While a cold pool can be refreshing on a hot summer day, many pool owners opt to install a pool heater to warm up the water on a chilly day or night. However, the last thing a pool owner wants to set foot in is an ice-cold pool if they’re expecting nice, warm water to wade in. Is your pool heater not working? Check out our guide to troubleshooting your pool heater in 7 steps.

  1. Check the filter: The filter on your pool is essential to having your heater run effectively, since heaters need a steady supply of high-pressure water to turn on and perform well. To ensure that this happens, clean out anything in your filter, empty the skimmer and pump baskets, and run your pool pump for at least 8 hours. This is the most common issue with heaters, and is reliant on simple upkeep of the pool and its pieces.
  2. Check the pool pump: If your pump isn’t strong enough to supply the water pressure needed to run the heater efficiently, then it will not turn on for very long. See that your pump is sufficient to provide this water pressure, and if not, consider purchasing an upgraded variable speed pool pump to handle the higher pressure needed for the heater.
  3. Check the timer: It may sound like basic knowledge, but sometimes the timer on your heater is simply set wrong. Double check that the timer is set correctly before jumping to conclusions.
  4. If it’s a heat pump heater, check the electrical connection, pressure sensor, and heat exchanger: Make sure that your heater is receiving sufficient power to run. If it has been running fine, there may be an electrical connection issue. Inspect the source and the heater for any damage or corrosion. Also, make sure to check that the pressure sensor is working properly; if it isn’t, contact a technician. This goes for the heat exchanger as well; check if it is dirty or corroded, then call a professional.
  5. If it’s a gas heater, check the gas valves and the supply source valves: Double-check that the heater gas valve and the source gas valve are set to the open position. If they are both open, call a professional to check the heater and high limit switches, as well as the thermostat.
  6. If it’s an electric heater, check the thermostat, electrical connection, and ensure it hasn’t been burnt out: First note if your electrical heater’s thermostat is set to the temperature you want, ideally one that is equal or above the water’s normal temperature. Next, check the electrical connection by inspecting the source and heater wiring for damage or corrosion. If your pool has been emptied recently, you may have forgotten to turn off the heater, which would have resulted in a burn-out. Call a professional if this may be the case.
  7. If it’s a solar heater, check your pool pump and overview your heater’s location: Make sure that your pool pump is strong enough to pump water at a sufficient pressure to heat the pool, from the pool to the solar source and back. It may sound silly, but observe where your solar heater is located; it may not be receiving enough sun to heat your pool to the temperature you desire.

 If these do not fix the issue, the heater may need to be opened or replaced. Only do these steps with professional assistance. If you are not experienced, you may cause further damage to your pool heater. Play it safe and leave it in professional hands. Take note of the temperature outside; if it is moving well past the summer season, temperatures may be dropping too low for any pool heater to warm your pool to the temperature you want. Try not to extend your swimming season into this cold weather.