pool heaters for central texans


Well-known member
Oct 18, 2007
Central Texas
I am building a 42K gallon pool with 1000 sq ft surface area in central texas. I want to heat the pool with the idea of extending the swim season by about six weeks at both the beginning and end of the year. During this time the air temp is about 80 but the water may be 60 - 70. I would also like to be able to cool the water in the brutal summer months.

Due to the size and surface area of the pool none of the PBs or pool shops I have spoke with can agree on how to do it except that I should forget propane/gas since I am not wealthy. Some say go with solar heat (I have southwest exposure and room for only about 10 4x12 panels) while others say a heat pump will work, while others say I will need two heat pumps. I recall one post on this forum that stated solar wouldn't work in the Austin, Texas due to lack of sunshine but would work in New Mexico. ??? It seems like we get plenty of sunshine as a general rule, so I am confused. I figure I better consult those with experience. Thanks to everyone who replies; it's great to get real world advice instead of a PB's opinion about what product gives him the best profit potential.

Especially if you live in central Texas, please relate any experience you may have on heating/cooling your pool.


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
The solar panels would have a noticable effect. People with pools 1/4 that size get good effects from one or two panels, so 10 ought to do what you want (when used with a solar cover). Solar is by far your most economical choice. Two good size heat pumps would also work, but they are going to cost significantly more up front and to operate. The heat pumps would give you much more predictable control over the water temperature, a week of rain wouldn't wipe out your heat gain, but they will cost way way more.

Whatever you get, remember to also get a solar cover with a reel. Used reguarly a solar cover will have a significant effect. It is a bit of work to put on and take off, particuarly with a larger pool, but well worth the effort.


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 2, 2007
Austin, TX
Good morning,

I am in Austin and as fate has it our solar panels will be installed today. After researching the various options, I went with the passive solar collectors. As you mentioned, I wanted to be able to cool the pool during the hot summer months and extend the swim season by a few weeks during the fall and spring. Our house faces close to south by southeast as well. We opted to go with as many collectors as we could fit on the house. I believe we ended up with around 10 or so collectors. As bit more coverage then is required since the installers where already onsite, our additional cost was just materials. I spoke to various installers in our market area and liked the “Solarman” the most. You can find him in the yellow pages or PM and I will give you his phone number. Beyond this, I can’t comment since my plaster won’t be done for a day or so.


LifeTime Supporter
Jun 27, 2007
Poughquag, NY
GO SOLAR!!! I have an 800 sq ft pool, with 14 panels (8 4x12, 5 4x10 and 1 4x12 with about a third of it cutout to go over a pipe) facing almost due east in NY and I can get 85 degree water when the nights go down into the 40s and the days only go into the 70s. You pay for the installation and you are DONE. We extend our season (compared to neighbors) by an easy 6 to 8 weeks (open a month early and close a month later).

It sounds like you are an IDEAL candidate for solar. If you could only do 4 or 5 panels, then maybe it would be different.


Jun 29, 2007
Corpus Christi, Texas
I agree solar is the only way. I live in Corpus and my daughter and her friends were swimming all day in 88 degree water. I have 6 2 x 20 panels on the roof of my garage. It faces SE with the house reflecting on it too. We started swimming in warm water 84+ by mid February and went till later November last year. You do need the solar blanket and when a cold front comes in you may be down a few days to get the water back up to temperature. On sunny calm days we easily get 6-8 degrees a day.