Phoenix is known for its year-round warm temperatures, but even if it’s 85 degrees on a “winter” day, chances are the pool water is at least 30 degrees less – Brrrr! If your vacation rental home pool isn’t heated, you may be losing fall and winter bookings to properties with warmer waters. Amanda Thomas of Moxie Girl recently had the opportunity to chat with Chad Nikkel, owner of Aquaman Pools, about the costs and benefits associated with installing a pool heater at your vacation rental home. Read on to see if a pool heater makes sense for your vacation rental!
Amanda Thomas: Hi there, I’m Amanda Thomas with Moxie Girl, your vacation rental specialists. We are here again with Chad Nikkel, the owner of Aquaman Pools, and today we are talking pool heaters. As guests come to the Valley and stay in vacation rentals, pool heat is a very popular option for them to add on. Since Chad has expertise in this we thought we’d ask him a few questions about what he sees with the vacation rentals he works with. So thanks for joining us.
Chad Nikkel: You bet, pleased to be here, Amanda. So we’re talking about pool heaters, right? As a vacation rental owner, having your pool heated probably means that people are going to choose your property over the next one. People come to the Valley and they want to enjoy the pool, whether it’s January or whether it’s May.
Even in the later spring, people enjoy swimming in warm water, not in… Minnesota water, let’s call it. So, a pool heater is a great way to make more money on your property. A lot of vacation rental owners charge extra per night if you want to use the pool heater. And that can be an amount of money that is highly profitable, ultimately. We can install the pool heater and put an automation system on it so you can manage it remotely. You can turn it on or off, you can set the temperature remotely, you wouldn’t have to be anywhere near that house to do that. And that could be controlled very easily through a website or an app on your phone. It’s a great idea.
AT: With some of the managers and owners that we work with, we’ve heard anything from $40 or $50 a night, and you were saying some of your clients charge upwards of $75 a night. They may charge a weekly minimum, so even if somebody’s there for three days, they still charge a week of pool heat because it does take that extra energy to get the pool heat up. It can be really profitable especially in those winter months when people come to Arizona and it’s 80° outside, they think the pool is going to be great to get into – until they discover it is 50° in the water! Can you talk a little bit about what is the upfront investment of getting a pool heater installed?
CN: So, a couple things… If you don’t have a pool heater already and if the house does not have natural gas, then a gas pool heater might be a more costly option because then you have to plumb in the gas line and things like that. Quite often the best solution is to install what we call a heat pump. It’s an electric pool heater – it works very similarly to an air-conditioner, only in reverse. It’s very cost-effective to run. In actual operation, it may only be a few hundred dollars a month to run it, if it is run correctly. The installation is going to be maybe $5,000-$7000, whereas a gas heater might be in the $3,000-$4000 range. The disadvantage to a gas heater is that it’s costlier to run, over time. The advantage to a gas heater is that it is more instant heat. If it’s March and you want the pool to be 85° tomorrow, you turn on the gas and it’s 85° tomorrow. With the heat pump, it will take a few days to get up to that temperature but it’s more cost-effective in the long run. I would say 80 to 90% of all the vacation rentals we take care of have heat pumps rather than gas heaters.
AT: All right, make sense. So, if you don’t have a heater in your pool and you are thinking about doing it, run the numbers. You want to look at the initial up-front cost of $5,000-$7,000 for an electric heater, or for gas, you’re saying $3,000 to $5,000. And then how quickly can you make that back? It may be a really good investment and you can get it paid for, and it’s profit on top of that as you go forward!
CN: Good stuff!
AT: Awesome! If you have any questions, please reach out to Aquaman Pools. They are locally owned, this is Chad the owner. Absolutely fantastic company. Highly recommend them for residential, vacation rental, all your pool needs!
CN: Sounds great, thanks!
With our vast experience, Moxie Girl can help with all your vacation rental home needs – and we’ve found some of the best local products and services in The Valley. Watch for more Moxie Girl fireside chats coming soon!