is The Cheapest Way To Heat A Garden Swimming Pool
Here are the most affordable ways to heat an above ground garden swimming pool, in order of cost.
1 – Solar Heating Cover
When I first ordered and opened my solar cover for my above ground pool, I was very disappointed as it was just a roll of bubble wrap!
I thought I was a fool for buying bubble wrap. However, after having this on my pool for a couple of days, I think it is one of the best purchases I ever made for my pool.
The solar cover sits directly on the water surface, so it is in contact with the water. As the sun moves across the sky throughout the day, the air bubbles in the solar panel cover heat up, heating the water.
Not only does this cover help heat the surface of the water, when used alongside a heater it keeps the pool insulated and, therefore, the pool water hotter for longer.
As a side note, a hidden benefit of this solar cover is that it really helps keep flies and bugs out of the pool. As it completely seals the water with no little gaps for little creatures to sneak in.
2 – Solar Heating Mats
If you are lucky enough to have a south-facing garden in the UK, this solar heating mat can really add a few degrees to the temperature of your water.
It connects in parallel with your filter pump. You should place the black mat in direct sunlight.
As the mat sits in the sun all day long, the black material will get very warm.
When you turn on your filter pump, it pushes the water through this heated pad and slowly warms.
3 – Electric Heating Pump
I love my electric heating pump, but as I live in a colder part of the UK, my heat pump has to work hard to fight the ambient temperature.
In a nutshell, if you want a controlled temperature increase of your pool, an efficient heat pump is needed.
To get a heat pump that will work with your pool, ensure the pump is big enough to cope with the size of your pool.
I recommend contacting the heat pump manufacturer with your pool dimensions so they can advise if your chosen heat pump will do the job.
If your pool is too large for your chosen heater pump, then it will be an uphill battle and you will never be happy with the temperature of your pool.