How Does a Heat Pump Work?

There are homeowners who like to extend their swimming pool season.  There are homeowners with a pool/spa combo.  Maybe they just have a spa or swim spa.  They all have one thing in common.  They all need a way to heat the water.  

Natural Gas Heaters

These heaters are very popular on the West Coast.  They require a gas line, an adequate gas meter and you guessed it–gas. Older heaters are not very efficient.  The newer heaters are what is called LoNox.  This means they are a more environmentally safe method.  They minimize the levels of nitrogen-oxide.  They accomplish this with combustion control.  There may even be rebates offered from your local gas company for upgrading to an energy efficient heater.

As your water is pushed through your plumbing system, the water passes through the heater.  The natural gas your heater draws burns in the heater’s combustion chamber.  This generates heat.  The heated water is then returned to the swimming pool or spa. 

Propane Gas Heaters

These heaters work very similarly to natural gas heaters, but instead, rely on propane for fuel. These heaters are very efficient.  It is also the most powerful way to heat your swimming pool. Especially in areas where the temperatures drop below 60 degrees.  The heating capacity outperforms any other type of heater, but can be expensive to run.

Electric Heaters AKA Heat Pumps

These heaters are very popular on the East Coast.  The way they work is by the swimming pool water being passed through a heating tank.  Once the water is warm, your pool pump pushes the warm water back into the swimming pool.  There is a constant exchange of both warm and cold water.  This exchange keeps your swimming pool heated.  

I asked some of my friends in regions where heat pumps are popular to give me the skinny on why they are so popular.  

“Heat pumps are pretty popular [here] because [they] provide ‘more bang for the buck’.  We have a short [swimming] season, usually Memorial Day to Labor Day.  But [realistically] it is still cold on Memorial Day and the warmth is gone by Labor Day.  Gas heaters provide the heat for [an] extended season, but the heat pump will allow customers to heat and maintain desired temperatures all season long!  As long as there is sunshine, warm enough ambient temps and the cost of energy remains low.” He continues, “The [dollar] cost to warm water in the pool is pretty economical.”- Mike Tellegen, Owner of Pool & Spa Medic in Oregon.

Are Heat Pumps Expensive?

Out of all the heaters we discussed, they probably cost the most upfront, but give you the greatest reward in heating time and capacity.  This does not mean you have to go-for-broke when you buy one.  Just for fun, go into your local swimming pool supply chain and ask for a quote on a brand name heat pump.  You will literally be shocked.  We sell ours here in California for over $5,000!  You can also ask your pool professional, if you have one, what he can get one for.  My guess is it will still be pretty darn high.

Did you know that www.poolpartstogo.com sells name brand heat pumps?  They have a variety of ComforTemp Pool Heat Pumps  in various sizes.  Heaters are sized in BTUs (British Thermal Units).  That will determine how quickly your heater will heat your body of water.  You may be tempted to go with too small of a BTU just because it costs a bit less upfront.  But the money you “save”  will just go towards having to run the heater longer and wait longer to enjoy your swimming pool.

The ComforTemp heat pumps have a titanium heat exchanger which means maximum heat transfer.  It also means it will be less susceptible to damage from your sanitizer.  “This model reduces costs by using an evaporation condenser built from corrosion-resistant titanium to compress warm, ambient air around your pool into hot water, instead of wasting energy to create warmth from scratch.”.  

They have sizes to fit any size pool.  The best part?  They cost less than half of what you would pay elsewhere.  And, wait for it…they come with a 10 year warranty! Talk about peace of mind! Check it out for yourself! 

I know there is no reason to go elsewhere for your heat pump needs.  Heat up that water and I will see you poolside!