Swimming pool Heating Pumps don’t work in the same sense as home Heat Pumps. They don’t actually generate any heat. Instead they use electricity to capture heat and then just move it around from one place to another.
So how EXACTLY does a Swimming Pool Heat Pump work?
The water that gets drawn from the pool (as the pool pump circulates the water) it passes through a filter and into the heat pump heater. From there the fan of the heat pump draws in outside air and then directs it over the evaporator coil. Liquid refrigerant inside the coil then absorbs the heat from the external air and turns into a gas form. From here the warm gas passes through the compressor, which increases the heat and then passes the hot gas through the condenser. The condenser then transfers the heat into the cooler pool water that is circulating through the heater. Once that’s done, the heated water gets circulated back into the pool , the hot gas returns into liquid form when it passes through the condenser coil, returns the fluid back to the evaporator, and the process starts again.
So why not a gas pool heater?
Gas pool heaters tend to be cheaper to install than Heat Pump pool heaters, but the heat pumps have much lower operating costs and are much more efficient than the gas pool heaters. Heat pump pool heaters can also last considerably longer than gas pool heaters and effectively save you a lot of money over the long run.
How to size a Heat Pump Pool Heater
Although only certified, trained professionals should be performing this task, knowledge is power, so here’s the lowdown on how heat pumps for pools get sized.
- The heater gets sized according to the surface area of the pool and the average air temperatures.
- They also take into consideration the wind exposure of the pool, the humidity levels and cool night temperatures.
- Heat Pump Heaters are rated in BTU output and Horsepower. Standard sizes include 3.5 horsepower / 75,000 BTU, 5 horsepower / 100,000 BTU and 6 horsepower / 125,000 BTU.
- To get the exact size down to a T, they determine the temperature that is ideal for your personal use, and take into account the coldest temperature of the coldest month of pool use. They then subtract the average temperature for the coldest month from the desired pool temperature. That gives them the indicated temperature rise level.
From there they take the square feet of the pool area and multiply it by the temperature rise and multiply that number with 12. That gives them an indication of the BTU per hour output required.
The devil is in the details…or should we say installation and maintenance
The key to getting your Swimming Pool Heat Pump to operate at maximum efficacy is by having it installed by a qualified technician that has experience in the field. They should also be the one who perform the complicated maintenance and repair tasks than come coupled with these pumps.
Your owner’s manual should have all the scheduled maintenance requirements listed as well as any recommendations. The heat pump has many moving and electrical parts, which means that it will definitely require a period service by an air conditioning technician.
If you have them installed correctly and stick to their recommended servicing schedules, a good quality Swimming Pool Heat Pump should last you anywhere between 10 and 15 years