Pool Heat Pump 101 Class

What is a pool heat pump - Pool Heat Pump 101 Class


What is a pool heat pump?
The most important fact to know is that a pool heat pump is a heat pump… Swimming pool heat pumps do not fall into the swimming pool category, as they are classified in the HVAC and refrigeration heat pump category because of the technology that they use to operate. A pool heat pump will use the heat that is in the ambient outside temperature to heat up your pool by harvesting it and transferring it from the air to the water. They use as small amount of electricity to run some electrical components but do not have a heating element as does a kitchen stove or domestic electric hot water heater. This is why they cost a fraction of the cost to operate. An electric element or propane heater might cost 5 to 8 time the cost to run. These heat pumps are called air to water heat pumps.

How do pool heat pumps operate?

When the water enters the heat pump a water temperature sensor will check the temperature of the water and if the temperature has dropped below the set point, the sensor will send a signal to start the heat pump. The water will circulate through the heat pump’s heat exchanger but first the heat will be collected by a fan that draws air from the outside and is then transferred to the the evaporator coil where liquid refrigerant absorbs the heat into a gas that will be pumped into the compressor and that will then send hot gas to heat the water in the titanium heat exchanger. The compressor will increase the temperature with compression and then that will be transferred to the condenser. The hot gas that is transfering heat to the water circulating inside the pool heat pump condenser will raise the pool temperature until the set point on the thermostat is reached. The cold air byproduct will be expelled from the unit’s top fan because the heat has been removed. Even when it is 50 F or 10 C outside or less there is heat in the air even if people can't feel it. The hot gas from the condenser will return into liquid again and flow to the evaporator where it evaporated and the heating process starts again.

An efficient option to heat your pool

The most efficient option to heat your pool that you can control with a thermostat. Pool heat pumps need outside temperature of at least 45 degrees to operate efficiently. If you have a heat & cool option then they will keep operating at lower temperatures because they have a defrost mode that allows operation at a lower temperature operation. Overall they are very efficient units because they do not use a heating element to produce heat but the heat source comes from the ambient air and it is a “free” source that really starts with the sun.

Low humidity operation

These days we have newer heat pump technology that has been developed to operate in lower humidity conditions with great success. It is very important that if you are in the market for a pool heat pump to operate in a dry area that you talk to an expert before making a decision (we are experts).

We will size your pool in a different way so that the end results will be perfect for your needs. You might need to use a heat & cool option and more BTUs than a pool located in a higher humidity area.

Year round operation

Pool heat pumps can also operate year round if needed with some exceptions were the ambient temperature is too cold in the winter. In some instances you will need a gas heater backup to complete this goal or maybe a geothermal heat pump, but most pool owners do not enjoy swimming in ambient temperature below 40 degrees or so. Each installation and requirements are unique. We recommend that you let us help you if you would like to swim year round.

What is the life expectancy of a pool heat pump?

The pool heat pump brands that we recommend are manufactured with high very quality standards. We have seen some brands still operating on the field after more then 20 years. Their average lifespan is 12 years, but with proper maintenance and care we expect them to last much longer. This is why it is important to look into the manufacturer’s warranty before making a decision. We are inclined to recommend manufacturers that offer a longer warranty and stand by their equipment. If they are producing a high quality product then they should not worry about offering a better or longer warranty.

Protect your investment by winterizing your unit properly during freezing weather as water trapped in the heat exchanger that becomes frozen freezes will damage the heat exchanger beyond repair. We do not know of a pool heat pump manufacturer that cover heat pump damage due to frozen heat exchanger tubes. By selecting a pool heat pump with a titanium heat exchanger you will be protecting your unit from chemical corrosion from pool and spa water. All the units recommended in our site offer a titanium heat exchanger. Look for a lifetime warranty on the titanium heat exchanger.

After your warranty ends any HVAC contractor can service your unit. If you need replacement parts most of the time you can use off the shelf parts your contractor can supply. Many home insurance plans that will cover your appliances will also cover your swimming pool heat pump.
As a final word, we had been working with heat pumps for more than 35 years we want your investment to last for a long time (so that you would not be calling us too if it fails) This is why we had carefully selected our inventory with brand names we only trust.

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Need us to help you size your pool heat pump according to your location, weather and needs? Please use our Pool Heat Pump Heat Analysis Form and we will prepare a special heat load report for you:


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