Pool Heat Pump Heaters

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A pool heat pump is an incredibly efficient way to keep your pool water warm and comfortable every day during the pool season. They are the most popular way to heat pools in warmer climates and for good reason, they deliver heat for up to 75% less energy cost than traditional natural gas, propane and electric resistance heaters. They also boast the only reliable way of being able to cool water temperatures down during hot summer months. 

pool heat pump

Whether you are looking to heat or cool your pool water you really can't go wrong with heat pumps for swimming pools. The pool industry is now benefitting from the same technology that's been used to heat or cool homes and businesses for years. Now you can keep your pool at a set temperature all season long and forget about it without breaking the bank. 

If you are in the market for a heat pool pump we are going to go over everything you need to know including ideal operating temperature ranges and average monthly costs. If you ever wondered if switching to a heat pump is a good idea, we'll educate you on everything you need to know including our list of the best pool heat pumps on the market today. 


How a Pool Heat Pump Works

Pool heat pump technology has been around for years and is steadily growing in popularity. If it's something that is new to you, we are going to go over how it works. It warms or cools water that passes through the heater just like a natural gas, propane or electric pool heater. The water is heated or cooled using the energy from the outside ambient air as it's drawn through the evaporator coil. 

The liquid refrigerant aids in the process of turning the absorbed heat into a gas that's fed through the compressor. The super heated gas then enters the condenser where it heats water from the pool and returns it at a higher temperature. The process is repeated over and over again and needs very little energy input other than from the warm air, which makes it incredibly energy efficient. 

Pool heat pumps have an effective operating temperature range that directly affects the heat pumps ability to produce heat. As the outside temperature drops, the efficiency drops and as the outside temperature increases so does the heating efficiency. 


Pool Heat Pump Pros and Cons

The pool heat pump pros and cons are in important part of making an informed decision about purchasing the right unit for your pool. This includes your geographic location and whether you want to keep your pool heated into the cooler months of the year. 

Pros

  • Most efficient pool heater
  • Cheap to operate
  • Eco-friendly and no emissions
  • Ideal for daily swimming
  • Only way to cool a pool down
  • Lasts 20+ years

Cons

  • Slow time to heat speed
  • Only effective in 50℉/10℃ or higher
  • Expensive to purchase

Pool Heat Pump or Gas Heater

There are three main differences between a pool heat pump and a gas pool heater. The first is that a pool heat pump is only effective in warm weather and shouldn't be used when temperatures fall below 50℉ or 10℃. A gas pool heater on the other hand is ideal for any temperature, including cold climates and cooler spring or fall months when you want to extend your pool season. 

Another big difference is the time to heat speed. A gas pool heater is very fast and will raise an average pool 1-2℉ every hour. A pool heat pump can take several hours to see a change of even 1℉. Lastly, you can expect to pay 3-7 times more to heat your pool using natural gas, propane or electricity versus using heat pump technology.  

Pool Heat Pump or Solar Heater

When comparing a pool heat pump and a solar powered pool heater they are actually quite similar in a lot of ways. They both cost about the same to purchase and their operating costs are quite low. A solar heater is free to operate which of course is less than even the best heat pump technology in warm temperatures. 

A heat pump can keep a desired set temperature all season long easier than a solar pool heater, but there are solar controllers that will automate temperature controls for an additional cost and set up. They are both reliant on either warm temperatures or sufficient sunlight hours and will become less effective during cold or overcast conditions. 

The biggest difference is a pool heat pump will take up a lot less space than a quality solar heater. The footprint of a heat pump is similar to a gas or electric heater, where a solar heater may require up to 1000 square feet of panels to adequately heat a large pool. A trend we are seeing is owners using heater combinations to increase efficiency, a heat pump and gas heater combo or pool heat pump and solar heater combo. 


Pool Heat Pump Costs

Pool heat pump costs vary significantly depending on where you live, how often you use a cover and the price for electricity in your region. The following pool heat pump monthly cost estimates are for a 1,000 square foot outdoor pool kept at 80℉ with a heat pump COP of 5.0 and an electricity price of $.085/kWh. This information about pool heat pump costs is courtesy of energy.gov.

Location

Miami
Phoenix
Dallas
Los Angeles
Seattle

Season

Jan - Dec
Mar - Oct
Apr - Oct
May - Oct
Jun - Aug

No Cover

$122
$109
$139
$202
$300

Covered

$25
$18
$23
$26
$72

We can see that the monthly cost to keep a pool heated to 80℉ with a pool heat pump varies significantly depending on where you live and if you keep it covered. The importance of using a solar pool cover to reduce heat loss is very evident in this chart. You can reduce heating costs by up to 85% by using a cover when the pool is not in use. 

The price to purchase a pool heat pump varies depending on size but you can expect to pay between $2,000-$4,500 for a top rated pool heat pump. In addition to the purchase price you should budget $400-$500 for installation by a certified pool technician. The cost to service a heat pump is similar to electric and gas heaters, you might find our pool heat pump troubleshooting page helpful. 


Pool Heat Pump Sizing

Pool heat pump sizing requires a few easy calculations and understanding weather trends in your area. The goal is to determine how many BTU's of output you will need in the coldest month that you should be using a heat pump to heat your pool. We have used the coldest month with an average temperature higher than 50℉ and we are going assume that you want to achieve a water temperature of 80℉ in a 1,000 square foot pool.  

Location

Miami
Phoenix
Dallas
Los Angeles
Seattle

Month

January
March
April
May
June

Temp

60℉
54℉
56℉
57℉
53℉

BTU's

240,000
312,000
288,000
276,000
324,000

The following formula is used to determine the amount of BTU's per hour required for Dallas:

Pool Area x Temperature Rise x 12 = Required BTU's per hour

1,000 x 24 (80-56) x 12 = 288,000 BTU's per hour required in April in Dallas, TX

Temperature rise is the difference between the air temperature and the desired temperature of your pool water. This number will change constantly so we take monthly averages to work this formula out. Swimming pool heat pumps range anywhere between 40,000-150,000 BTU's and increase in cost the higher the BTU rating. 

You can get a rough idea of how many BTU's will be needed to heat your pool throughout the day by using the above examples. You should add at least 10% BTU rating to ensure you have enough heating ability for things like wind or when the cover is not being used - wind can create a loss of up to 50,000 BTU's. An oversized pool heat pump will also reduce heating times and ensure that the heater works properly. 


Best Pool Heat Pumps

A pool heat pump buying guide wouldn't be complete without a list of the best heat pump brands on the market. Whether you are looking for the best pool heat pump for your inground pool, above ground pool or salt water pool we've covered it. This list includes the absolute best based on Amazon reviews and also includes the quietest heat pump brands so you won't even notice it when it's on. 

The Hayward HeatPro titanium heat pump square heater is the quietest pool heat pump on the market, the most efficient and the most durable. The acoustic compressor cover and fan blade ensures both quiet operation and efficient performance. The titanium heat exchanger is an industry leader providing maximum heat transfer and reliability. 

The Pentair UltraTemp high performance pool heat pump features a 100% pure titanium heat exchanger and LCD control board displays. It also includes automated temperature controls with the touch of a button as well as auto defrost that allows trouble-free operation at cool temperatures. It's compatible with all automated controller packages by Pentair. 

Best Pool Heat Pump for Cooling

The Aquapro heat-cool pool heat pump is capable of heating and cooling pools up to 24,000 gallons. Keep your inground or above ground pool at the perfect temperature all season long with the help of an energy efficient heater. The unit comes with a commercial grade titanium heat exchanger and digital temperature controls so you can keep your pool heated worry-free all season. 


Pool Heat Pumps and Salt Water

If you are a salt water pool owner you can use a pool heat pump worry free because of the titanium heat exchanger that is resistant to rust and corrosion. You can enjoy the best swimming experience in the world in warm temperatures all season long with salt water and heat pump combination. 


Pool Heat Pump Winterizing

Pool heat pump winterizing is important to enjoying your investment for many years. It requires removing fittings and removing all water from the heater and plumbing just as you would your filter and system with a shop vac or pressure generator. A great product to use is a pool heat pump cover that will help protect it from rain, snow and other potentially harmful conditions. Always refer to the manufacturer's user manual for proper winterizing instructions.

We hope you found this page about pool heat pumps educational and you enjoy many years of affordable heat. 


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