A lot of people are shying away from natural gas heaters and opting for what is called a heat pump. These electric heaters use no gas at all. With more and more people wanting to use their spa in the Winter or extend their swimming pool season, heaters are becoming more popular in all regions. Let’s talk about heat pumps.
What is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump uses electricity, as mentioned above. Did you know they do not actually generate heat? Nay. Heat pumps draw in the outside air through a fan. It uses air that has been warmed by the sun. Then this air gets circulated through an outer evaporator air coil. Inside the heat pump, you will find a liquid refrigerant which absorbs the heat. Then, this heat is turned into a gas.
This gas, which is now warm, goes into the compressor. This compressor increases the heat, which we want! This extra hot gas then gets passed through the heat exchanger condenser. Since heat pumps rely on outside air, they work best in regions where the ambient temperature is at least 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Does This Warm My Swimming Pool?
As your swimming pool water gets drawn in from the skimmer and/or main drains it is pushed through your various pieces of equipment such as your heat pump before returning to the pool via the return inlets. As it passes through your heat pump, it goes through the heat exchanger. The hot gas we were talking about before gets transferred to your swimming pool water. As this transfer occurs, warmer water goes back into your swimming pool. As the hot gas flows through the condenser coil, it returns back to a liquid state and goes back into the evaporator. Then we do it all again!
Do Heat Pumps Use a Lot of Electricity?
Your air conditioner moves 2-3 units of heat from the home for every unit of electricity it uses. A heat pump, on the other hand, uses one unit of electric energy for every four units of heat. This actually moves 5-7 units of heat into your pool. This means a heat pump is FOUR TIMES as efficient as your air conditioning unit.
As your water makes its way through the heat pump as we chatted about earlier, you will get approximately 3-5 degrees of heat. Heaters and heat pumps measure their heat output in the same form of measurements. Known as a British Thermal Unit, you are probably more familiar with it being referred to as a BTU. The higher the BTU, the quicker you will heat your water, using less electricity.
A heat pump’s energy is measured in watts or kilowatts. They use around 5,000 watts, or 5 kilowatts, per hour, per 100,000 BTUs on your heat pump. So, you may think”the bigger I go , the more expensive it is to run!”. Not true. Because we have it on for a much shorter time, we actually consume less energy than a smaller BTU heater.
Look at the size of the heat pump you are considering. Remember, size refers to heat output (BTUs). Then grab your electric bill and see what your watt, or kilowatt, price is per hour. You can easily do the math to figure out how much you will be using.
How Long Will a Heat Pump Take to Heat My Swimming Pool?
This question, while excellent, can only be answered generally. You see, there are too many factors to consider. How big is the pool? What is the current temperature of the water? What temperature would you like it to be? What is the temperature outside? Now you get my drift.
In general, based on my research, a heat pump usually requires between 24 hours and 72 hours. Now, this is to heat a swimming pool by 20 degrees Fahrenheit
Are Heat Pumps Expensive?
My standard answer is always, “They can be.” It all depends on where and how you shop. If you were to go into your local swimming pool supply store and inquire about a name brand heat pump, you would be looking at around $4,000 for a larger unit. But, you can get a name brand heat pump with the trusted name of ComforTemp for a fraction of the cost. They are economical and energy saving. These top the market in craftsmanship and value. It even has a self-diagnosis to keep things running smoothly. But don’t listen to me. Check them out for yourself here.
With a variety of BTUs to choose from to fit your swimming pool’s needs, you are sure to find a reliable heat pump for your swimming pool this season! See you poolside!